Your at-home oral hygiene regimen is the most important defense against cavities and tooth decay. Coupled with regular visits to your Nixa, MO dentist Dr. Jacob McLauchlin, you can stay free of oral health problems. Learn our top 10 tips to having the best oral health below.
1. Brush your teeth every day
Brushing your teeth twice a day is important because it removes the plaque that naturally builds up throughout the day, and it helps slow down plaque development. Leftover food particles combine with bacteria in the mouth to form plaque, which begins to build up if left alone. Removing it will help prevent cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease. For best results, brush after breakfast and again before bed.
2. Don’t rush the brushing
As important as it is to brush your teeth, make sure you’re doing it for long enough. Dentists recommend spending two minutes brushing your teeth per session, so you should spend 4 minutes a day brushing your teeth. That’s just 0.2% of your day, so take your time!
3. Flossing is as important as brushing
Yes, we know when you haven’t been flossing! Flossing removes plaque from between teeth that a toothbrush cannot reach. Lots of people get cavities between their teeth, which you may not notice right away.
4. Use toothpaste with fluoride
Fluoride is found in many of your oral health products because it helps strengthen teeth. It makes the enamel stronger, which can actually reverse early signs of tooth decay and prevent cavities. While fluoride is often added to public water supplies, using a toothpaste with fluoride puts it in direct contact with the teeth.
5. Limit sugar intake, including sugary drinks
Bacteria love sugar, and more sugar in the mouth means more bacteria. Oral bacteria are naturally occurring, but consuming food and beverages with a high sugar content provide more food for bacteria, meaning they multiply faster and form more plaque. Try to limit the amount of sugar you consume so you can lower your risk for cavities and tooth decay.
6. Maintain a healthy diet
A healthy diet is important for your teeth in ways you might not expect. The nutrients found in healthy foods are absorbed by the body and help you function at your best, but many fruits and vegetables are crunchy and chewy which promotes saliva production. Foods that require a lot of chewing are good for the teeth because more saliva means the mouth is naturally washed out more often.
7. Stay hydrated
Another way to make sure your body produces enough saliva is to stay hydrated. In addition to the other excellent benefits of drinking water, it provides salivary glands with enough water to help wash out the mouth. If your mouth feels dry, drink water!
8. Don’t forget your tongue
Your tongue shouldn’t have a white or yellow film on it. You can remove this thin layer of bacteria by brushing your tongue with your toothbrush or use a tongue scraper. This film can cause bad breath, too, so if you have persistent bad breath, make sure you don’t forget to brush your tongue.
9. Don’t chew on hard items
Try not to bite down on hard candies or non-food items, like your fingernails or pen caps. These hard items can cause teeth to crack or chip, exposing you to tooth decay or heightened sensitivity to temperature.
10. Take care of your toothbrush
Your toothbrush doesn’t need any special cleaning, but make sure it dries after each use and there is no leftover toothpaste. Store it upright and exposed to air and your toothbrush will be good to go!
Has it been a while since you saw your dentist? Request an appointment online with MAC Dental today or give us a call at 417-725-3200.