October is National Dental Hygiene Month, and we want to celebrate the strides you make each day to maintain a healthy smile. When you intentionally implement healthy dental hygiene habits, you can prevent costly dental issues to your wallet and your lifestyle. So brush up on your dental maintenance routines to ensure tip-top dental health.
5 Habits to Improve Your Dental Health
It can be overwhelming to feel like you are not doing enough to keep up with your dental hygiene. However, the truth is that the smallest efforts can contribute to a healthy smile. Read through these dental habit suggestions and implement one each month, or commit to all of them at once. Then, you can be sure that your smile stays shiny and vibrant.
Visit the Dentist
If your teeth feel and look fine, why would you need to visit a dental office? Even if your teeth feel okay right now, underlying issues could worsen if you don’t do something about it. When you visit the dentist, you can get an x-ray showing the beginnings of cavities.
Catch a cavity early through an x-ray to avoid a toothache or pain. Prevent the hole from growing so big that it reaches the nerves or root of the tooth. Then your dentist can treat the cavity with a dental filling and send you on your way.
If you were to wait until you feel pain or experience a chipped tooth to visit the dentist, it is likely you waited too long. A large cavity that causes a chipped tooth or reaches the nerves requires a root canal and a dental crown, which are expensive treatments for something that could have been prevented.
Another benefit of visiting a dentist twice per year is professional cleaning. Let the dental hygienists look closely at your teeth, buffing them until they shine and removing any stubborn plaque buildup. This twice-yearly tune-up will prevent cavities from growing in hard-to-reach places. Dental professionals will also point out areas of improvement so that you can continually improve your dental hygiene habits.
Brush Twice a Day, Every Day
Sure, you may be able to get away with skipping tooth brushing here and there, but the recommendation is to brush in the morning and at night before you go to bed. During the day, you naturally remove food with your tongue or when you drink water. But if you go to bed without brushing your teeth, the food remains in one place, creating the perfect dark and moist environment for decay.
The next time you feel tempted to skip a nighttime tooth brushing, remind yourself how important it is to go to bed without a speck of food clinging to your teeth. You’ll sleep easier knowing you put in the extra few minutes to brush your teeth.
Floss! Yes, It Makes a Difference
With so many options available for flossing, there is no excuse to skip! You can choose flossers, water floss, or a floss brush. Tuck a flosser in your bag for mid-day flossing. Run a floss through all of your teeth before bed. Or, charge up your water flosser to reach around your braces or permanent retainer.
When you regularly floss, you will notice the spaces between your teeth look healthier and clean. And if you have a space in your teeth that often traps food, you can clear it out each night, knowing the trapped food will not cause pain and decay.
Gum health is essential to good dental hygiene, including fresh breath. Floss around the teeth to promote gum health, and brush your gums. Your gums need just as much care as your teeth, and you will avoid gum disease if you give your gums the care they need.
Your gums may initially feel tender when you brush them, but that feeling will go away as you get used to brushing. Bleeding gums are not permanent and will bleed less as you establish a flossing and brushing routine that includes brushing the gums.
Take Snack Breaks
While it’s natural to have a snack here and there to bring energy to your body between meals, avoid continuous snacking. Take a break to have a snack, and then give your mouth a rest from food. Let your teeth experience time throughout the day without crumbs and sticky substances clinging to your teeth.
Be careful to include drinks in your snack breaks. Drinking soda or juice throughout the day provides continuous sugar to your teeth. As a result, your teeth never get a chance to breathe! Choose water instead of soda to sip throughout the day. The water will rinse away the soda you had with your meal and provide your teeth with a clean slate between brushings.
Drink a Lot of Water!
You know that staying hydrated can benefit your overall health, but did you know that drinking water also improves your dental health? When you drink water after drinking soda, eating crackers, or chewing hard candy, the water washes away chunks of food and sugar caught in your teeth.
While drinking water is not a substitute for brushing your teeth, it keeps your teeth reasonably clean between brushings. You can even swish water around your mouth when a toothbrush is not readily available.
Once you implement these habits into your routine, it won’t feel like extra work. Instead, keeping up with your dental hygiene can be part of a healthy lifestyle that becomes second nature. For example, combine brushing your teeth with another essential habit in the evening, like washing your face or taking your vitamins. Then, you will see how little time and effort it takes to maintain healthy dental practices.
Schedule your routine dental cleaning today to let a dental professional take a look at your teeth and catch any issues before they become too painful. It will feel good to make your dental health a priority in your life.
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