The American Dental Association recommends that you visit your dentist at least every six months for an examination, cleaning and fluoride treatment. But, do you know what you can do between visits to keep your teeth and mouth healthy with proper oral hygiene? When it comes to keeping your smile looking its best, developing good oral hygiene habits is essential. Starting these oral hygiene habits early will allow your mouth the best possible chance at being healthy for your lifetime. Dr. Niles and her team at Niles Family Dentistry suggests practicing these healthy, oral hygiene habits in between visits to promote good oral health and a brilliant smile.
Practicing Good Oral Health Care
Maintaining good oral hygiene is one of the most comprehensive things you can do for your teeth and gums. Healthy teeth not only enable you to look and feel good, they make it possible to eat and speak properly. Good oral health is important for total body wellness. Daily preventive care, including proper brushing and flossing, will help prevent diseases and conditions from occurring. In between regular visits to the dentist, there are simple oral hygiene steps that you can perform to reduce the risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease and other dental problems.
If you haven’t developed the habit of regular flossing now is the time to! If you think about it, each of your teeth has five surfaces. Brushing can get to three of those faces, but if you don’t floss you are neglecting at least two of the surfaces. Floss is the only tool that is able to get into the spaces between your teeth. If you don’t get rid of the sticky bacteria (plaque) it will generate acid on your teeth resulting in gum irritations, cavities and serious conditions. Flossing is a key step to practicing proper oral hygiene.
A common question we are asked at Niles Family Dentistry is when to floss–before or after brushing? According to the American Dental Association, 53 percent of polled readers said they floss before. 47 percent said after. As long as you are doing a thorough job, it doesn’t matter which you do first. Just do it! Your mouth (and pocketbook) will thank you!
Commit to Regular Brushing
You should commit to brushing your teeth at least twice a day. The act of brushing your teeth helps remove harmful bacteria from your teeth that can eat away at your enamel and form cavities. 80% of Americans are afflicted by some form of gum disease. Brushing helps lessen your chances that you will be part of this statistic.
When preparing to brush your teeth, consider the size, shape, and bristles of your toothbrush. Choose a soft-bristled brush that can reach all the areas of your mouth with ease. Plan on replacing this toothbrush every 3-4 months or until you see the bristles fraying. Choose a toothpaste that is fortified with fluoride and approved by the American Dental Association–look for the ADA symbol on the packaging.
Look for Signs of a Healthy Mouth
Mouths that are healthy have certain characteristics that you can look for. If you see signs your mouth health is declining, don’t wait for your 6-month checkup and cleaning, call our office and make an appointment for an examination. Choosing to make an examination early can prevent painful diseases and conditions from festering and growing bigger. Part of practicing good oral hygiene includes taking time to look at your teeth and mouth when you brush. How do they look? Are they white? Yellowing or discolored? Are there any spots on your teeth? If you see changes in the regular appearance of your teeth, this can be a sign you need to make an appointment. Ensure that your teeth are clean and free from leftover food particles. Your gums should be pink and should not bleed when you brush or floss. If your teeth do bleed when you brush or floss it can be a sign you have developed gingivitis which if left untreated can develop into a more serious condition called periodontal disease. Another sign that you may need some assistance with your mouth health is if you notice persistent bad breath (halitosis). Bad breath can be an indicator that there are problems present. If you see any sores in your mouth that don’t go away with time, also make an appointment as this can be a sign of oral cancer.
Call for a Consultation
If you want to improve your smile, and learn more about proper oral hygiene in between visits, Niles Family Dentistry is here to help you. Our state of the art dental techniques and warm, friendly, fun environment are designed to help you enjoy the process of obtaining a beautiful, healthy smile. Call today for a free consultation at (720) 744-0001. Niles Family Dentistry serves the families of the Niwot, Longmont & Boulder communities. We look forward to meeting you and your family.