October 1 marks the start of National Dental Hygiene Month, and we wanted to celebrate this month the best way we know how: by sharing our top ten favorite dental care tips!
Good dental hygiene is a lifelong commitment, and while you may think that there’s nothing left for you to learn when it comes to taking care of your teeth, there are always ways to improve your oral health. Whether those improvements are related to changes in diet, lifestyle or even altering your current brushing and flossing habits, we hope some of the tips that we can share with you will help to improve your overall health.
10. Promote saliva production
Although saliva isn’t a common topic of conversation, it’s an incredibly important part of oral function and health. Without saliva, we wouldn’t even be able to taste our food! Saliva also naturally helps to wash away plaque and keep bad breath at bay. In fact, research has shown that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after a meal can help promote saliva production and prevent cavities.
9. Change your toothbrush head every three months
In order to get the best clean, the head of your toothbrush should be changed at least once every three months. It’s also recommended that you change your toothbrush after an illness, or whenever the bristles begin to fray.
8. Avoid soda and fruit juices
It’s common knowledge that sodas are unhealthy for both our bodies and our teeth, but did you know that consuming 3 or more sugary sodas a day increases your chance of dental decay by 62%? Even fruit juices are high in sugar content and acid that can increase the risk of tooth decay and ruin tooth enamel. Despite being the strongest substance in the body, tooth enamel can be damaged and unfortunately does not grow back, so it’s important to preserve through good dental hygiene practices.
7. Keep a glass of water handy
In our last tip, we touched on the damage that soda and fruit juices can have on your teeth. Water, on the other hand, can actually help wash away decay-causing plaque. Water is also the best drink to keep your body healthy and hydrated. Even just rinsing your mouth with water after a meal can help loosen up any food particles and debris. While rinsing with water doesn’t replace brushing and flossing, it can help prevent plaque from building up throughout the day.
6. Brush right before bed
Going to sleep without brushing your teeth promotes bacteria growth that can lead to cavities and other dental problems. To keep your teeth clean and healthy, make sure you brush and floss well before bed. Once you’ve brushed, go a step further and resist bedtime snacking that can undo the work that you’ve put in to maintain a clean mouth.
5. Get your kids on the right track
Children learn dental hygiene habits from their parents, so it’s really important to lead by example when it comes to developing brushing and flossing routines. What many people don’t know, however, is that your child’s dental hygiene should begin before they’re old enough to start brushing their teeth. Teeth should be cleaned as soon as they surface, even if that means just wiping them with a clean, damp, wash cloth. Your child’s first dentist appointment should be scheduled on or before their first birthday.
4. Eat your fruits and vegetables
We know the good that fruits and vegetables can do for the body, but consuming these foods can also promote healthy teeth. Raw fruits and vegetables can actually help rid your teeth of plaque, while the nutrients can help strengthen your teeth.
3. Stay up to date with dental cleaning and check ups
We’re aware of the phobias that many have when it comes to visiting the dentist. At Ashley Dental, we believe in communicating and educating each of our patients to help work through any worries and to create a more comfortable environment. At the end of the day, avoiding the dentist increases your risk for experiencing tooth pain in your day-to-day life, and also increases the chance of needing a more costly procedure in the future. Stay on top of your dental hygiene by visiting us once every six months.
2. Brush for two minutes a day, twice a day
While most people know that they should brush twice a day, very few people actually brush their teeth for the full two minutes. Luckily, there are new brands of toothbrush that help keep track of brushing times or play music for two minutes.
You’ve heard us mention flossing at pretty much every dental cleaning, and that’s because it is one of the most important and one of the most overlooked parts of dental hygiene. Flossing should be as much of a priority as brushing your teeth, so if it’s not part of your current routine, take some time during National Dental Hygiene Month to start flossing.
If you have any questions on how you can start improving your dental hygiene, contact us today. For even more tips, facts, and information, follow us @ashleydentalchs on Instagram, and like us on Facebook!