The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry reports that 74% of adults think an unattractive smile can hurt them professionally, yet many people may be unaware of how to properly take care of their teeth. Check out these tips on best practices for at-home dental care.
Dentists recommend brushing your teeth and gums twice a day to help keep plaque buildup at bay. Plaque is a colorless film that develops on teeth and harbors bacteria. This film can harm your teeth because the bacteria release acid when they come in contact with food that can damage your teeth and give you cavities. Therefore, it is recommended that you brush within an hour after eating a meal if possible. Here are a few things to keep in mind when brushing:
- Keep your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gum line.
- Use small circular motions as you brush, keeping your 45-degree angle the entire time. If you have an electric toothbrush, you do not need to perform the circular motion as the spinning brush head will do that for you.
- Don’t forget to clean the back of your teeth!
- To brush your tongue, use light strokes back to front to gently remove buildup and freshen your breath.
- After brushing, rinse with mouthwash for at least 30 seconds. If your mouthwash is alcohol-free, rinse for at least 60 seconds.
- It is recommended that you change your toothbrush once every four months.
Flossing is just as important as brushing your teeth because it removes the plaque your toothbrush can’t reach between your teeth. Here are few tips for keeping an award-winning flossing routine:
- Start by getting an 18-inch length of floss from your floss dispenser.
- Grabbing the floss with both hands, twirl the floss around your middle fingers until you have about one inch of floss in the middle.
- Use your index fingers to gently place the floss between your teeth. It is recommended that you start with your top teeth, then the bottom.
Rinsing can help clean areas of your mouth that brushing and flossing can’t reach and is monumental for your dental care routine. Your mouthwash should be antibacterial to help eliminate bad breath and you may be able to find a mouthwash that also contains fluoride. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by strengthening your teeth.
Your diet plays an important factor in your overall oral health. The easiest part of your diet to tune up is being intentional with what you snack on. Sugary foods like candy, desserts, dried fruit, and soda are harmful to teeth because they produce the most acids in your mouth. Starchy foods like potato chips or breadsticks also create this same effect. If you do consume these foods, brushing within 30 minutes is the best way to help protect your teeth from these acids.
At-home dental care can make your next dental checkup a breeze. Not only will your teeth and gums thank you for taking care of them, but you will have the confidence that comes with wearing a healthy smile. Clean teeth will also make whitening services more effective and can save you money by decreasing the likelihood of forming a cavity.