When asked what’s the most important thing we can do to maintain dental hygiene, many people would answer, “See your dentist twice a year.”
And make no mistake, those trips for to your Chicago dentist for professional care are vitally important for protecting your oral health. But they aren’t any more important than the routine you should follow to keep up your dental hygiene every day.
Brush to Maintain Your Dental Hygiene
We all know it’s necessary to brush our teeth daily to preserve our oral health. But not everyone knows how to take care of this most basic aspect of dental care effectively.
First, it’s essential to choose the proper toothbrush. For most people, a multi-tufted brush with soft bristles is the best option unless your dentist advises differently.
You also want to choose the right toothpaste. There are many choices on the market, and most of them will do a good job for you (although once again, if your dentist has a recommendation for your specific dental hygiene needs, you should listen.) Just make sure you select a fluoride toothpaste.
Fluoride is a chemical ion of fluorine that, when introduced to the mouth, combines with the calcium present in saliva and tooth enamel to make the enamel stronger. This makes the tooth better able to resist decay and can even reverse early decay.
It’s also important to know what “daily” brushing really means. Brushing too infrequently obviously won’t maintain your oral health, but brushing too often can be problematic, too. For the average person, brushing twice a day is a good regiment to maintain oral health.
For optimal oral health, brush about an hour after eating. That’s best because acid levels in the mouth rise when you eat and temporarily soften tooth enamel. Therefore, if you don’t give it a chance to harden up again (which happens because your saliva neutralizes the acid), you can damage the enamel.
Finally, to achieve optimal dental hygiene, a person needs to brush with the proper technique. Don’t brush too hard. Like brushing too frequently, this can damage gums and cause them to recede, thus exposing roots that then become vulnerable to disease. A more gentle scrubbing motion works best. Be sure to brush ever tooth surface from the top of the tooth right on down to the gum line. As a general rule, it takes about two minutes to do a good job.
Floss to Maintain Your Dental Hygiene
In modern America, it’s a rare person who doesn’t make at least some effort to brush his teeth. But some of us are less committed to flossing even though it’s equally important to maintaining dental hygiene.
That’s probably because for many of us, it’s trickier. We may have had the aggravating experience of having floss break repeatedly as we try to use it or even having broken bits of it get stuck between our teeth.
Some people are able to eliminate these annoyances just by listening to what their Chicago dentist has to say about proper flossing technique. But if advice alone doesn’t do the job, there are special tools available to help. A floss threader makes it easier to pull floss through the teeth while a water flosser eliminates the need for standard floss entirely. The latter is a handheld gadget that shoots a stream of pressurized water at the teeth and gums.
Dental Hygiene and Diet
To maintain optimal dental health and for any number of other health reasons as well. It’s a good idea to watch what you eat. Pretty much everyone has heard that it’s wise to avoid or at least minimize sugary snacks between meals, or foods high in sugar in general, but you might be surprised at all the foods that contain a lot of sugar. The nutritional information on a package can alert you to this as can the nutritional information available on any number of websites.
What Happens if You Don’t Maintain Good Dental Hygiene?
The point of being diligent about your oral care at home is to fight the build-up of plaque on your teeth and gums. Plaque’s a film of food residue and bacteria that can produce both tooth decay and gum disease. Your goal is to remove it before it hardens into tartar, at which point only a professional cleaning in your dentist’s office will get rid of it.
A Final Note on Dental Hygiene: Be Observant
Even if you are diligent about caring for your oral health, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that, if you look, you’ll find something out of he ordinary in your mouth, something like spots on your teeth, reddened, swollen, bleeding gums, sores, or lumps. Any of these can be a warning sign of disease, so make an appointment to have it checked as soon as possible.