Everyone wants to know that they have a healthy mouth. Good oral health means creating a healthy environment in your mouth. You may be brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily, but that’s just a part of the bigger picture.
So what should I be doing?
- You should come in for hygiene visits and examination as often as your dentist and hygienist recommends. We’ll catch any problems like tooth decay and gum disease – and even oral cancer – early. This is also when they are most treatable!
- You should be using the right brush and brushing technique. We recommend a soft-medium bristled toothbrush and replacing it every 3 months. An easy way to tell if your brush needs replacing is by looking at the bristles – they will be splayed. You should hold your brush at a 45 degree angle on the tooth and gum line. When brushing, you should be using small, circular motions. It’s possible to damage your teeth and gums by brushing too hard. Plaque is soft and does not need a lot of pressure to be removed.
- Flossing your teeth correctly is also just as important as routine brushing. Move the floss up and down against the tooth surface and slightly under the gum. Never saw back and forth directly into the gums. Some people need interdental brushes instead of floss. Usually you end up with quite a few colours! You should always try and get the biggest brush into each space and clean twice daily.
- Brush your tongue! As simple and as silly as it sounds, your tongue can trap food and bacteria too. Do this everyday when brushing to remove the food particles and cut down on bacteria.
- Cut down on sugar. Bacteria and acids love sugar! They work together in your mouth to form damaging plaque. Reducing your consumption of sugary drinks and foods, and brushing after eating can help. Make sure to brush at least 30 minutes after eating/drinking to allow your saliva to return to its natural pH balance. Otherwise you will only be spreading the acidity to more areas of the mouth.
- Eliminate carbonated drinks. Even those that are sugar-free! These contain phosphoric and citric acids that can damage teeth. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
- Stop smoking. Tar and nicotine in cigarettes stain your teeth and also create a favourable environment for plaque and bacteria. These can degrade the bone supporting the teeth and harm the soft tissues. This can eventually lead tooth loss and oral cancer.
If you’re ever worried about your oral health, go and see your dentist. We are always here to offer advice!