Preventative dental care at home is an important part of your overall dental health and should be combined with your regular checkups. You need to be consistent and you need to use the right tools and techniques to maintain your beautiful smile throughout your life. It requires a little proactivity, but it will be worth it.
Whenever preventative dental care is mentioned, though, most people probably immediately assume they’re going to – once again – hear about how they’re supposed to regularly brush and floss and keep their dental appointments. And then they’ll immediately roll their eyes at the very notion.
Well, we’ll allow a little eye rolling this time, too, because we are going to talk about that, but we’ll try to get into some other important facets of preventative dentistry, too, because, in the end, maintaining your beautiful small is a team effort, and we’ll do our part and help you do yours.
Try these techniques out and see how it helps with your daily routine.
Improve Your Brushing Technique
Some people swear by the powered toothbrushes on the market, but the fact is that both manual and power brushes can effectively remove plaque as long as you are using them properly – which means your technique is as important as the product. (Although some studies have shown that oscillating power brushes can be more effective than manual brushes at removing plaque, and they are often recommended for people who have trouble spending sufficient time brushing their teeth every day.)
Good brushing is about technique, not power. Scrubbing your teeth too hard can cause damage, especially if the bristles are too firm. So the most effective way is to position the brush at a 45 degree angle to the tooth at the gum line. Using a back-and-forth horizontal motion, the bristles pulse against the gums and teeth. You want at least ten strokes in each area to make sure the debris if fully cleared away.
Never Forget the Flossing
Flossing is just as important as brushing. There are a lot of options for floss, and many patients wonder if they should be using waxed or unwaxed. We’ll answer that with a question. Are you using either type of floss everyday?
If you answered yes, then we don’t mind if it’s waxed or unwaxed.
The same goes for flossing before or after you brush. Many people have an opinion on that, but the answer is that as long as you’re flossing, we’re not bothered by the order.
Make Use of Fluoride
When you buy products for your home, make sure that they provide the fluoride you need because this has been shown to significantly reduce the occurrence of cavities. You can also get topical fluoride treatments when you come in for your regular appointments.
The amount of fluoride you need to use will be based on your current situation and if you’re at significant risk for cavities.
Use Mouthguards When Necessary
You’ve put a lot of effort into maintaining that smile, so the last thing you need is to lose one while you’re participating in your favorite sports or activities. More than 5 million teeth are knocked out every year, and many of them happen during sports activities.
Dental trauma can really get in the way of a beautiful smile, so it’s important to have a mouthgaurd that protects your teeth, soft tissues, bone structure, and temporomandibular joint. It should remain stable in the mouth while still allowing you to speak and breathe freely.
Understand How Your Diet Impacts Your Teeth
It’s not just what you eat, but how you eat and how often you eat certain things. You’ve heard the “avoid sugary foods” for as long as you can remember, but is that all there is to it?
Studies are showing that the actual amount of sugar in a diet is only part of the problem, and that the frequency that you indulge in these foods and the methods of sugar deliver can have as big (if not bigger) of an impact.
For example, raisins are generally considered good for you, but they stick to your teeth as much as processed starches and candies. When anything is stickly like that, it slowly releases the sugar which the bacteria uses to make plaque and cause cavities. Food and beverages with fermentable carbohydrates are problematic, too, especially when consumed a lot or over an extended period.
Also be aware that while fresh fruits tend to have low impact on potential cavities, some citrus fruits can potentially erode tooth enamel, which means that if they are consumed in large quantities and over a long period of time, they could cause problems.
A focus on preventative dentistry in your home will help you keep a beautiful smile improve the health of your mouth.