Brush, floss, brush, floss … is this repetitive cycle really doing that much? Preventive treatments like that never seem to do much until they aren’t quite doing it, so it’s easy to forget what a big deal daily oral hygiene is.
We clean teeth every day at Northwest Dental Group, and in that time we’ve come to realize there are some simple things that lots of patients simply aren’t doing. Adding these few simple modifications or tweaks to your daily habits could take your oral hygiene from “enough” to “superb!”
Let’s take a look at a daily oral hygiene routine and how it can be modified throughout the day to make big differences in oral health.
Rise And Shine!
No one, even the perkiest of morning people, want to get out of bed early on a weekday morning. Unfortunately most of us have to, so you might as well make the best of it with proper oral hygiene!
If you’re like most people you don’t brush first thing when you wake up. For some people it’s a conscious choice, but for others it’s due to bad information: they think that brushing is mainly done to remove food particles from our teeth.
In reality we brush our teeth to get rid of oral bacteria. While you sleep plaque bacteria is spreading all over your teeth, and by the end of the evening your mouth is filled with it. You know the feeling: it’s that gross, sticky sensation you wake up to every day.
It’s important to brush your teeth as soon as you get up, and most certainly before you eat. Oral bacteria feeds on the same foods you do, producing acids that wear away your teeth and irritate your gums. Waiting until after breakfast is a great way to cause cavities!
What Do You Do For Lunch?
A lot of us, especially if we work with people or have important meetings, brush our teeth after we eat lunch. What you don’t realize is that this practice could be doing more harm than good!
Plaque attacks on your teeth last for about 30 minutes after you eat. During that time your teeth are actually softened, and brushing can scrape away enamel, causing serious harm! Don’t give oral bacteria a leg up on its battle with your teeth – brush before you eat or don’t brush at all!
If you want our suggestion, we would recommend keeping some mouthwash in your desk to rinse out your mouth after you eat. Floss isn’t a bad idea if you frequently get food stuck in your teeth, so keep some of that handy too.
You can also freshen up by chewing some sugar-free gum. For an added benefit choose a variety that’s sweetened with xylitol, which actually repels oral bacteria – you’ll actually be fighting off acids and decay when chewing xylitol gum after a meal!
Right Before Bed
Are you an evening snacker? If so take heed: that half hour rule still applies in the evening! Make sure you’ve stopped eating at least a half hour before bed, and be sure not to drink anything sugary either – sugar is plaque bacteria’s favorite food!
The majority of adults are occasional or not-at-all flossers, which is a horrible habit to get into. Make sure you’re flossing every night and getting between all your teeth. Get the floss down below your gumline too – it’s a great way to clean out any bacteria that’s slipped below and it helps your gums heal as well.
Brushing should always be done for at least two minutes, and don’t forget any surfaces of your teeth! Missing even the smallest spot can leave you vulnerable to decay or gum disease, and you don’t want to be there if you can help it!
One Last Part Of Good Oral Health
It doesn’t matter how great your home care habits are – there are spots on your teeth you can’t see, can’t reach, and can’t keep clean. That’s why professional cleanings and exams are essential for oral health. When you see us at our Rochester office you’re getting a thorough checkup that identifies problems before they happen and gets them treated before they’re serious.
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been avoiding dental care: we’ll never make you feel judged, shamed, or talked down to when we see you. We just want to help keep your teeth happy for life!