Oral health is more than having gorgeous teeth and a brilliant smile, although those are certainly things we should all aspire to. It’s actually a significant part of maintaining your general health and wellbeing as well. Studies have shown links between periodontal disease and serious illnesses including diabetes, strokes and even dementia. The loss of teeth can also weaken the ones that remain which may lead to further teeth being lost over time.

Fortunately, establishing a strategic program of dental self-care can go a long way in preventing some of those more disastrous outcomes. A strong foundation in at-home dental hygiene requires these three things:

Brushing your teeth twice daily

Select a toothbrush with soft, nylon bristles that have rounded ends. You may be tempted to use harder bristles but that could damage the enamel on your teeth or irritate your gums. Apply a small amount of fluoridated toothpaste. Gently brush no more than 3 teeth at a time with backward and forward motions for several seconds before moving on to the next set and don’t forget to brush your tongue. It’s a great place for odour-causing bacteria to hide so it can’t be neglected. Be sure to change your toothbrush every three months so to get the most out of your routine.

Flossing at least every day

Brushing is a good way to start but you can’t rely on a toothbrush alone to remove all the plaque build-up and food particles that can get trapped between your teeth and under the gum-line. If you wear braces, that adds even more spaces for particles to hide. That’s why flossing is so important and should be included in your routine every morning and night. You’ll need to use a fresh 7-10cm section of floss for each pair of teeth you floss between. With gentle back and forward motions, insert the floss between two teeth and guide it up to the gumline. Curve the floss around each tooth and slide it up and down to remove particles and plaque. It may take practice to perfect the technique but the rewards are worth it.

Maintaining a tooth-friendly diet

Even with regular brushing and flossing, poor dietary choices can lead to major setbacks in your oral healthcare. Sugary and starchy foods clash with your mouth’s bacteria and the resulting acids can lead to tooth decay and cavities. If you consume these types of foods constantly throughout the day, the natural antibacterial properties of your saliva won’t ever get a chance to neutralise the acid being created. That makes dental problems even more likely. If you must consume sweet foods and drinks, have them at mealtimes so your saliva has a better chance of neutralising any acids. Better yet, try switching to fruits and veggies or unsweetened teas.

Along with those three at-home oral health care habits, be sure to visit your dentist every six months for professional checkups. This can help spot problems early on when they can be more easily rectified. Taking the kids along from an early age is also a good idea. It may prevent them from developing anxiety over visits to the dentist and the information they receive can help establish good lifelong dental hygiene habits.


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