Here, our dentists in Ottawa list ten dental hygiene tips that can help you keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible for as long as possible.
By practicing these oral hygiene tips, you can maintain your optimal oral health.
1. Brush two times a day, for a minimum of two minutes.
For good oral hygiene, you will want to brush your teeth at least two times a day, ideally in the morning and before bed, for two to four minutes each time. Start with your brush at a 45-degree angle in a sweeping motion. Brush your upper teeth using a sweeping downward motion, and your lower teeth using a sweeping upward motion. You should only brush back and forth on chewing surfaces.
2. Floss your teeth before bed.
Flossing your teeth every night before you brush them not only helps remove debris, it also helps minimize your risk of tooth decay and helps keep your gums healthy. Use a piece of floss up to 18 inches long so you can use a fresh area of floss for every few teeth. Keep in mind that the floss should rub against the teeth in a motion that creates a forward or backward 'C' shape, wrapping the floss around each tooth.
3. Rinse your mouth with mouthwash every day.
Adding mouthwash to your oral hygiene routine can help kill the germs that build up in your mouth. Because mouthwash can go where toothbrushes and floss can't, it can help get rid of debris that can irritate your gum line and cause gum disease.
4. Scrape or brush or scrape your tongue daily.
After brushing your teeth, bacteria can still remain on the tongue. Brushing or scraping your tongue as part of your daily routine can help to get rid of this bacteria, and also help freshen your breath. Be sure to use one toothbrush for brushing, and a different toothbrush for scraping your tongue.
5. Attend regular appointments with your dentist.
See your dentist, at least twice a year, for dental cleanings and routine examinations. Dentists and hygienists have tools and techniques to clean your teeth far more thoroughly than you can at home. Regular exams also mean your dentist can find any issues that are developing sooner and offer treatment options to prevent them from getting worse.
6. Do not put off dental treatments.
Many people have fears that prevent them from getting dental treatments, while others avoid treatments because they think that it will be too costly. The truth is, preventive check-ups and treatments do not cost much compared to extensive care of a dental crown or implant. Avoiding necessary treatments may impact your dental hygiene in a negative way and end up costing you more in the long run.
7. Select healthy foods and limit your sugar intake.
The food you eat has an effect on your whole body, including your teeth. So be sure to eat plenty of fruits and veggies, and minimize your consumption of sugar which leads to cavities. Calcium and Vitamin D are necessary for maintaining the health of gums and teeth. You may take supplements, but it is better to drink milk, fortified orange juice, and to eat yogurt, broccoli, cheese, and other dairy products. Vitamin B complex is also essential for the protection of gums and teeth from cracking and bleeding.
8. Avoid alcohol, coffee, and pop.
Beverages containing additives such as corn syrup and food dye can make white teeth appear dull and discoloured. It is best to choose beverages such as milk, which helps to strengthen teeth and build stronger enamel, and water which hydrates your body.
9. Protect your teeth during sports by wearing a mouth guard.
Do your play sports or participate in other contact activities? We suggest wearing a mouth guard to protect your teeth and gums from impact or injury. Most dental offices offer custom-made mouth guards for patients to comfortably fit their smiles and keep their teeth safe from damage.
10. Limit habits that can harm your teeth.
Steer clear of tobacco and other substances that are harmful to your teeth, and try to break habits such as biting your nails or opening bottle caps with your teeth. If you have the habit of sucking your thumb, lip-biting, tongue-thrusting, or clenching your teeth, consult a dentist for treatment options.