Preventive hygiene care, such as brushing and flossing, as well as regular dental visits, can help you maintain your oral health. Our Ottawa dentists share their best oral hygiene advice here.
By following these oral health tips, you can maintain healthy teeth and gums for life.
1. Brush twice a day, for at least minutes.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day, preferably in the morning and before bed, for two to four minutes each time for good oral hygiene. Begin sweeping with your brush at a 45-degree angle. Brush your upper teeth with a downward motion and your lower teeth with an upward motion. Brush only back and forth on chewing surfaces.
2. Floss every night.
Flossing your teeth every night before you brush them not only helps remove debris but also minimizes the risk of tooth decay. It helps keep your gums healthy too. 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 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 with mouthwash daily.
Adding mouthwash to your oral hygiene routine can help to kill the germs that can build up in your mouth. Because mouthwash can go where toothbrushes and floss can't, it can help to rid your mouth of debris that can irritate the gum line and lead to gum disease.
4. 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 helps to freshen your breath. Be sure to use one toothbrush for brushing, and a different toothbrush for scraping your tongue.
5. Visit the dentist regularly.
Visit the dentist, at least twice a year, for a dental examination and cleaning. 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. Don’t delay dental treatments.
Many people are afraid of getting dental treatments, and others avoid them because they believe they will be too expensive. The truth is that preventive check-ups and treatments are inexpensive when compared to the extensive care required for a dental crown or implant. Avoiding necessary treatments may have a negative impact on your dental hygiene and end up costing you more in the long run.
7. Make healthy food choices and minimize sugar.
The food you eat affects your entire body, including your teeth. So, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and limit your intake of sugar, which causes cavities. Calcium and Vitamin D are essential for maintaining gum and tooth health. Although supplements are available, it is preferable to consume milk, fortified orange juice, yogurt, broccoli, cheese, and other dairy products. Vitamin B complex is also necessary for keeping gums and teeth from cracking and bleeding.
8. Limit pop, coffee, and alcohol.
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. Wear a mouth guard to protect your teeth.
If you play sports or other contact activities, it is recommended to wear 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. Avoid habits that are harmful to your teeth.
Avoid tobacco and other tooth-damaging substances, and try to break bad habits like biting your nails or opening bottle caps with your teeth. Consult a dentist if you have a habit of sucking your thumb, lip-biting, tongue-thrusting, or clenching your teeth.