Other than your dentist, no one knows teeth like a dental hygienist. And if you frequent your dental office the recommended twice a year, you know that you spend just as much (if not more) time with the hygienist than your dentist. So who better to ask about tips on keeping teeth healthy? A recent article from US News did just that. Here’s a brief summary of the top advice hygienists give their patients, and why.
Take on the bacteria. Whether you have experienced dental cavities or gum disease, all oral disease is caused by bacteria. The best way to avoid issues is by brushing, flossing and using a mouth rinse regularly. It only takes about five minutes a day and can go a long way in protecting your teeth.
Make (and keep) standard dental appointments. Bacteria has a way of creeping under your gums, where it likes to eat at your enamel and teeth. While a good oral hygiene routine at home is a great start, professional cleanings every six months will help clean out the bacteria that you might miss. Plus, it gives your dentist the opportunity to look for other oral health issues which are often easily treated with early diagnosis.
Flossing is important. Your teeth are not flat, and you miss cleaning a lot of the surface by brushing alone. Flossing takes practice and consistency to make it a normal part of your routine, but fortunately there are products available to make the task as simple as possible.
Watch the clock with coffee and soda. A lot of people sip on coffee or soda throughout the day. This is a habit that you should seriously consider breaking. The only thing you should be sipping between meals is water. Coffee, tea, sports drinks, juices, and sodas are often acidic and can change the pH balance in your mouth and damage tooth enamel.
Don’t forget your tongue. In addition to your teeth and gums, bacteria also like to hang out on your tongue. Brush your tongue regularly or try using a tongue scraper. As a side perk, tongue cleaning will likely help with bad breath too.
Say yes to exam extras. Dental X-Rays and oral cancer screenings are becoming more and more common in regular exams, but if you’re given the choice, you should always accept them. The survival rate for those suffering from oral cancer is low, mainly due to late diagnosis. The best way to protect yourself is through regular exams.