National Dental Health Month is a great time to take a look at your oral health routine. Oral health is more important than you may realize; it can offer clues about your overall health. Research shows that good oral health may actually prevent certain diseases.
Here are some tips to help you get a healthier – and happier – smile.
Visit Your Dentist Make sure you and your family are up-to-date on dental appointments and schedule checkups at least every six months. Children should be seen by a dentist by the time they are one.
Dental exams do more than just clean plaque and check for cavities. During a routine exam your dentist can spot early signs of oral cancer, side effects from tooth grinding, gum disease and more.
Brush Correctly Brushing your teeth is the cornerstone of great oral hygiene. In order to keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible, brush twice a day for two minutes with a soft-bristled toothbrush and replace it every three months.
For proper brushing:
- Use a small dab of toothpaste – too much can cause you to brush less than the recommended two minutes
- Gently move the brush back and forth in short strokes, brushing the outer, inner and chewing surfaces of your teeth
- Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath
Flossing and Fluoride Plaque builds up between your teeth and can turn into calculus or tartar. By flossing once a day, you remove plaque from areas where your toothbrush can’t reach. To floss correctly, wrap about a foot of floss around your index fingers, leaving approximately two inches to work with. Move your fingers so you have a fresh section of floss for each tooth. Fluoride strengthens the enamel, making your teeth less likely to decay. When including fluoride in your child’s oral health routine use sparingly.
Eat Your Veggies A balanced diet is essential to living a healthier life. But did you know what you eat can affect your teeth? Poor nutrition can lead to many oral health issues, including gum disease and cavities. You should also avoid overeating foods with high acidity, including lemons, grapefruits, and even strawberries. It’s important that you brush, floss, or rinse your teeth after eating acidic food to prevent damage.