Oral health is an essential part of an overall healthy body. But without proper dental hygiene practices, your teeth and gums may suffer, negatively impacting your health as a whole.
When you have healthy teeth and gums you can more easily maintain a proper diet and live a life free of mouth pain and sensitivity.
What exactly are the best dental hygiene practices today?
To help you maintain your pearly whites, we’ve put together this list to get you started!
8 Best Dental Hygiene Practices in 2021
There are a few things you should be doing to protect your teeth and overall dental health. While some of these dental hygiene practices are easier to follow than others, each one is important for maintaining a happy and healthy smile.
Here are our top 8 best dental hygiene practices in 2021:
1) Brush Teeth Properly
Brushing your teeth is a no-brainer for a list of dental hygiene best practices. However, it is a task that many fail to take seriously.
Some folks forget to brush or skip it on a regular basis. And those that do brush twice a day, may not be doing it properly! Here is what you should be doing:
- Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle and move in gentle and short up and down strokes along the gum line to clean the front teeth
- Use a circular up and down motion to clean the outside of the teeth—don’t forget the molars
- Use a gentle circular motion on the inside of the teeth
- Pay close attention to the inside of your front teeth, gently stroke up and down
- Brush your tongue
Brushing twice a day in this manner can remove food particles, reduce bacteria, and prevent plaque from hardening.
2) Floss Properly
Flossing is definitely a practice that many people forget or ignore completely. Using dental floss will help you reach the areas in between your teeth that brushing alone can miss. But, to be effective, you need to make sure you are doing it properly!
Proper flossing technique:
- Start in front of a mirror so you can see what you are doing
- Break off between 18-24 inches of floss and wrap the ends around a finger on each hand, leaving about 1-2 inches for use
- Slide the floss between two teeth, gently sliding it up and down, rubbing it against each side.
- Curve the floss when you reach the base of the tooth to reach the space between the tooth and the gum
- Do this for each tooth
- Be sure to use a new area of floss every few teeth or else you risk reinserting the bacteria you just removed
3) Use Mouthwash
Many people ignore the value of mouthwash. Mouthwash can vastly improve your oral health and help you achieve a more comprehensive clean.
Mouthwash can help to eliminate bacteria and wash away plaque and food particles. AND it can make your mouth feel fresh and clean.
Mouthwash is an added layer of cleanliness and protection.
There are lots of mouthwashes on the market and if you are unsure of which one best meets your individual needs, talk to your dentist or hygienist at your next appointment. Their professional recommendations can go a long way to helping you find the most powerful option.
4) Cut Down on Sugary Foods
Tooth enamel is what protects your teeth. It is the hard coating that allows you to chew, crunch, and chomp, while avoiding painful sensitivity to hot or cold foods.
But, enamel can be chipped or eroded. One published study found a direct correlation between the amount of sugar consumed and the amount of tooth decay experienced.
Sugar turns to acid in the mouth and can do damage to the enamel. To avoid significant damage, try to limit the number of sweets and sugary foods you consume.
You should also consider your consumption of acidic foods and beverages like tea, coffee, and sodas. Each of these foods can eat away at the enamel on your teeth, leaving you exposed to larger problems down the road.
5) Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
You know that eating fruits and vegetables is good for your overall health but did you know that it is also good for your oral health?
A diet rich in fibrous fruits and vegetables can help keep your teeth and gums clean. Because they are often hard to consume, these foods force you to chew, which then stimulates saliva production. Saliva, in turn, can reduce the impact sugars, starches, and acids have on enamel by reducing bacteria and removing food particles.
Saliva also contains traces of calcium and phosphate, helping to restore minerals on the teeth.
6) Eliminate Bad Habits
There are lots of regular habits people have that can have a negative impact on your dental health.
Smoking and chewing tobacco are very hard on your teeth. Aside from the cancer-causing potential, these products can stain your teeth and lead to potential gum disease.
Other habits you should try to quit include:
- Ice chewing
- Using your teeth to open packages or cut items
- Excessive alcohol consumption (alcohol dries the mouth and reduces saliva production)
7) Visit the Dentist Regularly
While many of the dental hygiene practices listed above are at-home care or daily activities, you should also be making time to visit your dentist twice a year, or every six months.
Trusting your oral health to professionals just makes sense. No matter what you do to care for your teeth, you will not be able to address all potential issues on your own.
Many oral health conditions do not present symptoms at first, meaning that you’ll only notice when something starts to hurt or feels wrong.
But, your dentist can identify these potential trouble areas before they grow into something more problematic. Despite your best efforts, plaque, for example, can build up along the gums and lead to gingivitis. A checkup and professional cleaning can remove this plaque.
It is also possible that you have small cavities forming and do not even notice. Your dentist can address these issues and provide you with fillings where needed.
8) Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking water and staying hydrated is important for your health in general. But, it is also a good dental hygiene practice.
Try to drink water after each meal. This can help to reduce the effects of acidic foods in between brushes.
Smile Bright With Regular Dental Cleanings
The above dental hygiene practices can help you maintain oral health. But performing these tasks is not enough on their own. Without a regular cleaning at the dentist, it may be hard to maintain healthy enamel and keep cavities from growing.
Some of today’s best dental hygiene practices are tried and true. If you don’t have an established dental hygiene routine, then setting one up is the first thing you’ll want to do. Be sure to connect with a dentist soon so that you can get your teeth assessed. This is even more essential if you have not been to the dentist in a while.
While dental cleanings can be expensive, you can find ways to make them work by visiting a clinic like Siksika Dental that specializes in NIHB policies and coverage.
Working together with your dentist is the best way to maintain dental hygiene and keep your smile shining bright!