October is finally here, which means that crisp, cool autumn weather is upon us, Halloween is right around the corner, and all month long it’s National Dental Hygiene Month! That said, maintaining a bright and white smile doesn’t take much effort and is something you should strive for year-round. Here are some tips from your dentist in Stephens City to help you keep your oral health on the right track.
1. Brush Your Teeth Twice a Day, Especially Before Bedtime!
You’ve probably been told your whole life that you need to brush your teeth twice a day, but this advice isn’t arbitrary by any means! It’s crucial to brush your teeth twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening before going to sleep. Brushing before bedtime helps to get rid of germs and plaque that accumulate in your mouth throughout the day, so they don’t have the chance to wreak havoc across your mouth at night. This greatly reduces the risk of tooth decay, cavities, gum disease, and other oral health issues.
2. Use a Correct Brushing Technique
Not brushing your teeth correctly can be just as damaging as not brushing them at all! Here are some steps to help you do it the correct way:
- Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gumline.
- Use gentle, circular motions to brush the outer surfaces of your teeth. Don’t use a sawing motion!
- To clean the inner surfaces of your teeth, tilt your toothbrush vertically and use up-and-down strokes.
- Take your time; it’s not a race! Spend about 2 minutes brushing.
- Spit out excess toothpaste after brushing; in order to give the fluoride from your toothpaste a chance to work its magic, you should avoid drinking anything or rinsing your mouth for a few minutes afterwards.
3. Don’t Forget to Floss
To put it shortly, flossing is just as essential as brushing and should not be considered an afterthought! Not only is it important for dislodging pieces of food stuck between your teeth, but it also helps to stimulate the gums, reducing inflammation and plaque buildup. If you encounter difficulty when flossing, there are many options that make the process easier including dental flossers and Waterpiks.
4. Drink Plenty of Water & Eat a Healthy Diet
Did you know that water is the best beverage for your oral health? It helps to wash out harmful bacteria from your mouth, while also encouraging your natural flow of saliva—which is invaluable in the fight against tooth decay. A well-rounded diet also goes a long way towards promoting a healthy mouth; fresh produce doesn’t just taste great; it’s also very good for you! Many fruits and vegetables contain lots of fiber and chewing them also provides stimulation for your jaws.
5. Use a Mouthwash
Mouthwash is another tool you should consider using when caring for your smile, as it benefits your oral health in three ways: it reduces the amount of acid in your mouth, cleans hard-to-brush areas around your gums, and re-mineralizes your teeth. This can be especially helpful for children or older people, where the ability to brush and floss might not be as easy.
Of course, even if you practice impeccable oral hygiene and follow these tips, you should still see your dentist biannually for preventive care. In doing so, you’re ensuring that your mouth is well-protected for the foreseeable future.
About the Author
Dr. Thomas A. Gromling has proudly served patients and families in the Stephens City area for several years. Dr. Gromling received his dental doctorate from the Medical College of Virginia at Virginia Commonwealth University and is a Fellow of the renowned Academy of General Dentistry. If you have any questions about the article or would like to arrange a visit, you can contact Dr. Gromling through his practice’s website or over the phone for assistance: (540) 869-4377