Because you only visit the dentist twice per year for professional teeth cleaning, it’s important to know exactly how to clean your teeth at home. Practicing excellent oral hygiene habits consistently is the best way to ensure that you won’t need additional dental work between your preventive check-ups.
Commit to Brushing and Flossing Twice a Day
Brushing your teeth after eating breakfast in the morning and before going to bed at night is the easiest way to ensure good oral health. The dentists at Smiles of Elgin recommend using a toothbrush with soft bristles and toothpaste with fluoride. Hold your toothbrush at an angle and use repetitive circular motions on each tooth for the best results. Our staff is happy to demonstrate this technique at your next routine appointment.
Flossing your teeth after brushing helps to remove food particles, plaque, and tartar that your toothbrush could not reach. According to the American Dental Association, neglecting to floss regularly means that you are leaving approximately one-third of your tooth surfaces unclean. Be sure to use a fresh string of floss each time and pull it back and forth between each tooth several times. If you are new to flossing, your gums may bleed at first until the practice becomes a habit. Please inform your dentist if you continue to experience bleeding after several days.
Other Important Habits That Promote Good Oral Health
Lifestyle habits such as smoking, drinking soda or coffee, chewing tobacco, or eating an unhealthy diet all have a major effect on your teeth as well as your overall health. If you smoke or chew tobacco, find the support you need to give up these habits. It’s also important to limit your consumption of caffeine since it can stain teeth and damage tooth enamel.
Even though our dentists are highly skilled and trained, you know your own mouth best. That is why it’s important for you to check your teeth, gums, tongue, and jaw regularly for signs of disease. Some things to look for include:
- Swollen or bleeding gums
- Persistent bad breath
- New growths on the floor of your mouth or underneath your tongue that could indicate oral cancer
- Jaw pain
- Numbness or tingling
These are only some of the possible indications of dental disease. Please schedule an appointment with Smiles of Elgin if you notice anything about your oral health that is out of the ordinary.