23 Aug 2020
The Best At-Home Dental Routine
You already know that visiting your dentist every six months is one of the most important ways to prevent cavities and protect your oral health. But what about all of the time in between each regular appointment?
During the other 363 days a year, your at-home dental routine defines your overall dental health and wellness. By cultivating the best oral care routine possible, you can revitalize your smile and protect your teeth and gums for years to come.
Boost Your Brushing Techniques
Brushing and flossing aren’t meant to be mindless activities, they’re important and strategic tools that control the plaque and bacteria in our mouth. Using the right brushing techniques helps you work smarter, not harder, during your daily care routine.
Here’s what you need to do to make sure your time brushing really counts:
- Hold brush at a 45 degree angle to the gums
- Gently brush in small, circular motions
- Brush the outer, inner, and biting surfaces of every tooth
- Use the top tip of toothbrush to clean the inside of the front teeth
It’s also important to swap your toothbrush every three months to prevent the buildup of bacteria.
Start Flossing- No Excuses!
According to the ADA, only 16% of Americans floss their teeth at least once a day. Now is the perfect time to become a part of that 16%. After all, flossing is essential to your overall oral health.
Brushing can only remove plaque and debris from the visible surfaces of your teeth. Flossing is critical to scrape away the bacteria lurking between your teeth. Plaque loves to accumulate in those dark crevices, and only the action of flossing can reach into those tight spaces and remove plaque, bacteria, sugar, and acids.
If you’re not comfortable using conventional string floss, explore different options like interdental brushes, hand-held floss picks, and water flossers. You can choose the flossing device that you find most comfortable and convenient. As long as it removes the plaque sitting between your teeth, it’s a win.
Water flossing offers a simple way to floss without thin floss thread. This type of handheld device removes plaque by spraying streams of water between the teeth. The steady pressure of water directed to the space between each tooth effectively targets food debris, sugar, bacteria, and other substances. For best results, choose a water flosser with the ADA’s Seal of Acceptance.
Not a fan of water flossers? Perhaps interdental brushes will do the trick for you instead. These thin, cone-shaped brushes are designed with wire and bristles, making them easy to insert gently between the teeth.
Interdental brushes are available in many different shapes and sizes, so you can select the type that works best with the alignment of your teeth. You shouldn’t have to force interdental brushes between your teeth; they should fit comfortably between each space to remove plaque buildup.
Choose Foods That Nourish Your Mouth
Your food choices do more than influence your weight and gut health. They also help or hurt your oral health. By choosing tooth-friendly foods, you can brighten your smile and make your brushing routine more powerful.
The instant that food enters your mouth, changes start to occur. If the foods you eat are rich in sugars and carbohydrates, they are immediately converted into acids. Those acids begin attacking the teeth and triggering decay. By swapping processed high-sugar foods with fresh, nutritious options, you can prevent a number of dental problems.
The right diet can even encourage your teeth and gums to remain as healthy as possible. Do your best to avoid carbohydrates and sugars, and instead eat more of the following smile-friendly food choices:
- Foods rich in vitamin C and D: bell peppers, oranges, broccoli, berries, fish, eggs
- Foods rich in calcium and phosphorus: milk, cheese, yogurt, almonds, lean red meat
- Foods with high water content: carrots, cucumbers, apples, celery
Try Out These DIY Tricks
If you already take pretty good care of your mouth, bring your oral care routine to the next level by adding a few new DIY tricks to your repertoire.
Oral pulling is a great place to start. This ancient practice involves swishing with coconut, sesame, olive, or sunflower oil for 15 minutes, then spitting the oil into the trash. According to Ayurvedic medicine, oil pulling purifies gum tissue by pulling toxins out. The powerful properties of the oils may also inhibit the bacteria responsible for cavities, gingivitis, periodontitis, and bad breath.
You can also experiment with making your own mouthwash. Essential oils like tea tree and peppermint naturally fight bacterial infections and kill oral pathogens while nurturing tissue regeneration. As a result, essential oils offer a safe, natural, and powerful way to counteract gingivitis, reduce inflammation, and prevent the conditions that plaque and tartar love.
Try this recipe for a very happy mouth:
- 2 drops tea tree essential oil
- 2 drops peppermint essential oil
- ½ cup filtered water
- 2 tsp baking soda
Just swish and spit twice a day to combat unwanted plaque all year long.
Chew Xylitol Gum
This is an easy oral care tip that you can accomplish without any thought or effort at all. Xylitol is a sugar-free sweetener with many therapeutic properties. Chewing xylitol gum a few times a day is a great way to safely stimulate saliva production and clear away food debris and plaque. Saliva also helps reduce acidity in your mouth, which is a highly effective way to prevent cavities.
Always Choose Water
Soda is nothing but empty calories, sugar and acid. Every sip causes serious harm to your teeth, and fruit juice isn’t much better. One of the simplest and most powerful changes you can make in your daily routine is to swap soda and juice for water.
Beyond the numerous health benefits of staying hydrated, water helps to wash food debris and bacteria off your teeth after meals and snacks. It also reduces dry mouth, keeps your breath fresh, and eliminates the sugar hiding in the deep, dark crevices of your mouth. All of this adds up to fewer cavities and a happier smile!
When in doubt, call your dentist in San Diego for support. Dr. William Carlo and his team are here to help you achieve optimal oral health and enjoy a confident smile for the rest of your life.