5 Healthy Dental Habits to Start Today for a Healthy Smile

Staying on top of your oral hygiene is absolutely necessary for you to keep your teeth, gums, and smile healthy! There are certain habits you need to have in order to have a healthy mouth. Habits such as brushing twice a day, flossing, and having regular dental checkups are essential.

Without good oral hygiene and proper treatment, tooth decay or gum problems can lead to pain, tooth loss, and problems with self-esteem. These issues can even lead to malnutrition, and speaking problems, and can affect your work, school, and personal life.

You can prevent these problems by engaging in good dental care. In this article, our dentist in Fuquay-Varina offers five best practices that can keep your teeth and gums healthy, resulting in a healthy smile you can be proud of and show off to the world!

1. Brush Regularly–The Right Way

The importance of brushing two times each day can’t be stressed enough. It is one of the most essential practices for removing plaque and bacteria and keeping your teeth clean. But, it is also very important to use the proper method when brushing; otherwise, your brushing isn’t effective.

You should brush using small circular motions instead of a sawing back-and-forth motion. Be sure you brush the front, back, and top of every tooth. The entire process takes 2 to 3 minutes. If you use an automatic toothbrush, it is timed for each side, the front, and the back. The toothbrush cuts off when you’ve reached the full time, which is usually between 2 and 3 minutes.

Brushing too hard or using a toothbrush with bristles that are too stiff can damage tooth enamel and the guns. This can lead to tooth sensitivity, gum erosion, and permanent damage to the protective enamel. Your dentist can recommend the proper bristled brush for your specific oral issues.

It is recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA) that it is better to use a brush with soft bristles rather than stiff. Additionally, they recommend changing your toothbrush every 3 months or when the ends start to look frayed, whichever comes first.

2. Floss At Least Once a Day

Flossing is important to do at least once a day to help remove plaque. Floss can reach places in between teeth that your brush is unable to touch. If you have spaces between teeth that catch food, you will want to floss more frequently than only one time a day. These places hold food that breaks down and can cause bacteria to affect your gums. Food trapped between teeth can also cause bad breath.

Most dental health professionals recommend gently pushing the floss all the way down to the gumline before hugging the side of the tooth with up-and-down motions. Avoid snapping the floss up and down between the teeth. This motion will cause pain, doesn’t remove plaque as effectively, and can cause bleeding from your gums.

3. See a Dentist Regularly

Dental health experts recommend that people see a dentist every 6 months for a checkup. During a routine dental examination, a hygienist cleans the teeth and removes plaque and hardened tartar. The dentist will check for visual signs of cavities, gum disease, mouth cancer, and other oral health issues. Usually once a year, they will take dental X-rays to check for cavities that aren’t readily visible.

You can speak to your dentist about the frequency of checkups, which can vary depending on a person’s health history, age, and overall dental health. Regardless, when you notice changes in your mouth, you should make an appointment to see a dentist.

4. Use an Antibacterial Mouthwash

Not only does mouthwash help with bad breath, but some studies have also shown that certain mouthwashes can benefit oral health. Mouthwashes that contain chlorhexidine, an antibacterial ingredient, can help control plaque and gingivitis. You may want to ask a dentist which mouthwash is best for your individual needs. A mouthwash complements your regular oral hygiene practices of brushing and flossing.

5. Limit Sugary Foods, Starches, and Sweet Drinks

It is indisputable that sugar can lead to cavities. Studies have shown that sugar plays a significant role in adverse dental health outcomes. Of course, candy and desserts are on the list, but so are many processed foods. Sugar seems to be everywhere when you start reading labels. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that people should limit their intake of sugar to below 10 percent of daily calorie intake. 

Experts have also stated that starchy foods like crackers, bread, chips, and pasta can cause tooth decay. The explanation is that these foods hang in the mouth after eating and break down into simple sugars, on which bacteria feed. This bacteria produces acid which then causes tooth decay. Instead of starchy foods, eat more fiber-rich fruits and vegetables as well as dairy products that don’t have added sugar.

Drinks that include sugar are the number one source of added sugars in the U.S. Sodas, juices, and other sugary drinks can lead to a higher number of cavities. The ADA recommends drinking water or unsweetened tea throughout the day and only drinking sugar-sweetened drinks at meals and in small volumes.

Schedule an Appointment with Our Fuquay Varina Dentist Today

Brushing, flossing, and having routine visits with a dentist are necessary to maintain good oral hygiene. At Hamby Family Dental Center in Fuquay Varina, we have a team to help you keep a healthy smile! Our hygienists and dentists are here to keep you on track. If you have developed yellowing teeth that need whitening, cavities, or issues that require cosmetic dentistry, our Fuquay Varina Family Dentist performs procedures such as dental crowns, bridges, and dental implants.   If it’s been longer than six months since your last dental checkup, if you are experiencing dental pain, or if you need a new family dentist, give us a call at 919-552-2431 or fill out the form below to schedule an appointment.

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