Taking good care of your teeth is one of the best things you can do for your and your children’s health. It’s about more than a beautiful smile — healthy teeth prevent tooth decay, cavities, and serious issues like infections, gum disease, and jaw problems. Most of us know that we should take better care of our teeth, but we may not know where to start.
This guide provides practical tips for improving your family’s oral hygiene routine. These top 8 dental tips can improve smiles, reduce tooth decay, and make your trip to the dentist easier for years to come.
Dentists Recommend These Top 8 Dental Tips for Oral Health
Here are the best ways for adults and children to promote healthy teeth and a happy smile.
1. Brush At Least Twice a Day
Brushing your teeth twice daily is important for maintaining good oral hygiene and preventing dental problems such as tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. Brushing helps remove plaque, a sticky film that can develop on teeth and lead to dental problems. By brushing twice a day, you can help keep your teeth and gums healthy and prevent the need for more extensive care later.
2. Brush the Right Way
While you do need to brush twice a day, just running the toothbrush over your teeth won’t give you the full effect. By brushing correctly, you can do the most for your teeth. First, use a toothbrush with soft bristles that fits comfortably in your or your child’s mouth. Next, wet the toothbrush and apply a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
When brushing, angle your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle towards your gum line while using circular motions to brush the front, back, and top of your teeth. You should also gently brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath. Spit out the toothpaste, but it is generally not recommended to rinse immediately after brushing.
You should brush your teeth for at least two minutes, in the morning and at night. Replacing your toothbrush every three months when the bristles become worn out helps maximize the impact of brushing.
3. Floss Every Day
Flossing every day is essential for maintaining good oral hygiene and preventing dental problems. Proper flossing technique removes plaque and food particles from places your toothbrush can’t reach, like between the teeth and under the gum line. This is critical for preventing tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease.
If your little ones are too young to use traditional dental floss, pre-packaged flossers can be a great way to get the benefits of flossing early. Additionally, a water flosser or Waterpik can be an excellent alternative for people with sensitive gums or who don’t like flossing.
4. Consider Rinsing
There is some discussion about the benefits of using mouthwash. For example, antibacterial mouthwash may kill the helpful bacteria in the mouth along with the harmful bacteria. Additionally, rinsing immediately after brushing can wash away the toothpaste just as it starts to do its job of protecting the teeth.
With that said, mouthwash has some key benefits, especially fluoride mouthwash. Rinsing can help remove food particles that even brushing and flossing don’t get to, and as we’ll discuss next, fluoride can help prevent tooth decay and cavities. Remember that the optimal order is flossing, rinsing, and brushing.
5. Get the Benefits of Fluoride by Drinking Fluoridated Water and Using Fluoride Toothpaste
Fluoride has been proven to help prevent tooth decay and cavities. Whether you use fluoride mouthwash or not, drinking fluoridated water instead of sugary drinks and using fluoride toothpaste is a great bet for improving your dental health.
6. Eat a Healthy Diet and Limit Sugar
The foods we eat and drink can significantly impact our dental health. Tooth decay is caused by bacteria that feed off the leftover food particles that stick to our teeth and create acid that eats away at the enamel. These bacteria especially love sugar and starches, which is why dentists always tell us to limit sugary drinks and snacks.
Instead, replace those snacks with crunchy vegetables like carrots, leafy greens, and nuts. Any sweets you or your child do eat should be as early as possible, ideally more than an hour before bedtime.
Very young children should also avoid milk or juice bottles right before bed, as the high acidity can eat away at the enamel.
7. Play It Safe!
Next to tooth decay, chipped, cracked, and fractured teeth are a leading cause of dental visits and oral health concerns. Encourage your child to play safely indoors, and encourage proper safety equipment, such as a mouthguard, while playing outdoors or participating in sports.
8. See Your Dentist At Least Twice a Year
Working with your dentist is the cornerstone of maintaining good oral health. Dentists have the knowledge, experience, and resources to identify problems early and take proactive measures to treat them. They can also help you to take preventive measures, including improving your hygiene routine, performing cleanings with the help of a hygienist, and applying dental sealants to prevent cavities in high-risk areas such as molars.
Most dentists recommend a complete dental examination with X-rays once a year, along with a follow-up visit with a cleanup and checkup at the six-month mark.
Keep Your Family’s Teeth Healthy with the Help of AC Pediatric Dentistry
Going to the dentist can be scary — we get it. But it should be fun! Whether it’s care for baby teeth, big kid teeth, oral surgery, or orthodontics, our team of specialized pediatric dentists make the experience memorable while teaching you how to encourage healthy habits and good hygiene for lifelong smiles. Call us today or request an appointment online. We can’t wait to meet you!