You’ve probably been preached to by one of your parents, the dentist, or learned in school about the importance of good oral hygiene. There really are good reasons not to take that advice with a grain of salt. Dr. Nicol Cook, a family dentist in Poway, wants to share with you seven dental health habits that will keep your oral health at an optimal level.
- Brush twice a day
Brush every day twice a day, or three times if you are able. While some demanding job schedules simply are too difficult to work in a mid-day brushing session, try to reserve a few minutes of your lunch break for brushing up afterward. At the very least, be sure always to brush once in the morning and before bed, ideally after your last meal of the day.
- Always floss
This seems to be the step many patients just don’t want to abide by. Something about the effort of it all that doesn’t seem to really pay off, but it actually pays off more than you realize! Think of flossing as brushing between your teeth. If you skip flossing, it would be the equivalent of only washing two-thirds of your body when you shower. No one would want to do that! Since it takes up to 24 hours for bacteria to colonize and begin forming plaque, flossing once a day should be a sufficient way of cleaning between your teeth to prevent cavities and gum disease.
- Brush the right way with the right tools
Make sure that when you brush you hold your toothbrush at a slight angle, moving your toothbrush along your teeth in small, circular motions. Avoid scrubbing your teeth using a side to side motion, as this could cause gum recession and or enamel erosion. Also, be sure that you change out your toothbrush once it begins to fray or looks worn out, which usually is about once every six months.
- Remember to clean your tongue
Brush your tongue each time that you brush your teeth. This helps remove odors, bacteria, and food particles that can lead to bad breath. Tongue scrapers are available in stores, although they aren’t necessary to clean your tongue. A toothbrush will get the job done. Use whichever one works best for you.
- See the dentist twice a year
This really isn’t a gimmick to get your money. Dental cleanings are an essential part of maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Everyone gets tartar buildup on their teeth, even dentists! The only way to remove this buildup is through a professional dental cleaning. Normal brushing and flossing at home cannot remove tartar buildup. Ignoring tartar buildup will only make matters worse in regard to your oral health.
- Get annual dental x-rays
Once a year you should opt to get annual dental x-rays. These radiographic images allow the dentist to see what’s going on between your teeth, and below the gum line. While an oral examination can reveal many different dental problems, there are some areas that the dentist can’t see without x-rays. Since it can take a long time before a dental problem begins to cause pain or more visible signs of trouble, x-rays allow these problems to be identified before more extensive damage has been done.
- Don’t delay getting dental work done
If it is recommended that you get some dental work done, it is in your best interest to take care of it as soon as possible. Waiting a few days, and in some cases, a couple of weeks, to work around your schedule may not cause a noticeable change, don’t put off much-needed dental work for months or longer. It could result in needing repairs that are much more extensive, which ultimately means it will cost you more in the long run.
Schedule a dental checkup in Poway
Maintaining your oral health is easier than you think. It just takes a little bit of diligence, and a few minutes each day. If you would like to learn more ways to protect your oral health, or to schedule an appointment, just contact Smiles by Dr. Cook today or call (858) 673-0141. We welcome patients of Poway and Rancho Bernardo, California.