10 Tips for Better Dental Hygiene and Improving Your Dental Healthdidsburyadmin
Our teeth shouldn’t just be white, straight and intact for aesthetic purposes; it’s also crucial for our overall health to maintain good dental hygiene. Whether you’re already keeping them clean and healthy and want to see what else you can do, or if your dental hygienist has advised you to change your ways and improve your dental health, it’s never too late to start taking care of your teeth – and our top ten ways to take care of your teeth are sure to help!
Why Good Dental Hygiene is Important
Dental hygiene is the practice of keeping your teeth, tongue, gums and tonsils free from bacteria or infection. The location of our mouths, between two of the most important organs in the body – the head and heart – means that if we don’t keep our mouths free of bacteria, infections can break out and spread through major blood vessels to these organs. What’s more, infections that spread through blood vessels can cause pressure on the vessels themselves, which can lead to serious illnesses.
Some health conditions that can be caused by poor dental hygiene include:
- Gum disease
- Cardiovascular disease
- Heart attacks
- Stomach infection
- IBS and IBD
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Some studies have even shown links between poor dental hygiene and cancer, although more studies need to be done into this correlation to be accepted by the medical community. Regardless, many of these conditions can have life-changing consequences, highlighting the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene.
10 Dental Hygiene Tips
1. Brush Before Breakfast
You may think your mouth is free of bacteria when you get up in the morning because you brushed your teeth before bed. Or, you might simply wish to wake up and have a cup of tea or coffee right away to wake you up and get ready for your day. But the fact is, bacteria thrive in warm, wet and dark environments like our mouths, so even if you’ve removed most of the remaining food and bacteria in your mouth before bed, there’ll be some new bacteria there in the morning.
This bacteria will love to eat all the sugars that you provide it through your breakfast and morning tea, coffee or juice, and will multiply rapidly as well as cause a buildup of plaque on your teeth. Plaque is a layer of bacteria that eats away your tooth enamel, causing cavities in your teeth and can lead to infections and gum disease.
To avoid this, simply brush your teeth first thing in the morning, so your mouth is clean and ready to consume your breakfast.
2. Brush Before Bed
Although it’s helpful to brush before meals to remove the bacteria, you should brush your teeth before you go to bed, so the bacteria that has built up in your mouth over the day can be removed before you sleep. This also removes any leftover food that might be stuck between your teeth that the bacteria can feed on, causing plaque buildup.
You should avoid brushing within an hour after eating, as this can remove the saliva which helps to protect your teeth, as well as push the food particles further into the gaps between your teeth rather than removing them. So make sure you don’t snack before bed, so you can brush your teeth before you hit the hay and wake up with a fresher mouth.
3. Floss Daily
Toothbrushes can’t always reach into the gaps between our teeth which is why dental floss is essential; the waxy string slides between our teeth, removing any food particles and preventing plaque from forming on the hard-to-reach places on our teeth.
4. Use Mouthwash
With brushing at the correct times and flossing daily, you’re already on your way to having a good oral hygiene routine, but one way to improve it further is by rinsing your mouth daily with mouthwash. Mouthwash can kill the bacteria in places that we don’t usually brush due to sensitivity or difficulty reaching the area, such as your tongue, roof of your mouth, gums and the back of your throat. Gargling can help remove any bacteria at the back of your mouth which may cause tonsillitis if left alone.
Mouthwash is not an alternative to brushing and flossing, however. Your mouth may feel fresh and clean, but only brushing your teeth can sufficiently remove bacteria and food particles from our mouthwash, mouthwash is simply there to lend a hand.
5. Cut Down on Sugars
Bacteria love sugar, so the more sugary food and drink you consume, the happier your mouth’s bacteria will be, and the more the bacteria will multiply and cause plaque to eat away at your teeth.
Eat and drink as little sugar as possible to help your teeth remain healthy and keep the bacteria at bay.
6. Drink Fizzy Drinks Through a Straw
Although fizzy drinks are one of the worst products for your teeth so should be entirely cut out where possible, some people enjoy them, and they can be a helpful drink to perk you up if you have low blood sugar or pressure. So if you are going to continue drinking fizzy drinks, drink them through a straw, so they can bypass your teeth and not coat your tooth enamel ready for the bacteria to consume and the acid content to eat away your tooth enamel.
7. Avoid Food and Drink that Stain
Brown teeth can be unpleasant to look at and give the appearance that a mouth is dirty, even if it may otherwise be clean. But stained teeth are more susceptible to damage, so it’s best to keep them as white as possible. This means avoiding food and drink that contains chromogens such as tannins, as they can dye your teeth yellow or even brown, damaging the protective enamel.
Such food and drink to avoid include:
- Red wine
- Soy sauce
- Balsamic vinegar
- Curry powder
- Tomato-based sauces
While these are all delicious, you can improve your oral hygiene and keep your teeth whiter for longer if you cut down on them.
8. See a Dental Hygienist Twice a Year
One crucial component of an excellent oral hygiene routine that people can forget is visiting your dental hygienist once every six months. In your dental hygiene appointment, your hygienist will check the overall health of your mouth as well as remove the plaque buildup from your teeth to help prevent cavities and tooth decay. They can advise if you need any procedures done by a dentist, and point out any areas that need particular attention.
Once every six months is the minimum you should see a hygienist; if you have problematic teeth or are advised otherwise, you should see them once every three to four months instead. Appointments are affordable.
9. Don’t Smoke
Cigarettes cause many health issues, particularly in the mouth as that’s the first point of contact of the smoke. The tar will stick to your tooth enamel and seep into any cracks, causing the outside and the inside of your teeth to turn yellow and then brown or even black. The smoke can also cause cancers of the mouth and gum disease, so it’s essential to never smoke, or quit if you already do.
10. See a Dentist When You Need to
If you lose a tooth, break a tooth, develop toothache, a dental infection or any other dental issue, you should see a dentist as soon as possible to have the issue dealt with. The quicker the problem is sorted, the less likely it is to go on to cause any other health problems.
You may be nervous about visiting the dentist, and we understand. But the sooner the issue is remedied, the less painful the treatment will be and the sooner you can get on without any pain. Also, if you attend a private practice rather than NHS, you’re more likely to be seen quicker.
Book Your Dental Hygiene Appointment Today!
If you have any dental issues you’re finally ready to have fixed, or simply realise you’re due for a checkup, don’t wait any longer. Book your dental hygiene appointment with Didsbury Dental Practice – Manchester’s 24-hour private dental practice.