Do you ever wonder why dentists put so much emphasis on preventive dentistry? Trust us; dentists would rather keep your teeth strong and healthy than have to repair them or, worse, extract them. Statistics show that millions of people worldwide suffer from tooth decay and cavities. The problem with most people is they don’t prioritize their oral health. They only take the necessary actions when they experience severe tooth pain, bleeding gums, or when their teeth begin to feel loose.
Remember that the only person responsible for your oral health is yourself. The good news is that you can improve your oral health by brushing up on your oral hygiene routine. If you’ve been slacking for the past couple of years, now is the time to correct that. Don’t wait until your oral health suffers. Be proactive and save yourself from spending money on cosmetic and restorative dental services as early as now. Focusing your time and energy on preventive dentistry will help give you a beautiful and healthy smile that you get to enjoy for a long time.
#1 Brush Your Teeth
The simplest way to take good care of your smile is to brush your teeth. You might think that brushing your teeth is a no-brainer, but people who claim to brush their teeth daily still get cavities and tooth decay. Why is this so? Well, dentists discovered that these people do not follow the basics of toothbrushing. Either they brush too hard, use the wrong toothbrush, don’t brush enough, or only brush when they feel like it.
Ideally, you are encouraged to brush your teeth two times a day for two minutes. This two-minute time frame should be equally divided into 30 seconds for each quadrant to thoroughly rid your mouth of plaque, bacteria, and food debris. When plaque is left to linger on the surface of your teeth, the bacteria in plaque will release powerful acids that will erode your enamel, creating holes in your teeth known as cavities. Plaque can also harden and turn into tartar. Tartar that collects along the gum line will irritate your gum tissues, causing inflammation and infection. Without treatment, this can lead to severe gum disease, tooth loss, and bone loss.
So yes, brushing your teeth may seem simple, but your mouth will suffer the consequences if you don’t do it right. The type of toothbrush you also use matters. Dentists recommend you use a toothbrush that has soft bristles. It doesn’t matter if you choose a manual or electric brush; what matters is the type of bristles. Hard bristles can erode your teeth, and they can’t bend and get into the tiny spaces between your teeth, making cleaning difficult. If you cannot effectively remove plaque, it will inevitably destroy your teeth and gums.
Also, when you brush, do it at least 30 minutes after your last meal, especially if you’ve just had acidic fruits and beverages, because if you brush immediately after your last meal or drink, you’ll rub the acids against your teeth and cause premature erosion making it counterproductive. It’s best to wait.
Another important reminder that often gets overlooked s where you should start brushing. There is no cut-and-dried rule, but dentists believe you should start brushing your back teeth and work your way towards the front. Most people tend to focus on their front teeth and forget the back, where most of the chewing and food collection occurs.
#2 Don’t Skip Flossing
Not a lot of people are huge fans of flossing. It’s complicated and challenging. People think that brushing is enough, so they deliberately skip this step in their oral care routine. We hate to break it to you, but flossing is vital as brushing your teeth. Flossing allows you to remove food debris lodged in the tiny spaces between your teeth. If you don’t remove them, they can turn into plaque, destroy your teeth, create cavities and tooth decay, and give you bad breath.
If you are new to flossing, your dentist will show you how it’s done. Again, just like brushing, there is a technique for flossing. When you don’t do it right, your efforts are for nothing, and you might even potentially hurt your gum tissues in the process.
These oral hygiene practices will surely help improve your oral health. As part of preventive dental care, we also encourage you to visit your dentist twice a year, at least for an oral exam and routine teeth cleaning.