Keeping your mouth clean and fresh is usually a high priority for many people. Outside of brushing your teeth, you may not know exactly what to do to keep your mouth and breath in tip-top shape.
Develop a Good Daily Oral Health Routine
Each day, you should follow the same routine in order to prevent any potential dental issues. Generally, you should brush your teeth at least twice a day or after meals. As you brush, gently move your toothbrush in small circular motions across your teeth and gums.
Flossing is an equally important part of your daily routine. There are hard-to-reach places in between your teeth that may be susceptible to developing cavities or tooth decay if not cleaned properly.
The tongue is an often-forgotten part of a good dental hygiene routine. Plaque, the sticky substance that causes cavities, tooth decay, or gum disease, can also build up on the tongue. To remove this plaque, you can gently brush your tongue in the same manner as your teeth. You can also use a tongue scraper—a plastic or metal device used to scrape plaque from the surface of your tongue.
Consider rinsing your mouth with a mouthwash to round out your dental routine. Mouthwash can reach places in your mouth that flossing and brushing alone cannot.
Visit Your Dentist Twice a Year
On top of your daily routine, you should see your dentist at least twice a year to get dental cleanings. A cleaning at your dentist’s office is a much more thorough and deep cleaning compared to simply brushing your teeth.
In addition to cleanings, your dentist will take x-rays and examine your mouth to catch any future problems you may have. Your dentist may even be able to identify other health problems that can affect your teeth, such as asthma, diabetes, sleep apnea, etc.
Take a Look at Your Diet
Your diet plays a large part in your oral health. While a healthy diet can keep your body healthy, it can keep your mouth and teeth healthy too.
You should increase the number of leafy greens or high-fiber foods. Leafy greens contain vitamins and minerals that are important for strengthening your teeth. Some high-fiber foods, like celery, can rub some plaque off your teeth as you eat.
Most importantly, you should try to avoid consuming foods that have a high sugar content. Bacteria in your mouth feed on the sugar in your mouth. It leaves behind an acid that eats away at the enamel on your teeth causing cavities and decay.
Avoid Chewing or Smoking Tobacco
Smoking or chewing tobacco is not only bad for your overall health—lungs, throat, etc,— it is terrible for your teeth. Tobacco use puts you at risk of developing many illnesses and cancers. Examples include oral or throat cancer, leukoplakia (white or gray patches that develop on the tongue or roof of the mouth), or gum disease.
People who use tobacco are more likely to develop tooth decay or experience tooth loss from increased inflammation and buildup of plaque. Tobacco use can also slow the healing process in the mouth, which makes oral surgeries, extractions, or periodontal disease treatments more difficult to treat.