With October being National Dental Hygiene Month, it is likely your dentist will be encouraging you to not only come in for regular dental checkups and teeth cleaning, but she will also be happy to provide you with useful tips to improve your oral health at home. Good dental habits and high-quality, in-office preventive care are the only way you can achieve healthy teeth and gums, so while you leave the professional work to the dental experts, why not check out these 4 ways you can improve your oral hygiene at home.
Set the Timer: Brush for Two Minutes
Maybe you’re diligent about brushing your teeth each morning and every night before you go to bed, but are you brushing for a full two minutes? This ensures any harmful bacteria and leftover food particles are effectively removed from your teeth and gums, lowering your risk for gum disease and tooth decay. If you’re using a manual toothbrush, set a timer so you’ll know how long to brush. If using an electric toothbrush, most come with an automatic timer, so make sure you’re brushing until it automatically shuts off.
Clean the In-Between Areas: Floss Every Day
While brushing takes care of the surfaces of your teeth, flossing is the only way to get in-between your teeth. There is debate as to whether water flossers are as effective, but whether you choose regular dental floss or a Waterpik, make sure you’re flossing at least once a day. It’s best if you can do this after every meal, but if not, make sure you’re doing it either in the morning or at night before you go to bed.
Wash It All Away: Don’t Forget the Mouthwash
When washing dishes, do you run the scrubber over the dish and immediately place it in the cabinet? Doubtful. You probably rinse it off to make sure every bit of leftover food is removed before putting it away. The same goes for your teeth. Brushing and flossing help to remove harmful bacteria but stopping there doesn’t necessarily protect your smile. By rinsing with an antimicrobial mouthwash, you are flushing away anything that remains on your teeth, gums, and tongue, leaving you with a clean and refreshing smile.
Avoid Bad Breath: Don’t Forget About Your Tongue
The tongue harbors many harmful germs and bacteria, which is why it is vital that you incorporate cleaning your tongue into your morning and nighttime routine. You can choose to use a regular toothbrush or tongue scraper to safely and effectively clean the surface and sides of your tongue. After all, you don’t want the bacteria living on it to cause bad breath, do you?
Maintaining a good dental hygiene regime only takes a few minutes each day, so take back control of your oral health and follow these simple steps. Before you know it, you will be well on your way to a healthier, more beautiful smile.
About the Author
Dr. Minh-Phuong Bui attended Regis College and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. She then went on to earn her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. Dr. Bui is passionate about helping others achieve healthy, beautiful smiles, and as a member of the Southeastern Dental Care team, she and her colleagues will be happy to provide useful tips and advice on how to improve your smile at home, especially as we celebrate National Dental Hygiene Month. To learn more, visit our website or call (508) 947-5717.