The CDC has found that tooth decay is the most widespread chronic disease among children in the United States; furthermore, well over 90% of American adults have had at least one cavity in their lives. The good news is that despite being extremely common, cavities (and other oral health problems such as gum disease) are preventable – as long as you’re practicing good oral hygiene! Here are 5 habits your dentist might suggest for protecting your pearly whites from harm.
1. Don’t Just Brush; Brush Well
You’ve probably been told “brush your teeth at least twice a day” since preschool, and this advice still holds true; it’s especially important to brush at night to get rid of all the plaque that’s built up on your teeth. However, you need to make sure you’re spending enough time brushing (at least 2 minutes per session) and that you’re giving attention to all the different areas of your teeth (near the gumline, the backside that face the tongue, and so on). Use gentle, circular motions; you don’t want to damage the enamel by scrubbing too hard.
2. Add Flossing and Tongue Cleaning to Your Routine
A lot of people often forget to floss, but it’s an important way to reduce plaque between the teeth and keep the gums healthy. Some might have trouble using traditional string floss, so look into tools such as interdental brushes and water picks that can help with those hard-to-clean spots.
The tongue is often neglected when it comes to hygiene, but germs can just as easily build up on it as they can on your teeth. You can clean your tongue with your toothbrush; you may also want to ask your dentist about getting a tongue scraper.
3. Get Some Mouthwash
Not only does mouthwash help get rid of bacteria, but it can also make your mouth less acidic and re-mineralize your teeth. This can be particularly helpful for children and older people who aren’t able to brush and floss as well.
4. Watch What You Eat
Sugary foods such as candy encourage tooth decay, and acidic foods and drinks such as citrus fruits and sodas can wear down the enamel when consumed too often. On the other hand, crunchy fruits and vegetables (apples, carrots, celery) can help clean your teeth, and dairy products such as cheese and yogurt can help replace lost minerals. Adjust your diet so that you’re getting more of the good foods and less of the bad ones.
5. Don’t Forget Your Dental Appointments
Always make sure you’re able to say, “There’s a good dentist near me.” Biannual dental checkups are important for catching tooth decay and gum disease early – and they can also help you avoid these health issues altogether!
Ask your dentist about other improvements you can make to your oral hygiene routine. Prevention is the most important step when it comes to a healthy mouth, but it takes daily attention and effort on your part!
About the Practice
At Monarch Dentistry in Vienna, Dr. Neil Felnniken and Dr. Suzan Rismani-Flenniken use the latest tools and techniques to provide patients with warm, personalized dental care. They’re able to help a wide variety of patients, including those who speak English, Persian, French, Mandarin Chinese or Russian. To schedule a checkup, visit their website or call (703) 714-7374.