A new year provides the chance to make new goals for taking care of your health, including beneficial dental hygiene to keep teeth and gums at their optimal best.
To help you start out the year with this in mind, here are five dental hygiene tips to keep your mouth healthy in 2022. While these tips aren’t new, they are simple, and once they become a habit, you’ll have no trouble sharing that confident smile over and over again.
1. Brush Twice Per Day with a Soft-Bristled Toothbrush
Each day, a slight film of bacteria, known as dental plaque, continues to build up on teeth and along the gumline. This plaque produces acids that can harm teeth enamel and lead to cavities and even eventual tooth loss. It can also cause infections, affecting both your gums and the bones that hold teeth in place.
Brushing your teeth twice (or more) a day is the best way to maintain good dental health and keep those bacteria from causing damage.
Start out the new year of 2022 by purchasing a supply of soft-bristle toothbrushes, which are more suited to protecting tooth enamel and gums than rigid ones.
According to the American Dental Association, you should also replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or whenever you notice the bristles splay out or wear down. If you have a few new ones on hand, you’ll never have to worry about tossing one out when necessary.
Also, seek out the toothpaste that works best for you in terms of consistency (paste or gel) and flavor. You may also want to ask your trusted dental team for suggestions on the best type of toothpaste for you, including level of fluoride or other ingredients to benefit your particular circumstances.
Each time you brush, do so for approximately two minutes but avoid brushing too hard. Brushing too aggressively can damage your tooth’s enamel and irritate your gums, leading to tooth sensitivity or receding gum lines.
2. Floss Every Day for Healthy Teeth and Gums
Flossing every day is as equally important as brushing. By flossing between teeth, you remove bacteria and plaque in areas where your toothbrush fails to adequately reach.
Not only can flossing keep plaque at bay, but it can also help prevent bad breath by removing trapped debris and food between teeth.
Grasp the floss and gently push it all the way to the gum-line, then hug each side of each tooth and move up and down a few times. You’ll want to avoid quickly forcing the floss between teeth, as this can lead to pain and plaque left behind.
Consider carrying floss with you during the day and leaving a container in your desk at work and in your car glove compartment for times after lunch or dinner.
3. Rinse Thoroughly with a Beneficial Mouthwash
Rinsing with a mouthwash is another beneficial way to care for your oral health. By swishing the liquid around in your mouth for up to a minute or more, it can help reach hidden areas that brushing and flossing can miss.
Today you have a list of choices when it comes to mouthwashes. For instance, a mouthwash containing the antibacterial ingredient of chlorhexidine can help control both dental plaque and gingivitis. Others are tailored specifically for oral concerns such as dry mouth, gum disease, bad breath, and even teeth sensitivity.
Ask your dentist if a mouthwash will be beneficial for you and let them offer suggestions of which ones to try.
4. Limit Sugar Intake Whenever Possible
While switching to a healthier diet and limiting sugar intake may already be on your list of new year’s resolutions, also consider it as part of practicing good oral hygiene in 2022.
High sugar intake, such as that found when consuming desserts, candy, or various processed foods, can lead to rapid tooth decay. Limit these, as well as sugary soft drinks whenever possible, substituting them with low or no sugar alternatives.
Also, be aware of starchy foods, like chips, crackers, and bread. When these starches sit for too long in the mouth, they break down into simple sugars. Acid-producing bacteria then feed on these simple sugars, and this, in turn, can lead to tooth decay.
If you do consume sugary drinks or foods and can’t brush your teeth right away, drink water to remove as much of it away from teeth as possible.
5. Schedule Regular Dental Cleanings and Checkups
Continue practicing good dental hygiene all year by scheduling regular dental cleanings and checkups with your dentist. These appointments are usually recommended every six months and include a cleaning to remove the tougher plaque and tartar by your hygienist. A dental exam will follow, looking for any signs of gum disease, cavities, or other dental health issues.
On each visit, be sure to inform your dental team about any new medical conditions or medications, as these can sometimes affect your oral health as well.
Also, don’t hesitate to schedule appointments if you notice changes to your dental health at other times, including pain, discoloration, bleeding gums, or sensitivity.
Schedule an Appointment with Stiles Dental Care Today
To help you start out 2022 on a good note, and maintain good dental health throughout the year, schedule a cleaning and exam with Dr. Stiles and his team. We provide our patients with professional, compassionate care and spend time understanding concerns and explaining options going forward.
Contact our office today in New Jersey to get started with a thorough cleaning and dental exam and get set to share your best smile in 2022.