The Most Important Prevention Is Hygiene
Keeping your teeth, gums, oral structures, and your entire smile healthy requires the routine care of your general dentist, and on occasion, the attention of a periodontal specialist. However, the most important and consistent form of prevention is your hygiene routine. For better or worse, how well you care for your smile at home will largely set the tone for your overall oral health care. Therefore, knowing how to optimize your hygiene is vital to effective preventive care.
Tips for a Continuously Healthy Smile
- Before you brush your teeth (which you should do at least twice every day), be sure that you are using a soft-bristled brush with the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Approval. Also, choose toothpaste with fluoride, which helps boost your teeth and gums’ ability to fight harmful oral bacteria.
- While how you brush is up to you, the point of brushing is to thoroughly (but carefully) clean every surface of every tooth. To accomplish that, you should brush for about two minutes, preferably in front of a mirror to ensure more accuracy.
- Also, take extra care to brush along your gum line to remove microbes that cause gingivitis and periodontal disease. For best results, tip the brush at a 45 degree angle and use the bristles at the edge to brush along the gum line.
- If you prefer, or if you have trouble holding a regular toothbrush due to medical or other issues, then try using an electric toothbrush that will do the hard work for you.
- Flossing is as important as brushing your teeth, and in some ways, even more so. Only the thin threads of floss can reach the spots between your teeth, and you should engage at least once every day to keep these areas clear of infectious oral bacteria and food debris.
- If you have trouble wrapping floss around your fingers and effectively maneuvering it, then try using a floss/pick combination or floss holder that provides a more comfortable grip for better control.
- Carefully work the floss between your teeth, taking care to clean the gums, but not scrape or agitate them. As you move the floss, angle it to lightly wrap around the side of the tooth, then glide the floss up and down. Then, repeat by contouring the floss around the opposing tooth.
- Contrary to popular belief, it is better to floss before brushing your teeth, rather than after. When you floss, the plaque and debris that you remove will remain in your mouth until brushed away.
It is fairly common knowledge that sugar is a main contributor to tooth decay; it feeds oral bacteria that produce tooth-attacking substances. Yet, many foods are essential to your good oral health, particularly those that contain:
- Calcium, which is required for a large number of your body’s vital processes, including maintaining jawbone strength, regulating your immune system, and boosting the integrity of your teeth and their enamel. Dairy products, green leafy vegetables, and lean meats (like chicken, turkey, and some fish) are well-stocked sources of calcium, as well as other important nutrients.
- Vitamin D, which your body produces naturally, can also be found in many of the same foods that provide calcium. The vitamin is necessary to allow your body to properly absorb and utilize calcium, and besides accompanying the mineral in many foods, vitamin D is also produced when your skin is exposed to sunlight.
Though modifying your diet will not guarantee the prevention of oral health issues, consuming the right amount of minerals and nutrients plays an important role in keeping your mouth and body healthy.
Learn More About Better Hygiene Practices
For more detailed, case-specific nutritional advice, speak with Dr. Kania during your visit about your concerns, and she will help you develop a healthier diet and lifestyle. To learn more, schedule a consultation with Dr. Kania and our team by calling our periodontal office in Encinitas/San Diego, CA, at (760) 642-0711.