6 Healthy Mouth Habits Dentists Swear By

Whether you've heard it from your mother, television commercials, or from your dentist, it's likely you already know the basics of good oral hygiene. You might just need to brush up on the following dentist-approved oral hygiene tips to maintain a healthy mouth.

Brush Throughout the Day

6 Healthy Mouth Habits Dentists Swear By

Image via Flickr by Laura Henderson

Brushing is possibly the easiest item on the list to complete when it comes to oral health. Everyone knows that they should brush their teeth and floss at the start and end of every day. Most people don't think about brushing three times a day, after every meal or following an indulgent sweet treat, yet this is one of the simplest ways to make sure food particles do not remain to fester. Bacteria feeds on leftover food in your mouth, which in turn breeds more bacteria that can cause enamel decay and gum disease.

Get the Right Tools for the Job

Brushing is only as effective as the quality of the toothbrush and the technique of its user. An old, shapeless toothbrush is an ineffective toothbrush. Spend at least two minutes brushing during each session. Don't brush too hard or you risk damaging your tooth enamel over time. Pick a traditional fluoride-based toothpaste rather than a whitening or tartar control version. These can also be too abrasive on tooth enamel.

Be sure to brush next to your gums as well, which stimulates blood flow and helps brush away particles lodged between teeth and gums. If you're a lazy brusher or simply hate flossing, new high-tech electric brushes and water flossers are now available to the public that will make this chore way more fun.

Have Your Teeth Professionally Cleaned

6 Healthy Mouth Habits Dentists Swear By

Image via Flickr by EastMidtown

You may be the most devoted brusher and flosser in the world, but you still shouldn't neglect your semi-annual professional dental cleanings. After all, you can't see inside your mouth the way that your dentist can. Think of it like getting a car detailed. You need a professional to dig into the cracks and crannies to conduct a deep clean. At the same time, they can check for cavities, buff off stubborn tartar, and evaluate your gums. The regular cleaning and oral exam can mean the difference between spotting a small cavity or gum problem early on before it becomes a surprising, painful, and expensive fix.

Get Annual X-Rays

Let's face it: That little mirror dentists use to check inside your mouth can't see inside your teeth, gums, and jaw. For that, you need an X-ray exam. The dental X-ray delivers a much broader and more efficient picture of your mouth's total health. At a glance, a dentist can quickly point out trouble zones like cavities, root sensitivity, jaw problems, teeth misalignment, and more. It can tell the dentist whether you'll need a root canal or simply a filling. Getting an annual X-ray is part of a yearly checkup, but it's yet another reason why it's important not to skip that appointment.

Don't Wait on Necessary Dental Work

6 Healthy Mouth Habits Dentists Swear By

Image via Flickr by EastMidtown

If your dental provider tells you to come back for a procedure, don't delay. A small discomfort or a toothache can quickly turn into a more painful condition as the compromised spot exposes your sensitive tooth tissue to acids and bacteria. Waiting increases the chance that you will need an expensive emergency treatment like a root canal and crown. In the worst cases, you could lose your teeth, necessitating dentures or implants, or infection could spread into the rest of the body and cause serious health consequences.

Often, people wait on a filling or root canal because they fear the high cost of these procedures or lack insurance. Luckily today, dental discount programs are available to consumers, which can significantly decrease the cost of dental hygiene needs, from oral exams to crowns.

Protect Enamel with a Healthful Diet

The old saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" could easily be said of dentists, too. Essential vitamins and nutrients are derived from fresh fruits and vegetables: vitamins like calcium, which strengthens bones and tooth enamel. A good diet helps support good oral hygiene. You can enjoy a cup of lemonade or coffee, just don't drink sugary or acidic beverages all day long. It's also a good idea to chase these beverages with a glass of water to protect your tooth enamel.

Take care of your teeth and mouth at home, and don't be a stranger at your dentist's office. With regular dental visits, the right tools, and a consistent approach, you'll enjoy your healthy gums and teeth for years to come.

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