The new year is the perfect time to start new habits to have better oral hygiene and by focusing on your oral health, you’ll also be improving your overall well-being. Add these important but highly achievable habits for a healthier mouth to your list of resolutions this year:
1. Begin flossing on a regular basis.
Flossing helps remove food and dental plaque – which is loaded with over 1,000 different kinds of bacteria – from between your teeth and along your gum line. These bacteria can lead to gingivitis, which can progress to gum disease. They can also increase the chances that you’ll get cavities in between your teeth.
You should floss at least once a day, preferably at night. If you find regular floss hard to use, try a flosser with a handle or even a battery-powered or electric flossing device.
2. Cut back on sugary foods and drinks.
Sugary foods and drinks don’t directly cause cavities, but they provide food for destructive bacteria that do cause cavities. When these bacteria feed on the sugar you eat, they form plaque, a sticky colorless film that forms on the surface of your teeth. Saliva or brushing can help remove some of the plaque, but if some remains, the environment in your mouth becomes more acidic. These acids can destroy minerals on your teeth and eventually form cavities.
Protect your teeth – as well as your overall health – by limiting your consumption of sugary foods and drinks. This is especially important between meals and just before bedtime.
3. Follow proper brushing technique.
It’s important to brush, but it’s also vital to make sure you’re using the proper technique. You should be using American Dental Association (ADA)- approved fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush that’s no more than three or four months old.
When you brush, hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums. Use short, tooth-wide strokes to brush all the surfaces of your teeth – the inner, outer, and chewing surfaces. Hold your brush vertically and make up-and-down strokes to clean the inside of your front teeth.
4. Eat more mouth-healthy foods.
While sugary foods and beverages are bad for your dental health, other choices can help fight plaque and keep your teeth and gums healthy.
For example, fruits and veggies that are rich in fiber help stimulate the flow of saliva, which washes away food particles and bacteria. Dairy products like cheese and milk contain vitamin D, calcium, and phosphates. These help strengthen your teeth and protect your teeth from acids that cause decay. Finally, chewing sugar-free chewing gum after you eat can help spur the production of saliva to rinse acid away from your teeth.
Regular dental visits are also an essential part of protecting your oral health. Make an appointment today with Central Dental Health. which has offices in the Manhattan financial district and Valley Stream in New York. We offer a full range of dental services – including general, cosmetic, and advanced dentistry – in a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere.