Dental Blog

Oral Hygiene: The Basics

Laura Heckart - Wednesday, September 05, 2018

 

Good oral health saves you pain and money at a dentist in The Woodlands, TX office. It's also good for your body, your mental health, and your appearance. So how do you keep your teeth in tip-top condition? Here's how to practice oral hygiene in less than 10 minutes per day.

 

Brush Regularly

 

The biggest cause of cavities is poor brushing habits. When you eat or drink anything containing sugar, the sugar molecules stick to your teeth. Within 20 minutes, bacteria are enjoying a sweet snack and munching away on your enamel. Once they eat away that protective coating, you'll start feeling pain and seeing discoloration.

 

This means you should brush your teeth within twenty minutes of eating. Many patients brush regularly after breakfast and dinner but not after drinking soda, sucking on hard candy, or enjoying a mid-afternoon snack. If you don't want to carry around a complete oral hygiene kit, consider brushing with just water. The abrasion will break up sugar molecules and protect your teeth. In an emergency, rinsing your mouth with water is better than nothing.

 

Avoid Sugary Foods and Drinks

 

Brushing too often can wear down your teeth almost as quickly as letting bacteria eat away at them. If you're drinking multiple sodas a day, you don't want to brush after each one. Instead, try drinking water or sugar-free sodas. Other sugary treats like candies and baked goods can also accelerate tooth decay. The best time to eat or drink high-sugar items is during or right after a meal when you're already planning to clean your teeth.

 

Floss Daily

 

You already know you need to floss more, but do you know why? Your teeth have gaps between them, especially if you had poor oral health as a child. When you chew food, small particles get trapped between your teeth. Bacteria feast on these tidbits and on your pearly whites. Trapped food can also cause bad breath. Dentists recommend flossing at least once a day. If you have a large gap, you can floss it after every meal to keep it clean. Your dentist or dental hygienist can give you tips on how to floss without pain or bleeding.

 

Skip Fancy Products

 

You don't need a high-cost electric toothbrush, specially formulated mouthwash, or $10 tube of toothpaste to practice good oral hygiene. A basic toothbrush, your preferred pain-free flossing tool, and a dentist-recommended toothbrush are all you need. Don't let worries over cost keep you from the beautiful smile you deserve.

 

It's never too late to start taking good care of your teeth. Focusing on oral hygiene today means fewer cavities in the future. Take a few minutes every day to brush and floss, and you'll be rewarded with years of oral health.

 


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