Did you know over 91% of adults experienced some degree of tooth decay in their life? Although many view the occasional cavity as not necessarily a big deal, the fact of the matter is poor dental health can harm your overall health. Luckily, many oral diseases, such as gum disease and tooth decay, are entirely preventable. Through regular checkups and proper self-care, you can minimize the risks associated with poor oral hygiene and protect your general health. Do you practice good oral care? Follow our six-month hygiene checklist to find out.
Your 6-Month Dental Hygiene Checklist:
Brush your teeth at least twice a day
Ideally, you should brush your teeth after every meal. However, at the very least, you should brush twice a day. To ensure proper care, and to help reduce the risk of gum disease and tooth decay, brush for at least two minutes and always use fluoride toothpaste. And do not forget, brush in a circular motion, with either an electric or manual toothbrush.
Buy toothpaste with the right amount of fluoride
You should brush your teeth with toothpaste that contains 1000-1500 parts per million (ppm) amount of fluoride. To ensure the toothpaste you buy has the correct amount of fluoride, always check the packaging before you purchase. The product packaging generally lists the fluoride amount in the active ingredients section. Check out our full fluoride guide here.
Change your toothbrush frequently
Nobody likes brushing their teeth with an old and dirty toothbrush. In fact, a dirty toothbrush can contain harmful bacteria that hurt your oral health. That is why you should change out your old toothbrush for a new one every three to four months, or when the tooth bristles are worn out, splayed, or missing completely. Read our tips when shopping for a new toothbrush here!
Use the right amount of toothpaste when brushing your teeth
The amount of toothpaste you use is essential. If you use too little, then you are not getting enough fluoride to protect your mouth. And brushing with too much toothpaste can damage the enamel, especially for children with developing teeth. The amount of toothpaste required depends on the age of the person. For children less than three, use toothpaste equivalent to a grain of rice. For children greater than three, they should use a pea-size worth of toothpaste. And as for adults, they should apply toothpaste to the full length of their toothbrush. Learn about the different kinds of toothpaste, and how to buy the best one for you here.
Clean in between your teeth
If you are unsure how to clean in between your teeth, you can always ask your dentist. In general, floss and other interdental cleaners are the best at reaching those pesky sections in the mouth. Likewise, cleaning in between your teeth is essential because it helps dislodge any food particles stuck, which both removes and prevents plaque from forming along the gum line. Cleaning in between your teeth can help reduce gum disease and prevent bad breath. Read more about the proper way to floss your teeth here.
Properly rinse your mouth
Most people finish brushing their teeth by rinsing their mouth out with water. However, when you rinse your mouth out with water, you are washing away or diluting the concentrated fluoride from the toothpaste. Instead, spit out any excess toothpaste left in the mouth. When you do not rinse with water, more fluoride stays in the mouth, which helps protect your teeth from future decay.
Protect your teeth even when brushing them is not possible
Sometimes we are away from the house, and brushing our teeth is not a possibility in the current moment. When that is the case, you should protect your mouth through other means. Rinsing your mouth with fluoride mouthwash or chewing sugar-free gum after a snack or meal are great ways to protect your mouth when brushing is not possible. Read our list of 7 ways to clean your teeth when you don’t have a toothbrush handy!
Eat a healthy diet, and limit your sugary food and drink intake
You should limit your daily intake of sugar to roughly six teaspoons. Everybody should know that sugar is amongst the largest contributors to tooth decay, so avoid sugary products at all costs. These include snacks, soft drinks, processed foods, and any other sweet products. The FDA requires all food packaging to list their sugar contents, so always remember to check the packaging before purchasing, and stick with low-sugar products only.
Do not smoke and limit your alcohol
To protect your mouth, we recommend not smoking and limiting your alcohol consumption. Both consuming alcohol and smoking significantly increase your chances of developing gum disease or oral cancer. Not to mention, smoking can stain your teeth, cause bad breath, cause premature tooth loss, and maybe even affect your taste or smell. Likewise, excessive alcohol consumption puts you at an increased risk of causing injury to your mouth or teeth. And do not forget, many alcoholic beverages are incredibly acidic, which damages the enamel, and also contains high sugar content.
Protect your teeth during physical activities
You should always wear a professionally made mouthguard whenever playing high-contact sports, such as football, lacrosse, rugby, etc., moving heavy objects, or experiencing regular falls or blows to the face, such as from boxing. A mouthguard is rubber-like, and fits precisely over the teeth and gums. Mouthguards cushion and protect your teeth from fractures, displacement, or loss. Consider talking to your dentist or healthcare provider on whether you should wear a mouthguard depending on the sport you play.
Schedule regular dental checkups (every 6 months)
Perhaps the best thing you can do for your oral hygiene is to schedule regular checkups with your dentist. They can keep your teeth feeling fresh and looking good as new. Likewise, regular checkups ensure early detection if any problems arise and help reduce the risk of any other dental complication occurring.
Just like any other disease, preventive measures, and early detection, is your best form of defense for your teeth. At Klement Family Dental, we are family dentists that provide a wide array of dental services. We recommend scheduling dental checkups every six months. Our team of oral hygiene experts can help you with any dental questions or concerns you may have. Feel free to make an appointment or contact us today! We are kindly asking those who cannot make their appointments, or may not feel comfortable yet, to give our office a call at least 2 business days prior to your appointment, or sooner to reschedule. This allows us to book a patient on the waiting list for that time slot. Thank you all for your understanding and flexibility during these times.