Keeping your teeth healthy and your smile bright takes dedication and commitment. But if you practice a good oral hygiene routine every day, you’ll always be smiling brightly. And if you follow the advice of a qualified dental hygienist, you can make your smile last for the rest of your lifetime.
10 Best Practice Tips from a Dental Hygienist
Make sure you’re brushing your teeth correctly.
If there’s one thing dental hygienists know for sure, it’s that most people are brushing their teeth all wrong. They either brush too hard, don’t brush long enough, or miss the same spots every time. Follow these instructions from the American Dental Association, or ask your dental hygienist for a demo at your next cleaning.
Use the right toothbrush.
Just like everyone has a different shoe size, everyone has a different mouth size. Some people with small mouths might find it easier to reach all their teeth with a child-sized toothbrush. And hardness matters, too. A soft-bristled toothbrush usually works best—hard bristles might scratch your gums. Your dental hygienist will be happy to recommend the best toothbrush for your mouth.
Brush at least twice a day.
The best times of day to brush are right after you wake up, and right before you go to sleep. In the morning, brushing will get rid of any plaque that built up during the night and give you fresh breath to start the day. At bedtime, brushing will get rid of any stubborn food debris and bacteria. Just make sure it’s been at least 30 minutes since you ate or drank anything but water.
Don’t forget to floss.
Gently flossing once a day helps prevent cavities as well as gum disease. Flossing twice a day is even better. But neglecting to floss could undo all the effort you put into brushing and make your gums recede. If you hate flossing, find flossing to be difficult, or tend to floss too hard, a water flosser could make all the difference.
Brush your tongue.
The same bacteria that cause plaque and cavities can live on your tongue as well. A healthy tongue should be pink—if your tongue is covered in a white or yellow film, it’s harboring bacteria and giving you bad breath. Gently brush with your toothbrush (rinse it well afterward) or use a tongue scraper to keep your mouth clean.
Did you know that mouthwash is formulated with anti-bacterial agents? Rinsing with mouthwash after you floss and brush will get rid of debris, kill bacteria, and make your breath smell fresh. Plus, if you use fluoride mouthwash at bedtime, you can even rebuild your tooth enamel while you sleep.
Drink more water.
If you want a healthy mouth, stay hydrated! Not only does water rinse away sugars and bacteria, it also helps fight against cavities and gum disease. Plaque thrives in a dry mouth, so keeping a water bottle handy throughout the day will prevent plaque buildup and neutralize acid attacks. And if you drink mineral water or fluoridated tap water, you can strengthen your tooth enamel just by drinking water.
Get a cleaning twice a year.
No matter how good your brushing and flossing habits are, you might still have some plaque buildup. Your dental hygienist will give your mouth a thorough cleaning, removing plaque, tartar and stains, and polishing up your teeth so that your smile shines brighter. They can also spot any warning signs of cavities or gingivitis, and help you prevent dental problems before they start.
Don’t fall for the latest fads.
Just because someone has a massive following on TikTok, doesn’t mean they know what they’re talking about. Charcoal toothpaste, harsh whitening products, and DIY dental tools can all permanently damage your teeth. Especially dental tools—they’re intended for use by trained professionals only. If you scratch your enamel or make your gums bleed, you might end up inviting cavities and gum disease rather than keeping them away.
Keep up the good work!
As hard as it is to get a good habit started, it’s still very easy to break it. Even missing one day could throw a wrench in the proverbial gears. Do whatever it takes to stick to your daily oral care regimen. Whether it’s setting a reminder in your phone or sticking a gold star on a calendar, tracking your progress can help you stay the course.
Professional Dental Cleanings in Highlands Ranch
If you’re due for a cleaning or interested in getting a whiter smile, the team at Highlands Ranch Dental Group is here to help. We can give you a brighter smile in just one visit, or provide you with professional-grade whitening trays so you can gradually whiten your teeth at home. We offer flexible scheduling and cosmetic treatments with dramatic results! Give us a call during office hours, or request an appointment online anytime.