Preventative Hygiene the most important step you can take
Preventative oral care is “the most important step you can take” to maintain your smile, according to the Canadian Dental Association. Practicing the following preventative hygiene techniques between regular checkups at East Hills Dental reduces your risk of developing dental damage and periodontal problems.
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Brushing Your Teeth
Spending just a few minutes brushing your teeth can save you hours in the dentist’s chair. Experts recommend brushing your teeth after every meal to remove the food and drink particles bacteria feed on. Your toothbrush and toothpaste work together to remove the bacteria that decays your teeth and the plaque that attacks your gums.
A soft toothbrush with rounded bristles used correctly is sufficient for brushing your teeth. Harder bristles won’t clean your teeth better. In fact, they can cause gum recession. Put a small dot of toothbrush on your brush and hold it at 45 degrees. Then, clean your teeth all over, right to the gum line, with a gentle, circular motion. Vary your brushing patterns to avoid missing patches.
The Canadian Dental Association recommends changing your toothbrush every three months. If your brush shows signs of wear much earlier, you may be brushing too hard.
While 74 per cent of Canadians brush regularly, a survey from Decima Research found just 16 per cent of us floss regularly. More than a quarter of Canadians never floss!
If you don’t floss, the Canadian Dental Associations says you’re not cleaning more than a third of your teeth’s surfaces. This means you can’t adequately remove the plaque between your teeth that often leads to gum disease.
Floss both sides of every tooth using the correct technique, sliding the floss between each tooth and gently underneath the gum line. Floss after you brush your teeth, when your mouth is cleanest, for the best results.
A little bleeding when you start flossing is normal. However, this usually stops after a few days. If bleeding persists, ask your dentist or dental hygienist for some flossing tips.
Make the Right Dietary Choices
We all enjoy a treat now and again, but making smart dietary choices can also help preserve your smile. The foods and beverages you consume make contact with your teeth and gums, so it makes sense they’ll impact your oral health.
Avoid sugary foods and drinks, as sugar is one of the leading causes of tooth decay and gum disease. Choose food and drinks without added sugars or labelled “sugar-free.” Reduce the amount of sugar you add to coffee, tea, and cereals, or eliminate the extra sugar entirely.
If you can’t resist the occasional sugary snack, eat it with a main meal. The extra saliva you produce eating a meal dilutes the sugar and reduces its ability to do dental harm. Chocolates and cakes are better choices than candies and dried fruits, which can stick to your teeth.
It’s not just the sugar in pop that makes it bad news. Even sugar-free versions are acidic enough to wear away tooth enamel. Drinking pop also dries out your mouth, reducing the saliva that washes away bacteria and prevents it sticking to your teeth. No wonder studies suggest large amounts of pop could harm your teeth as much as methamphetamines or crack cocaine.
Starchy foods can also be dangerous, as saliva converts starch to sugar. Take care with bread and potato chips, as particles from these starchy foods can linger in your mouth long after you’ve consumed them.
There are many compelling reasons to quit smoking, including maintaining good oral health. Smoking increases your risk of developing periodontal disease because it reduces blood flow to your gums. This blood gives your gums the oxygen and nutrients they need to stay healthy and ward off infections.
America’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests smokers are twice as likely to develop gum disease as nonsmokers. The more cigarettes you smoke and the longer you maintain your smoking habit, the greater your risk. If you do contract gum disease, your dentist’s treatments may not be as effective.
Smokers are also more likely to contract oral cancers. These cancers, including tongue cancer, mouth cancer, gum cancer, tonsil cancer, and pharynx cancer, carry high mortality rates. If you’re a smoker, there’s no better time to quit than the present. Every day you go without a cigarette helps reduce your risk of contracting one of these serious cancers.
Dentists typically warn patients of the risks of smoking cigarettes because it’s the most common way of consuming tobacco. Using tobacco in any form, including chewing tobacco and smoking pipes and cigars, also increases your risk of developing gum disease and oral cancers.
When it comes to your dental health, prevention is always better than a cure. Prioritizing preventative hygiene today significantly reduces your chances of developing teeth and gum problems in the future.