Creating a daily routine around oral hygiene is simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to do. Like anything, when you are first starting a habit, experts agree that it takes at least 21 days to build a simple practice and up to two months for that behavior to become automatic. With this in mind, your Idaho Falls orthodontist, Randall Orthodontics, gives you eight different habits to try and stick to for healthy teeth and gums. We hope that you already have brushing and flossing down pat, but in case you don’t, those two habits will be the first two you want to tackle before moving onto the next habit.
8 Habits To Help You Smile With Confidence
- Brushing – One of the most critical habits that you can maintain is brushing your teeth twice per day. Brushing your teeth helps to effectively remove food particles, plaque, and bacteria from the teeth and gums. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush so you won’t damage tooth enamel or gums. Keep in mind while you’re cleaning to use gentle circular motions rather than aggressive scrubbing back and forth. The entire process should last two to three minutes.
- Flossing – Flossing is another essential habit to have in your arsenal to keep your teeth and gums happy and healthy. Flossing should be done after you brush your teeth and after every meal or snack. If that seems like too much work at first, work up to it. Flossing at least once a day is better than none at all. However, as an Idaho Falls orthodontist, we recommend flossing two to three times per day for optimal oral health benefits. To properly floss your teeth, you need to floss both sides of your teeth. Make sure that you are pulling the string right and left as you clean around each tooth.
- Fluoride – This habit is an easy one to implement as it merely changes the solution you use to rinse your mouth out after you brush your teeth. Rather than just using plain old water to rinse your teeth and gums after brushing, use a mouthwash with fluoride. You can take this even a step further by opting for a toothpaste with fluoride. If you wish to avoid products with fluoride, check with your local municipality to see if there is fluoride in your water supply. Fluoride prevents tooth decay, so getting fluoride in some way, whether it be from toothpaste, mouthwash, or your local water source, is key to keeping your teeth strong and healthy, as well as avoiding tooth decay in the future.
- Clean Your Tongue – Unless you regularly clean your tongue already, you may have noticed a film or build-up of film on your tongue. This bacteria is the same plaque that can cause damage to teeth and gums. For that reason, cleaning your tongue can also significantly improve your oral health. All you need to do to implement this oral hygiene habit is to use the bristles or back of your brush and gently scrub the tongue’s surface. Do this after you have brushed your teeth but before flossing and using mouthwash for the best results.
- Keep Your Regular Dental Appointments – Though it’s not a daily habit, remembering to make and keep your regular dentist appointments can assist in keeping your teeth healthy and cavity-free. For many people, twice a year is the recommended amount to schedule an exam and cleaning your dentist. If you are experiencing any mouth pain or have other complications, don’t hesitate to contact your dentist for an appointment. Catching something like a cavity sooner rather than later, can save you from having to get the tooth removed or getting a root canal.
- Consider Orthodontics – If it’s difficult for you to clean in between teeth, you may want to consider orthodontics. Straightening your teeth and fixing any bite issues (if any are present) can not only improve your ability to clean your teeth and gums properly, but it can also improve your overall oral hygiene and quality of life. If you believe you may be a candidate for orthodontics, contact an Idaho Falls orthodontist near you.
- Stay Away from Tobacco – Tobacco is all around not the best thing for your health, especially oral health. It has been shown that people who smoke tobacco products, whether it be in the form of cigarettes, cigars, or pipes, are four times more likely to develop gum disease when compared to nonsmokers. Even if you don’t smoke tobacco, chewing tobacco and e-cigarettes can cause early tooth decay and gum disease. Tobacco has also been shown to cause oral cancer, which in some cases, can be deadly. To protect your teeth, as well as your body from the harmful effects of tobacco, avoid it at all costs.
- Drink Water – Aside from brushing and flossing, this last habit is probably the easiest to implement (chances are you are already doing it). Drinking water is part of most people’s daily routines. However, if you forego water in favor of colored or sugary drinks such as coffee, soda, tea, juice, etc., you may be inadvertently causing damage to the enamel of your teeth, not to mention discoloration. To keep your teeth healthy and bright, drink water as much as possible, and reduce the amount of soda and dark beverages you consume. Most experts agree that 8 cups or half of your weight in ounces is the optimal amount of water to drink.
Keeping your teeth and gums healthy is a lifelong practice. There may be some days where you follow all of the habits listed above to a T., And there may be other times where brushing your teeth seems like just another tedious chore. Regardless of how you are feeling, when you make these habits a part of your daily oral health routine, they will happen automatically. If you’d like more information on how you can smile with confidence, contact your Idaho Falls orthodontist, Randall Orthodontics, at your earliest convenience.