Oral Hygiene Habits to Start Right Now

Categories: Oral Health

oral hygiene habitsScotts Valley and Santa Cruz, CA

We’re already several months into the year, and, likely, any new year’s resolutions are long forgotten. But that doesn’t mean it is too late to start new habits. When it comes to your health and your oral health, you’ll either pay for it now or later. Why not put forth a little extra effort now so you can reap the long-term benefits of good health? Today on the blog, our Scotts Valley general dentists at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry share oral hygiene habits to start right now! Stick to our tips for improved oral health and a confident smile.

  1. Brush more often

Most people won’t go a day without brushing their teeth. But brushing only once a day isn’t going to cut it. Oral bacteria are present in everyone’s mouths and produce acids that erode dental enamel within so many hours unless removed through routine oral care. That’s why the American Dental Association recommends brushing at least twice a day, preferably three times if you can. Removing oral bacteria and food particles this often each day will lessen your risk of developing cavities or other oral diseases. Ideally, brush after you eat breakfast, lunch, and again before bed.

  1. Floss every day

This added step in your oral hygiene routine may seem annoying, but it’s well worth it. Flossing is the equivalent of brushing between your teeth. Skipping this step would be like only brushing two-thirds of your teeth. Interproximal areas (between teeth) are the perfect place for bacteria and food particles to hide. If you skip flossing, you could leave behind bacteria or food that could cause cavities, gum irritation, or gum disease. If you find that your gums are sensitive or bleed a little when you floss, keep at it. This happens because your gums aren’t used to it and is a sign that you need to floss more often to prevent gum disease from worsening.

  1. Don’t forget to clean your tongue

Our tongues harbor bacteria and food residue responsible for bad breath. If you smoke, drink coffee, or eat pungent foods, you’re likely to battle bad breath unless you scrub your tongue when brushing your teeth. A regular toothbrush will do the job just fine, or you can purchase a tongue brush if you prefer.

  1. Get your teeth cleaned twice a year

Now that you’ve got your at-home oral hygiene routine down pat, it’s time to take additional steps to protect your oral health. The ADA recommends visiting the dentist twice a year or once every six months. The purpose of these visits is for the dental hygienist to remove stuck-on plaque and tartar buildup that accumulates regardless of how good you are at brushing your teeth. This buildup cannot be brushed away. Instead, the hygienist scrapes it off your teeth, which helps reduce your risk of cavities and gum disease.

  1. Don’t skip the x-rays

A lot of patients elect not to get dental x-rays unless there is a problem with their teeth. X-rays aren’t a money-making gimmick. Instead, they provide a complete view of your dental health, including tooth root structures, areas between your teeth that cannot be seen by the eye, and the jawbone. These images are essential for ensuring your teeth and jawbone are healthy. Dental diseases can often be caught early by viewing x-rays. It’s recommended that you get dental x-rays at least once per year during a routine checkup and cleaning.

  1. Don’t neglect needed dental care

If a problem does arise, like a small cavity, loose crown or filling, cracked tooth, or something else that your dentist brings to your attention, address it immediately. Waiting will only make things worse. It’s for this reason that routine dental checkups are recommended. The old adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” doesn’t apply to your health! Prevention is the best cure. Plus, fixing a small problem when it’s first discovered usually ends up costing less in the long run rather than waiting until the tooth is damaged beyond repair or requires extensive treatments to fix.

Family Dentists in Scotts Valley, Los Gatos, and Santa Cruz

Protecting your oral health provides many benefits to your overall health, such as lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes. It’s never too late to begin new habits and improve your oral health. For more information or schedule an appointment, call Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry at (831) 438-4411. We welcome patients of Scotts Valley, Los Gatos, and Santa Cruz.