Do you want to improve your dental health in the new year? Whether you are cavity-free and want to stay that way or have concerns like discoloration or missing teeth, keeping regular dental health appointments will put you on the right path to a fabulous smile in 2020 and beyond. Get started with these key oral hygiene instructions to follow for healthy teeth and gums.
Brush Correctly Twice a Day
If you aren't already brushing before bed and in the morning, make sure you do so each and every day. Proper brushing removes food particles and bacteria that develop into decay-causing plaque when they come in contact with saliva. For best results, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a toothpaste formula containing fluoride. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and use gentle circular motions to clean all surfaces of the teeth as well as the tongue, brushing for at least two minutes. Use a timer if you need help.
Don't Forget To Floss
Flossing the teeth is one of the most important and the most often-neglected dental hygiene practices. With dental floss, you can remove tiny food particles trapped between the teeth and in other small crevices. Use about 18 inches of floss and wind it tightly around your thumb and forefinger. Then, gently run the floss between each pair of teeth, either before or after each of your two brushing sessions each day.
Review Your Diet
Now is a great time to refresh your nutrition habits, eliminating foods and beverages that can damage teeth or lead to cavities. In general, the foods that are good for the body are also good for the teeth, including but not limited to low-fat dairy, lean protein and lots of fruits and veggies. Drink plenty of water, which can help flush bacteria and stray food particles from the teeth.
Limit sugary items, especially sticky candy that adheres to the tooth enamel. Alcohol and soda damage the tooth enamel and increase the risk for cavities, while wine, coffee and tobacco cause stains that can only be removed through professional teeth whitening treatments.
Tobacco causes significant damage to teeth and gums while increasing the risk of oral cancer. What's more, gum and candy used to cover smoky breath also contribute to dental issues. Quitting cigarette smoking or tobacco use is a must if you want a healthier mouth.
Keep Up With Regular Dental Visits
Most people should see their dentist at least twice a year. Before January rolls around, get your 2020 dental appointments on the calendar, especially if you have significant oral hygiene goals for the new year. For example, you may be considering braces to correct a misaligned bite or dental implants to replace missing or damaged teeth. Before having these types of treatments, it's important that your teeth and mouth are healthy and free of cavities and decay.
At a regular dental visit, the dental hygienist will thoroughly clean the teeth and gums, noting any problems that require follow-up by the dentist. X-rays may be taken to look for underlying issues that may impact your oral health, such as small cavities. In addition to your twice-yearly visits, see your dentist right away if your experience:
- Pain when you chew
- Bleeding, red, swollen or tender gums
- Bleeding while brushing or flossing
- Unexplained bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
- Loose adult teeth
- Spaces between the teeth and gums
- Sensitivity to heat, cold and/or pressure
If you live in the Middletown area, Delaware Smile Center can be your partner for a year of improved oral health and a rejuvenated smile. Get in touch today to schedule your 2020 dental appointment, whether you're overdue for a check-up or you're ready to talk about significant treatments such as whitening or crowns in the new year.