Improving and maintaining your health takes many small steps, not large ones. If you want to lose weight, you cut out a few calories each day, not an entire meal. When you want to get in shape, you work out for about 30 minutes 3-4 times a week, as opposed to 3 hours a day. The same concept applies to your teeth, and a few daily habits can make all the difference when it comes to your smile. Dr. Rick Cofer, your family dentist in Waco, TX, has 4 simple tips to keep your teeth looking great between dental visits.
1. Brush Your Teeth…Correctly!
At this point, you probably feel like you’ve been brushing your teeth your entire life. A quick chat with your parents will change that, as they have plenty of stories about chasing you around with a toothbrush. Despite your current familiarity, even most adults do not brush their teeth correctly. They typically miss one of the following things:
- Brush at least twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. Don’t brush more than 3 times a day, as it can actually break down your teeth
- Brush for at least 2 minutes each time
- Brush the front, back, and sides of every tooth
- Use a gentle circling motion
- Brush your tongue for fresh breath
Most of the time, people brush without even thinking about it. This is why they usually do not brush long enough or can miss large areas. If you are using a manual toothbrush, be sure to set some type of timer so you don’t have to think about it. Be sure to brush every tooth, especially the back teeth, as these are frequently missed. A gentle circling motion with the brush is much better at breaking up plaque than simply going back and forth. You can also cut down on the gum and breath-mints by simply brushing your tongue. Often your breath is dictated by the food that is left on it.
2. Remember to Floss!
Yes, you need to floss every time you brush. Whenever you “forget” to floss, you are leaving nearly 40% of your teeth’s surfaces uncleaned, which can leave you vulnerable to tooth decay. Flossing is able to reach areas that your brush simply can’t. It doesn’t matter which order you do them in, just as long as you always do both. Be sure to use 12-18 inches of floss every time, and floss between every tooth, even behind the back teeth.
3. Limit Sugary Drinks!
The plaque that can decay your teeth comes from naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth feeding on leftover sugar. Drinks such as sodas, juices, energy drinks, and cocktails are high in sugar and can facilitate the buildup of plaque. You don’t need to give them up completely, but drinking a little more water can do a lot to help preserve your teeth.
4. Drink More Water!
This will help you with #3. Whenever you’re thirsty, you should try and drink water. Not only will it keep you hydrated, but it will also give your teeth a nice rinse, removing excess sugar and food particles. It’s the next best thing to brushing your teeth, so give yourself a quick rinse during the day after meals.
These all seem pretty easy to follow every day, right? The true key is consistency. Your teeth are constantly being exposed to bacteria, so you need to clean them each day. It only takes a few minutes, and it’ll make your next check-up nice and quick.
If you’d like to know more tips on how to take care of your teeth, call or e-mail us today.