How to Get Teeth You’ll Love
Experienced cosmetic dentists can restore the most damaged of smiles. They get satisfaction out of bringing beauty and function back to a smile and seeing people’s confidence emerge as a result. But their primary purpose is to help you understand how important your teeth are and to help you preserve good oral health.
People who regularly see their dentist as recommended are more likely to also maintain consistent dental care at home. Together, these two habits lead to minimal decay and tooth loss throughout your lifetime.
1. Brush Up
If you’ve heard it once you’ve heard it a thousand times, and probably since you were just a child—good oral health begins with brushing twice a day.
To maintain healthy teeth, brush twice a day for at least two minutes with a toothpaste containing fluoride. In general, it takes two to three minutes to properly brush every surface of each tooth. If your toothbrush doesn’t have a built-in timer, set one on your phone or use a kitchen timer when you brush.
Choosing a Toothbrush
When choosing a toothbrush, be sure that the bristles are soft. A soft-bristled toothbrush can properly clean your teeth without causing damage to the enamel. You should replace your toothbrush, or brush head, every three months. With regular use, not only is your toothbrush picking up bacteria but the bristles also start to wear out and clean less effectively.
Depending on your preference, you can use either a manual or rechargeable electric toothbrush.
Proper Technique Using a Manual Toothbrush
When brushing, place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gumline. Gently brush along your teeth in small circular motions to clean the front, back, and tops of each tooth one at a time. Gently brush along your tongue to remove any plaque and food debris that may still be residing there. Finish by rinsing your mouth with water.
Proper Technique Using an Electric Toothbrush
Gently move the brush across your teeth holding it on the surface of each tooth for a few seconds before moving on to the next. Do this for the front, back, and top of every tooth allowing the brush to also work along the gums and gumline. Gently brush down the length of the tongue to remove any plaque or debris that may be there. Rinse your mouth with water when you’re done brushing.
2. Make Flossing a Daily Oral Health Habit
If you aren’t a regular flosser and weren’t nagged by your parents to maintain a daily habit, we know, at the very least, you have been by your hygienist. Despite this, only 30% of Americans floss daily. Flossing is important because it gets between your teeth where your toothbrush can’t. Debris and plaque left between the crevices of teeth can lead to tartar buildup and gum disease.
When flossing, use string floss in order to achieve a c-shape that hugs around the tooth for a close clean. Unwind an 18-inch strand of floss and wrap it around both index fingers leaving an inch of string between them. Use this section of the string to slowly work between each tooth moving to closely curve around each tooth, cleaning between the tooth and gums. As the section of floss you are working with becomes frayed and soiled, wind it around one finger while unraveling string from the opposite hand to create a clean section.
3. Maintain a (Mostly) Healthy Diet
Maintaining a healthy diet isn’t an easy task for most. We aren’t perfect at it either. But limiting your intake of sugary and acidic foods is beneficial to your overall health as well as the health of your teeth.
The bacteria in plaque eat the simple sugars found in foods. As they consume these sugars they produce acids—acids that soften and break down the enamel layer of your teeth. In addition to the obvious culprits like pastries and sodas, look out for hidden sugars in fast food items, breads, and crackers. Acidic items like coffee, tea, and citrus fruits can also directly compromise your enamel.
After each meal, swish your mouth with water to remove as much food debris, plaque, and bacteria as you can until brushing. Crunchy fruits and vegetables like apples or celery can increase saliva production—aiding in protecting your teeth. This is also why so many chewing gums have the ADA seal. Chewing for 10 minutes can help to reduce the potential for decay.
4. Visit the Dentist Regularly
Lastly, to maintain healthy teeth for life, visit your dentist regularly. You should schedule at least two appointments a year, even if you believe your oral health to be in tip-top shape.
Regular cleanings remove any tartar that may have formed since your last visit. Tartar can only be removed by dental professionals and their specialized tools. It can also occur in even the most diligent of patients. Left to remain on the surface of your teeth tartar can lead to decay and even gum disease.
These regular visits also allow your dentist to closely monitor the health of your mouth. This enables your dental team to catch early signs of decay or infection before they can become severe or cause extensive damage. Treating dental issues early will help preserve good oral health and save you money on dental care in the long run.