In the hustle and bustle of our daily activity, it’s easy to neglect the importance of maintaining a proper oral health care routine.
Despite common practice, keeping up a healthy smile demands more effort than simply brushing and flossing.
The Importance of Oral Hygiene
Adopting a proper oral hygiene regimen is essential for the prevention of common dental issues, such as periodontal disease and gingivitis. Neglecting to clean our teeth thoroughly at least twice a day can also lead to the growth of dental caries, more commonly known as cavities.
Most dentists will agree that the best preventative approach is through daily brushing and flossing; however, most people do not perform these tasks properly or with enough attention.
Oral Hygiene Facts¹
- More than 25% of adults do not brush their teeth twice daily. Failing to brush your teeth inevitably leads to tooth decay and cavities, which can be costly to treat.
- People with periodontal disease double their odds of developing heart disease.
- It’s important to replace your toothbrush after recovering from a cold to avoid getting sick again.
- Bad breath originates in the mouth, and can be treated immediately by brushing your teeth and using mouthwash afterwards.
- Smokers are up to seven times more likely to develop periodontal disease.
- Our tooth enamel is the strongest structure in the body by weight.
Best Oral Hygiene Products for Healthy Teeth
The oral care aisle at your local department store offers a myriad of toothpaste brands to choose from. Every mouth is unique, so it’s important to choose the correct oral hygiene products that will suit your individual needs.
Crest, Colgate, and Oral B are some of the most common toothpaste brands on the market. Each brand offers different lines of products to help you design a complete oral hygiene routine. Alternatively, if your teeth are particularly sensitive to hot and cold temperatures, Sensodyne is one of a few toothpaste brands recommended by dentists.
It can be hard to choose the right toothpaste, especially when there are so many different types of toothpastes available:
- Enamel toothpaste, which is designed to defend against enamel erosion caused by acidic and sugary foods and beverages
- Whitening toothpaste, which contains ingredients to actively brighten your teeth through regular daily brushing
- Sensitivity toothpaste, which can be used prior to eating foods that can weaken or damage your teeth
Other Oral Hygiene Products
Different flossing tools can be purchased at any home retailer, including waxed floss, unwaxed floss, and floss picks. Any of these types of floss are an essential part of a good oral hygiene routine. Flossing too often can actually hurt your gums, so most dentists recommend flossing once per day either at morning or at night.
Failing to floss your teeth allows food particles to linger on the surface and in between your teeth, which eventually leads to the proliferation of harmful tooth decay-causing bacteria. If you go too long without flossing, you put yourself at risk of cavity formation, plaque buildup, gingivitis, and periodontal disease.
Mouthwash is a liquid formula containing a number of antibacterial agents which are effective at removing any lingering debris that might be overlooked through flossing and brushing. Mouthwash is a critical complement to your existing oral hygiene routine, as it also has the ability to prevent canker sores in areas surrounding the teeth.
When choosing between different mouthwash brands, look for a formula that contains fluoride, a mineral that can strengthen the teeth and protect against the development of cavities.
Manual & Electric Toothbrushes
Choosing the right toothbrush can make or break your oral hygiene routine. Toothbrushes are categorized based on their power source (manual or electric), as well as the durability of their bristles (soft, medium, hard). The cost of a toothbrush can vary from a couple of dollars to a couple hundred dollars.
While there are many fancy types of toothbrushes available to try, most dentists agree that a standard Oral B toothbrush with soft bristles is universally effective at maintaining good oral hygiene. There’s no need to opt for expensive equipment, unless you’re really invested in your smile.
Water Picks & Flossers
A water pick is an advanced type of flossing tool that is highly effective at removing debris from hard-to-reach areas of your mouth. Handheld water picks are designed to apply a localized soft-pressure water stream which helps to lift and flush away food particles. Water picks can be a little costly compared to basic floss, but it can be a beneficial tool for those who have tight-set teeth and have trouble reaching their back molars.
Teeth whitening strips and gels are an optional addition to your existing oral hygiene routine. Whitening products do not affect the overall health of your teeth or gums, so it’s okay if you choose not to use them. However, if you are concerned about the cosmetic appearance of your smile, teeth whitening strips are a relatively affordable way to brighten your smile in between visits to your dentist.
These plastic strips are coated with the same potent whitening formula used at the dentist for teeth whitening procedures. The strips are applied to your teeth for a small length of time, and teeth are noticeably whiter as soon as they are removed.
- Make sure to choose a toothbrush that has soft bristles so as to avoid scratching the surface of your teeth while brushing.
- Brush your teeth in a circular motion to mechanically draw food debris from hard-to-reach pockets in the mouth.
- People with delicate teeth can purchase special sensitivity toothpaste if they experience discomfort in response to hot and cold foods.
- When flossing your teeth, be sure to target the area between each and every tooth, including your back molars (which can be harder to reach).
- After brushing and flossing, give your mouth a thorough rinse to remove food that would otherwise cause decay.
Your dentist truly cares about the look and feel of your smile. Maintaining proper oral hygiene through the regular use of tooth and gum cleaning products is the best form of preventative dentistry.
If you want to shorten the duration of your next dentist appointment, it’s as easy as cleaning your teeth for a few minutes every day!
¹“Fun Dental Facts.” Imagine Smiles, www.imagine-smiles.com/fun-dental-facts.html.