No one gives better advice on how to keep your teeth squeaky clean than a dental hygienist! After all, they clean and polish teeth all day, and they’ve been specially trained in oral hygiene and advising patients on how to care for their teeth. So, they know what they’re talking about.
We interviewed our very own hygienists to see what they consider the most important tips and tricks to maintaining a fresh and clean mouth. Here’s what they shared with us…
Top 5 Tips from Our Dental Hygienists
- Brush Your Whole Mouth Properly: Yes, you heard right. Your whole mouth, not just your teeth. That includes cheeks, tongue, gums, and the roof of your mouth. Never cleaned your tongue before? Invest in tongue scraper to remove plaque and food particle buildup at nighttime. You can also use mouthwash to dislodge any plaque that has lingered on your cheeks or the roof of your mouth. And, as always, brush your teeth twice a day!
- Always Floss: No excuses—daily flossing is mandatory! The plaque in between your teeth and gum line is only reachable by the thin strands of your favorite floss. A toothbrush just doesn’t get in there. When you don’t floss, pockets will form between your gums and plaque will get trapped there. This undesirable outcome is called periodontitis, or gum disease. It can be reversed if it’s caught early, but if you wait too long, you could lose your teeth.
- Avoid Sugary Drinks: Soda is bad, and you know it. It’s basically liquid candy. But it’s not the only sugary beverage you should stay away from. Sweet teas, lemonade and many other juices are just as harmful to your oral health as they are to your overall well-being. They coat your teeth and give bacteria an abundance of sugar to feast on. The bacteria then thank you by producing acids that erode your enamel.
- Eat Crunchy Fruits & Vegetables and Drink Lots of Water: An apple a day really does keep the tooth doctor away, though you can also include other things like celery and carrots too, of course! These fruits and veggies act as a natural toothbrush by scraping plaque away with their fibers as you eat. Also, because they require vigorous chewing, they help your mouth to produce saliva. That saliva is your mouth’s best friend—it helps rinse bacteria out of your mouth and neutralize harmful acids that can damage teeth. Water will also give your saliva production a boost.
- Re-mineralize Your Teeth: Did you know your teeth lose important minerals throughout the day? One of the main minerals you lose is fluoride. A good way to add some back is to leave a little bit of your toothpaste in your mouth at the end of the day so your teeth reabsorb the strengthening fluoride. Or you can use a fluoride-fortified mouthwash if leaving toothpaste in your mouth is not your thing—just don’t eat or drink anything for 30 minutes after. Mouthwash also helps to neutralize acids and clean hard to reach areas, so it doesn’t hurt to work it into your routine.
In addition to all these great tips, don’t forget to visit your dentist every 6 months! You’ll get a cleaning, exam and x-ray to monitor your teeth’s health and maintain a beautiful smile. Plus, your hygienist may have even more tips for you!