Your smile is one of your most defining features. Are you proud to show off your pearly whites, or do stained, yellow teeth keep you from parting your lips? The first step to gaining a confident smile is to adopt the right daily routine for healthy teeth. Follow this schedule to help reduce staining between dental visits.
Morning Dental Routine
Your morning routine likely consists of washing your face, shaving or putting on makeup, and styling your hair. Add oral care to your morning to-do list to set your teeth up for success every day.
Brush your teeth as soon as you wake up. This removes bacteria and prevents them from creating enamel-eating acid when exposed to food. Here’s what morning tooth care should consist of according to the Dental Health Foundation:
- Brush your teeth: Choose a soft- to medium-textured, small-headed toothbrush for effective plaque removal. Put a small amount of fluoride toothpaste onto your toothbrush and use short, quick, gentle strokes across your teeth. Brush for two to three minutes, making sure to thoroughly reach every tooth surface.
- Floss: Break off about 18 inches of floss from its dispenser and wrap each end around your pointer fingers. Use a careful sawing motion to insert the floss between your teeth. Be careful not to snap the floss against your gums to avoid injury. Rinse or wipe the floss off on a tissue as you go to keep it clean. If you prefer, use flossers that include a span of floss attached to a little plastic handle.
- Rinse: Mouthwash is the final step to your morning dental routine. Follow the instructions on the bottle to determine how much rinse to use and how long to swish. Never swallow mouthwash. Dr. Cowden can provide mouthwash recommendations based on your oral needs.
Watch What You Eat
You may think if you’re brushing, flossing and rinsing every day, you can eat whatever you want. However, Everyday Health explains there are some foods you should avoid:
- Taffy, caramel and gummy candies: These are the worst things for your teeth. If left alone, these sticky foods cling to your teeth and give bacteria the food they need to thrive. If you do indulge in these sweets, rinse your mouth immediately after.
- Hard food: Popcorn kernels and hard candy can break a tooth if you bite down too hard. Be careful when eating hard food.
- Acidic drinks: Orange juice, coffee, soda and white wine are notorious for eroding teeth. Drink these beverages through a straw whenever possible to reduce contact with your teeth.
Then, Examiner.com states there are some foods and drinks that help fight off bacteria and neutralize acid:
- Milk or cheese: These dairy products have properties that counteract the acid in your mouth. When appropriate, finish your meal with a swig of milk or slice of cheese.
- Sugar-free gum: When you can’t brush your teeth, reach for a stick of sugar-free gum. Chewing increases saliva production to neutralize acid and keep bacteria at bay. As an added bonus, mint gum freshens your breath.
Evening Dental Routine
Daytime tooth care is vital, but if you neglect oral hygiene at bedtime, you could undo all your efforts. Examiner.com points out that saliva fights bacteria during the day, but your mouth dries out at night, leaving bacteria a chance to wreak havoc on your teeth if you don’t brush, floss and rinse right before bed.
You should follow the same routine outlined above for morning dental care. However, brushing right after eating is not ideal because some tooth enamel has already eroded away after exposure to acid-induced bacteria. Saliva naturally neutralizes the acidity in your mouth, but if you brush promptly after eating dinner, you rub off the dissolved enamel minerals, which can lead to tooth erosion and sensitivity.
For this reason, you should wait one hour after eating to brush your teeth. This applies to any meal throughout the day.
While You Sleep
Many people grind or clench their teeth while they sleep, which can damage the jaw, cause headaches, wear down your teeth and cause receding gums. A simple solution to this problem is to wear a Night Guard. This a hard plastic mouthpiece is molded specifically to fit your mouth for a tight, comfortable fit that won’t come off while you sleep. Cowden Family Dental can get you fitted for a Night Guard to complete your daily dental routine.
In addition to following this daily routine for healthy teeth, it’s also important to visit the dentist at least once every six months for a cleaning and checkup. For more oral health tips, or to schedule an appointment, please contact Cowden Family Dental online or call us at (505) 273-3080.