October is Dental Hygiene Month, which means now is a good opportunity to stop and consider the care you’re giving your smile. Are you doing everything you can to keep your teeth and gums clean? Chances are that there’s still some room for improvement, and in many cases making a few small changes to your dental hygiene routine can help. Below are 3 habits that your dentist recommends picking up as soon as possible.
1. Floss Daily
While most people already know to brush their teeth twice a day, less than half of adults in the United States engage in daily flossing. As important as brushing is, there are certain spots in your mouth that a toothbrush can’t effectively reach; flossing is your best bet for getting rid of plaque and tartar in these areas.
If you don’t already floss, it may take a bit of effort to get into the habit. Try leaving a note for yourself on your bathroom mirror so that you don’t forget to clean between your teeth. Putting a reminder on your phone can also be helpful.
2. Make Sure That Each Brushing Session Lasts for At Least Two Minutes
Do you only spend a matter of seconds brushing your teeth every day? If so, chances are that you’re missing a lot of plaque, and that can spell trouble for your teeth in the long term. It’s better to take at least two minutes to brush your teeth whenever you pick up your toothbrush. This helps ensure that you’re cleaning the various sides and surfaces of your teeth as thoroughly as possible. Use a timer to make sure that your brushing session lasts as long as it needs to.
3. Rinse Regularly with Mouthwash
Making mouthwash a part of your dental hygiene routine could make a bigger difference than you might think. Brushing and flossing can go a long way toward helping you protect your teeth and gums, but mouthwash goes a step further and fights bacteria in other parts of your mouth. Not only can this go a long way toward helping you avoid oral health issues, but it can also improve your breath.
Are you satisfied with your current dental hygiene routine? Or do you feel like there might be some holes in it? You can voice your concerns to your dentist during your next checkup and cleaning. It always helps to get a professional’s opinion on what additional steps you could be taking to maintain a cleaner, healthier grin.
About the Author
Dr. Sheri McIntosh went to the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio to earn her Doctor of Dental Surgery. She currently belongs to the North Texas Dental Society and a number of other organizations. Her Fort Worth practice, Distinguished Dental, offers gentle, personalized preventive care along with various other dental services. To schedule a consultation with Dr. McIntosh, visit her website or call (817) 337-8300.