According to DentalCare.com, you should visit your dentist for a checkup at least twice a year. However, in between those visits, there are a number of things you should do to ensure that your teeth and gums are in the best condition. Merely visiting the dentist bi-annually will not ensure the protection of your teeth and oral health. These practical tips will ensure that your smile is in the best condition when you return to the dentist, and will keep your mouth in shape for the next six months.
Brush Thoroughly, Not Just Regularly
Of course, brushing at least twice daily is a must when it comes to maintaining the health of your teeth and gums. You should hold the brush at a 45 degree angle toward your gums, since plaque can build up there easily. After brushing your teeth, be sure to brush the top portion of your mouth and your tongue to remove bacteria and plaque. Some people think that giving their teeth a quick scrub in the morning and again at night will suffice, but after everything your mouth goes through throughout the day, you really need to give it a little more TLC than that. It’s not just your teeth that need a cleaning, so don’t neglect all areas of your mouth where bacteria and plaque are trying to find a home.
Consume Calcium-Rich Foods
According to an oral surgeon who specializes in wisdom teeth removal, high-calcium foods like milk and yogurt are essential for oral health. Calcium strengthens the bones, teeth and gums and should be consumed on a regular basis to keep teeth in the best condition. The enamel on your teeth can really break down if you aren’t getting enough calcium and your teeth will become weak. Eating a calcium-rich diet will not only benefit your teeth, but it is good for the rest of your body, so you can’t go wrong there.
Keep Sugar to a Minimum
Eating foods that are low in sugar will help to prevent cavities, gum disease and tooth decay. If you eat sugary foods or consume drinks that are high in sugar, rinse your mouth out with tepid water to reduce the acidic effects of sugar in your mouth. Some people think they can avoid getting cavities by compensating their extra sugar intake by brushing harder or more frequently. While cleaning your teeth after consuming sugar will help, your teeth will still take a hit from being exposed to so much sugar. Do yourself a favor and keep the sugar to a minimum—avoiding the problem of cavities all together.
Chew Foods Without Seeds
Besides foods that can stain your teeth, you also want to be careful about the texture of foods that you are eating. It may be best to stay away from foods like quinoa or grapes with seeds, especially if you have sensitive gums. Seedy foods can cause molar fissures which can be painful and compromise your oral health. This will depend on the natural shape and nature of your teeth, but it’s usually a safe bet to avoid eating too many foods that contain seeds that can get stuck and create problems.
Replace Your Toothbrush
It is best to replace your toothbrush about every three months, which is between dental visits. This keeps you from putting impurities back into your mouth when you brush your teeth. It’s also best to thoroughly rinse your toothbrush with warm water after each use to get rid of debris and to store the toothbrush in a place where it can air dry to keep the brush sterile. Since the point of brushing your teeth is to clean them, it won’t do you much good to use an old, worn-down toothbrush. Having stiff, sanitary bristles will help you in your endeavors to maintain your oral health in between dental visits.
After brushing and flossing your teeth, rinse with a mouthwash that contains fluoride to make your tooth enamel stronger. Natural mouthwashes with essential oils like peppermint and tea tree oil are also beneficial for removing bacteria from the teeth and gums. Remember to use mouthwash right before bed to fight the buildup of impurities in the mouth overnight.
When you consistently care for your teeth, you’ll notice significant improvement in your gums and teeth. You’ll also be much more likely to enjoy your dental appointments, since you’ll get a good report from your dentist and may be able to avoid having to undergo painful or uncomfortable procedures. So don’t just wait for your next dental appointment to come around to take care of your teeth—keep it protected all year long!