Once our baby teeth fall out, we only have one set of permanent teeth left for the rest of our adult lives. If you don’t take care of them, the bacteria from plaque buildup can cause serious health problems beyond the pain in your jaw, and you could also lose your teeth. That’s why it’s important to always take great care of your teeth and learn about the best ways to keep your snappers in pristine condition.
1. Brush Properly or Not At All
Did you know that if your toothbrush has too hard of bristles or if you overbrush your teeth, it can actually cause damage to the enamel or gums? Brushing your teeth too hard can result in increased sensitivity to certain foods or temperatures, and your gum line may start to recede toward the roots. Choose a soft-bristled toothbrush with ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste, and brush at least twice a day with minimal pressure. Don’t forget to brush the insides of your teeth as well.
2. Flossing is Equally Important as Brushing
Brushing alone doesn’t remove any food particles or plaque that buildup between your teeth, which can actually lead to gum disease or tooth decay if not addressed. Plaque can turn into tartar (calcified bacteria) within just 48 hours of being left on the surface of your teeth, between your teeth, or near the gum line. That’s why it’s just as important to floss your teeth each day. Pull the floss in between each tooth and create a “C” shape to cover the entirety of the tooth surface, and move it between each tooth to remove food or plaque buildup.
3. Use Mouthwash Regularly
Using mouthwash once a day is advised for people who want to remove food or bacteria from areas that brushing or flossing can’t reach, and can help reduce bacteria in the mouth that can lead to a tonsil infection (tonsillitis). According to the American Dental Association (ADA), America’s leading advocate for oral health, fluoride ions from certain types of toothpaste can interfere with the effectiveness of mouthwash in removing bacteria, so you may want to rinse your mouth out beforehand.
4. Don’t Go To Bed Without Brushing
It’s easy to forget about the late-night snack or wind up being so tired by the end of the night we pass out before brushing our teeth. On days where your routine becomes so messed up that it seems impossible to get back on your brushing routine, consider leaving a toothbrush in the snack area of your fridge as a reminder to brush afterward. If you still have trouble getting on a routine, keep a separate toothbrush in the shower.
5. Enroll in Dental Coverage
One of the key components in keeping your oral hygiene in top shape is visiting a dentist at least twice a year, or more if you have certain conditions that increase the chance of gum disease or tooth decay. A dentist will examine your teeth, remove tartar buildup, and perform any necessary procedures to prevent future issues with your teeth. If you’re eligible, consider a Medicare dental plan to supplement your traditional healthcare coverage. Many dental plans support preventative oral care as a way to help you avoid painful and costly procedures later on.