Are you doing everything you can to keep your teeth and gums healthy? Sadly, far too many people don’t take proper care of their teeth. They see dental appointments as low priority on their personal “to-do” list, and in some cases skip seeing their dentist in Naperville altogether. At-home oral care also tends to get left by the wayside, with daily brushings being hit or miss, and flossing non-existent!
You already know you should make and keep regular dental appointments for checkups and cleanings (at least once a year, although twice is recommended even for patients with healthy teeth and gums.) You also know you should be brushing and flossing at least twice daily (preferably three times; more often if you happen to indulge in late night sugar binges…)
However, there is more to good oral care than standard visits to your local Naperville dentist and daily brush and floss scenarios. Here are our top five oral health tips for your family!
- Stop bad breath! Bacteria is the most common culprit where halitosis is concerned, and sometimes brushing and flossing just isn’t enough. You can use a tongue scraper, once a day, to remove bacteria from your tongue. Mouthwash can also help; use it after brushing and flossing and before bed to cut down on bacterial growth.
- Replace that toothbrush! You need a new toothbrush more often than every six months to a year, so don’t depend on “the free one” from your friendly dentist in Naperville. You should be changing your manual toothbrush or the head of your electric toothbrush every 8 to 12 weeks. This ensures that the bristles are effective by eliminating patterns of wear, and also gets rid of bacteria that may linger. (If you have an illness such as strep throat or thrush, change your toothbrush several days into your course of antibiotics or anti-fungals, and again once the issue is resolved.)
- Plan for on-the-go! If you are eating on the run, include a “detergent food” in your meal and eat it last to help clean your teeth. Foods that are ideal for leaving your teeth particle free and fresh are apples, celery, raw carrots, and even popcorn (plain, salted popcorn is best). Alternately, you can pack a small, disposable toothbrush and floss set for times when you want to freshen up after lunch and before that important meeting.
- Avoid dry mouth. Anyone who is on regular medication can experience lack of adequate saliva. In addition to causing discomfort due to a dry mouth, this can also cause dental issues. Plaque will build up more quickly, teeth will decay and gum disease is more likely. Talk to your Naperville dentist about ways to combat dry mouth (also known as xerostomia). There are over 800 medications that can cause dry mouth, but fortunately there are ways to combat this issue, from prescribed medication to simple options like chewing sugarless gum.
- For kids: Prevention is key! Start early with oral care, wiping down their gums regularly and taking your child to the dentist as soon as the first tooth erupts. Use fluoridated toothpaste, and help them brush and floss until they are at least age 8. Childproof your home for toddlers learning to walk (most injuries to the teeth and face come from falling into furniture at that age); and for older kids, invest in protective mouth gear once they start playing sports.
These five oral health care tips can help keep you and your family healthy in between visits to the dentist, but nothing can beat a regular at home brush and floss routine combined with regular visits to your dentist in Naperville. Been a while since your last appointment? Call us and schedule one today!