The American Dental Association recommends that people visit their dentists every six months. Two visits a year might not sound like much, but the truth is, most people can’t even commit to that. Yes, a trip to the dentist’s office can be expensive, especially if there’s work to be done, but having good dental hygiene is important to your overall health and well-being. So, first and foremost, make sure you are getting in at least the minimum number of dentist visits, no matter what it takes!
Your dentist will tell you that you need to brush—and brush well—at least twice per day. Is this really enough to keep you in great dental health? The experts say no—you need to do more than this to avoid the need for expensive dental work and the development of serious health conditions in the future.
One thing to consider is how you brush. Most people just think running a toothbrush through their mouth a couple of times a day is all that matters. The truth is, however, that there’s a wrong and a right way to brush your teeth. The right way begins with the right toothbrush! You want a brush that fits comfortably inside your mouth and that has been approved by the American Dental Association. Your toothbrush doesn’t have to be expensive, but it’s probably not a good idea to pick the cheapest one you can find either. Be sure to choose a soft-bristled brush, to be gentle to your teeth, and to make sure that your brushing sessions last at least two minutes!
Even the very best brusher can’t get away with having no other dental hygiene routines. Flossing is absolutely vital for a mouth that is healthy and that will stay that way for years to come. Floss can fit into the tight spaces between teeth where toothbrush bristles simply can’t go. It will remove tiny particles of food that can cause bad breath, decay, and gum disease, providing you do it the right way! You should floss at least once per day, using about 18 inches of floss for each session. Hold the floss between your thumbs and index fingers. Then use your index fingers to guide the floss between your teeth. Use a zig-zag motion as you floss, and avoid snapping the floss, as this can damage the teeth. Make sure to touch on all parts of the tooth surface and underneath the gum-line.
In addition to practicing these important dental techniques, you should also check out your own mouth on a regular basis. When you’re brushing or flossing, you can look out for common signs that something is awry in your mouth. Potential signs of trouble can include tooth pain or sensitivity, bleeding gums (if you notice pink in your spit while brushing, your gums are likely bleeding!), white patches on the tongue, bad breath, discoloration of the teeth, and pressure above the teeth. Surprisingly, headaches and stiffness in the neck can also indicate dental problems and are a common sign of bruxism or teeth-grinding.
If you notice any of these issues, make sure to report them to a dentist as soon as possible. Most of them can easily be fixed if you catch them early enough. Yes, practicing proper dental care can be a pain, but it is well worth it in the end. Not only can it keep you healthier for longer, but it can also save money by allowing you to avoid expensive dental procedures later on down the road. Plus, it’ll give you a bright, white smile that you can be proud to show off!