EVERYONE HAS HEARD that healthy teeth depend on brushing twice a day, flossing once a day (at least) and getting your regular dental cleanings twice a year. But every now and again I’m asked by patients, “I’m doing those things and I still have cavities (or bad breath or whatever it might be). What can I do differently?” As a matter of fact, there are a few extra things you can do to really improve your oral health at home.
Replace Your Toothbrush Regularly
If your toothbrush is older than about 3 months, consider replacing your toothbrush. Enthusiastic brushing will make the bristles fray, which limits the brush’s effectiveness, but that’s not the ONLY reason to replace your toothbrush. Another reason is that you might just be brushing germs ONTO your teeth! Lots of the germs we brush off of our teeth stay in the brush (I know, gross). Storing the toothbrush upright and letting it dry out between uses can keep a toothbrush from getting smelly and gross too fast, but it’s still important to replace your toothbrush at minimum every 3-4 months.
Use A Tongue-Scraper
Brushing your teeth twice daily is easily accomplished, but don’t forget your tongue! You can brush your tongue with your toothbrush, or even better – get one of those tongue scrapers in the toothbrush section at the grocery store. Your breath will thank you! The first time you use a tongue scraper you might be tempted to be really sick as you see what comes off of your tongue – it’s not pretty. And it can contribute to oral health problems.
Don’t Brush Too Hard
Lighten up there, cowboy! Brushing is important, but hard brushing is damaging. Whenever I see a patient who’s brushing too hard, I tell them that the new rule is that they can only use 2 fingers to hold their toothbrush. Brush longer, not harder. (and use soft bristles, please!)
Eat Teeth-Friendly Foods
We all know that foods high in sugar can cause cavities, and soda is not great for your teeth. No news there, right? Avoiding some of these foods will help, but there are also foods you can eat that are in reality good for your teeth.
Adding more cheese, yogurt, salad, fresh fruits and vegetables and almonds will make your teeth happy, and they can contribute to your overall health, too!
We’d Love To See How Your Teeth Are Doing!
So the next time you come in, let us know if you’ve been doing these things at home, and we’ll help evaluate the positive changes that we see!
We Love Our Patients!
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.