Scheduling a visit at the dentist’s office for general dentistry services like check-ups and professional cleanings is essential to maintain optimal oral health.
While a commitment to scheduling regular visits pays dividends, what you do at home in between those appointments makes a significant difference in your oral health. In this blog, our highly experienced team of dentists at Mowry Dental in Fremont, California, offer your insights on five ways to support your oral health at home.
Let’s lay the foundation for this discussion by explaining why oral health matters. Spoiler alert! It’s not all about a beautiful, dazzling smile. While it’s true a healthy smile is aesthetically pleasing, your oral health is connected to your systemic health.
One of the best ways to improve your oral health is to simply brush your teeth. Typically, brushing for two minutes first thing in the morning before and again before bed provides an excellent foundation for your at-home hygiene routine.
Whether you use a regular or electric one, hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and brush along the gum line, taking care to brush all the teeth’s surfaces. If you’re not sure you're brushing long enough, listen to music while brushing and stop after a song ends. Many electric toothbrushes have handy automatic timers that take out the guesswork.
The perfect accompaniment to brushing is flossing at least once a day. Did you know that the best order of tasks is to floss first? By flossing before you brush, you loosen lingering food debris from between your teeth. It is also effective at removing plaque between the teeth. Once plaque and food debris are removed, the fluoride from your toothpaste can enter the nooks and crannies between your teeth.
While avoiding sugary foods and drinks may seem like a no-brainer, the reason may be surprising. It’s all about chemical reactions between bacteria, sugar, and acid — the pH factor. Your mouth is teeming with good and bad bacteria. Sugar is naturally drawn to harmful bacteria.
Once saliva enters the mix, dental plaque forms on the surface of the teeth. At the same time, the pH factor of plaque can change. If it drops below normal, it can dissolve or break down enamel, a chemical process called tooth demineralization. In turn, tooth demineralization triggers tooth decay. Over time, small holes develop. If left untreated, the holes grow larger until they become a cavity.
The merits of drinking lots of water and staying hydrated are well known. But did you know it’s just as crucial to oral health? Drinking water throughout the day is one of the most effective and efficient ways to prevent cavities. Water washes away any residual food debris and sugars in your mouth, diluting the acids and derailing tooth demineralization. Fluoridated water is particularly beneficial.
Not surprisingly, abstaining from smoking or using tobacco products is essential to supporting your oral health. Tobacco products can cause oral cancer and trigger other oral health issues, such as gum disease and tooth decay. In fact, more than 40% of American adults 20-64 who smoke cigarettes have untreated tooth decay.
If you are concerned about oral health and want to learn how to enhance oral care at home, call Mowry Dental at 510-794-7900 to schedule a consultation. You can also book your appointment online.