Here at Dr. Fontenot’s office, we know that taking care of your teeth can be daunting but, it’s essential for maintaining a healthy smile. Let’s review a few tips and tricks to help you create new dental care habits that will keep your teeth and gums in shape.
Brushing: The Foundation of Good Dental Care Habits
The foundation of any good dental care routine is brushing your teeth. Brushing twice daily for at least two minutes each time is the standard dentists recommend. Yet, it’s not about how long you brush but also how you brush. First, make sure you use a soft-bristled toothbrush that’s comfortable. Brush in circular motions, aiming for all surfaces of your teeth and gums, including the back ones. Remember to replace your toothbrush every three to four months or sooner as needed.
Flossing: Not Just for Dentists
Flossing may seem optional, but it’s as important as brushing. Flossing is one of the most important dental care habits and removes food particles and plaque that brushing alone can’t reach. This helps prevent gum disease and cavities. When flossing, use an 18-inch piece of floss, wrap it around your fingers. Gently slide it between your teeth. Curve the floss around each tooth’s base, making a C shape to get under the gumline.
Mouthwash: The Finishing Touch
Mouthwash is an excellent addition to your dental care routine. Note the phrase “excellent addition”. Not a substitute for brushing and flossing. Mouthwash can help freshen your breath and kill bacteria that cause bad breath and tooth decay. Choose an alcohol-free mouthwash and swish it around in your mouth for at least 30 seconds before spitting it out. Some mouthwashes can also help with sensitivity, dry mouth, and plaque buildup, so read the label before purchasing.
Don’t get hung up on fancy labels or marketing campaigns for mouthwashes. All mouthwashes follow a very similar formula with small differences. As an aside, beware fancy tooth paste marketing tricks as well. The popularity of baking soda should dispell the myth that you need a super fancy tooth paste for good dental care habits.
Dental Visits: The Importance of Regular Check-Ups
Regular dental visits are an essential part of maintaining good dental health. Your dentist can check for cavities, gum disease, and other dental problems you may not even know. Visiting the dentist at least twice a year is recommended, but some people may need to go more, depending on their dental health. During your dental visit, your dentist will examine your teeth, take X-rays if necessary, and clean your teeth to remove any plaque or tartar buildup. They can also guide your dental care routine and recommend any necessary treatments.
Creating New Habits: Tips and Tricks
Creating new dental care habits can be challenging, but it’s really worth it. Here are some tips and tricks to help you stay on track: Set reminders: Use a reminder app or set alarms on your phone to remind you to brush, floss, and use mouthwash. (Bonus tip: For building any kind of good habit, check out the book “Atomic Habits”) Keep your dental care products in plain sight. Keep your toothbrush, floss, and mouthwash on your bathroom counter where you can see them. Make it a family affair: Get your family involved in your dental care routine, so you can all encourage each other to maintain good dental health. Reward yourself: Give yourself a small reward after sticking to your dental care routine for a certain period, such as a week or a month. Caring for your teeth and gums may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Following these tips and tricks and making dental care a habit, you can keep your smile healthy and bright for years. Remember, a healthy smile is a happy smile!
More information can be found at the ADA website