We all want to have beautiful, bright, and healthy smiles. While regular dentist visits are certainly part of that, having a good oral healthcare routine at home is crucial. If you’re brushing and flossing regularly, you’re a step ahead of the game—but are you using the proper techniques? What else could you be missing? If you’re like most dental patients, you’re probably missing quite a bit.
There are plenty of factors at play when it comes to oral hygiene, and most people tend to stop at brushing and flossing. If you want your mouth to be as healthy as possible, you’ll need to take a more comprehensive approach. Let’s look at a few simple, often-overlooked ways to enhance your oral health.
1. Drinking water
Did you know that drinking water can have a direct impact on how healthy your teeth and gums are? Water helps flush away bacteria and food particles throughout the day, decreasing the opportunity for cavities and tooth decay. If your community adds fluoride to the drinking water, you also get the benefit of added enamel strength to create a protective barrier for your teeth. For those who suffer from dry mouth, drinking water regularly is crucial to supplementing saliva production to avoid bad breath, sores, tooth decay, and gum disease.
2. Applying the right brushing technique
Using the proper brushing technique starts by holding your toothbrush at a slight angle—not directly parallel to your teeth. With the bristles aimed toward the line where your tooth meets your gum, brush in slow, small circles, moving up and down. Make sure you are using the right kind of pressure for your toothbrush bristles (don’t brush too hard if you have firmer bristles, since this can cause your gums to become irritated).
3. Cleaning your toothbrush
When is the last time you thought about cleaning your toothbrush? Do you set it on the counter after brushing without giving it a second thought? Cleaning your toothbrush is a great way to ensure that you aren’t letting bacteria, mold, or yeast invade your mouth. Rinse your toothbrush under running water after brushing, and make sure to store it off the counter, in the open air. Keeping the bristles covered (such as in a travel toothbrush container) could encourage harmful bacteria growth.
4. Using mouthwash
Mouthwash may feel like a frivolous addition to your shopping cart, but it actually has a lot of benefits for your oral health. Using mouthwash after you brush at night can help remineralize your teeth, supporting enamel strength and creating a barrier against bacteria, plaque, and decay. Mouthwashes can also seep into hard-to-reach areas that might be missed while brushing and flossing, ensuring that your mouth is as clean as possible before bed.
5. Flossing correctly
Even if you’re flossing every day, there’s a good chance that you aren’t doing it correctly. To get the best results while flossing, you should:
- Floss before you brush to loosen plaque and free any food debris
- Make sure to cut off enough floss; you should be using anywhere between 12–18 inches each time
- Use gentle, slow, circular motions to avoid damaging your gums
- Curve the floss into a C shape along your gum line to remove hidden bacteria and plaque
Establishing a comprehensive oral healthcare routine does take some extra effort, but the end result is more than worthwhile—a healthy, beautiful smile that you can be proud of for years to come. Use these tips to take your oral health routine to the next level and turn your next dentist visit into a breeze!
Want to learn more about how you can boost your at-home oral health routine? Get in touch with Caputo Dental today!