Happy New Year! To start off the year, I’d like to highlight a few tips to improve your smile.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
Many people forget to brush twice a day, but it’s very important to do so! Here’s why:
- Bacteria like to grow in dark and wet areas such as your mouth. Brushing your teeth in the morning gets rid of the bacteria that accumulated overnight.
- It’s important to brush at nighttime to protect against plaque buildup on the outer layer of the teeth, which can lead to cavities.
- Brushing your teeth also stimulates your gums. This keeps them healthy and can help prevent gum disease.
Drink plenty of water.
- Water is the healthiest beverage for your teeth and your body overall.
- Water helps discourage tooth decay due to its neutral pH (tooth decay happens at acidic pH levels).
- Water washes away leftover food in between your teeth.
- Fluoride in tap water can help prevent tooth decay.
Choose whitening products carefully.
- There are many different ways to whiten your teeth. Some over-the-counter whitening products can cause excessive sensitivity or burning of the gums if used incorrectly.
- At Bluejay Family Dentistry, we offer whitening trays that are custom fit to your teeth, so there is less likelihood of irritating the gums when used.
- If you’re interested in seeing a big difference in just one day, in-office whitening is also a great choice.
- Whichever whitening route you take, most people experience sensitivity when whitening. I recommend to start using a sensitivity toothpaste two weeks BEFORE whitening to decrease the chances of tooth sensitivity.
- Smoking causes staining on your teeth. The staining starts superficially, but will get deeper into the enamel after years of smoking. This may be very hard to remove with whitening products.
- Smoking also damages the gums and can cause periodontitis (gum disease). Once you have gum disease, it’s hard to reverse it if you continue to smoke.
Limit your consumption of coffee, tea, and wine.
- Coffee, tea, and wine are dark liquids that can cause staining of the enamel. They are also acidic beverages that contribute to weakening of the enamel.
- If you’re a regular coffee, tea or wine drinker, it is best to drink water afterwards to help avoid the dark liquid from sitting on your teeth and also neutralize the pH.
- Drinking through a straw can also help reduce the amount of staining.
See your hygienist at least twice a year.
- Having a routine cleaning every six months (unless your dental professional recommends a more frequent interval) helps promote good oral health.
- Irregular cleanings can lead to plaque and tarter buildup, tooth decay, and periodontal disease.
- Dental check-ups also include a very important oral cancer and soft tissue exam. Since many health conditions manifest themselves in the mouth, our team can make you aware of any issues so you can take the appropriate next step.
- Flossing removes plaque from under the gums and between the teeth. The bristles of a toothbrush are too large to reach these areas.
- Without flossing, plaque and food debris can collect under the gums and cause them to become inflamed. This can lead to periodontal disease and loss of bone support for your teeth.
Tip: If you floss and your gums bleed, that means you have gingivitis (inflammation of the gums). But, don’t let that scare you! If you continue to floss every day, the bleeding will lessen and stop within 3-4 weeks. This is a sign that your overall gum health is improving.
Consider using an electronic tooth brush.
- Electronic toothbrushes are clinically proven to remove plaque and food debris better than manual toothbrushes.
- Electronic toothbrush bodies are built to last for years but it is still recommended to change the head of the toothbrush every 3-4 months.
- It’s important to always use a soft-bristled toothbrush to prevent abrasion to your teeth and recession of the gums.
Did you know? Many electronic toothbrushes now feature modes for whitening and sensitive teeth.