Keeping your teeth healthy can seem like a complicated undertaking. In addition to brushing and flossing, you have mouthwash, oral irrigation devices, braces, nightguards, and dozens of other things to consider. But for cavity prevention, keeping your oral care as easy as possible is important so you don't fall out of the habit during stressful times.
Here are a few easy oral health habits you can add to your basic brushing and flossing regimen with a minimum of effort.
1. Rinse Your Mouth After Eating
The more food debris you leave in your mouth after a meal, the more your mouth's bad bacteria have to feast on and the more bacteria can produce to erode your enamel. This is why brushing your teeth regularly to remove food debris and break up the bacterial colonies can help save your teeth.
However, brushing after every meal is impractical for many people. Simply rinsing your mouth thoroughly with water or some other non-acidic, non-sugary liquid (such as green tea or mouthwash) can help dislodge food particles. This is especially important after eating sugary or acidic meals or snacks or after an acidic beverage such as a soda.
2. Add Mouthwash to Cleaning Routine
Even if you don't carry mouthwash around with you to rinse after eating, a bottle in your bathroom cabinet can still be useful. Using mouthwash after brushing can kill off some of the noxious bacteria that were dislodged by your toothbrush but are still floating around in your mouth. This can not only help protect your enamel but also help you avoid bad breath.
Conventional mouthwashes use antibacterial substances, or you can make your own DIY mouthwash that uses a few drops of essential oil to kill bacteria. If you decide to add a conventional mouthwash to your routine, look for one that inhibits plaque formation for maximum tooth protective effects.
3. Spot-Check Teeth After Cleaning
Because you've been brushing your teeth your whole life, you may brush on autopilot. Have you ever been curious about whether your autopilot setting is actually cleaning all surfaces of your teeth equally? More likely, you're habitually missing small amounts of plaque along the gum line or on your molars, which are harder to reach effectively.
If you don't want to spot-check by scraping your fingernail over your teeth, you can easily obtain tablets of a plaque dye that lights up any spots your brushing and flossing missed. You don't need to make this an everyday habit. Just try it once a week for a while and then periodically whenever you get curious about how well your cleaning regimen works.
4. Chew Xylitol Gum
If you chew gum regularly, congratulations! This habit is already good for your teeth (as long as it's sugar-free gum) because the action helps distribute fresh saliva to tooth surfaces and wash away old food debris. However, if you want to take the health benefits up a notch, consider a gum formulation that can do your teeth even more good.
Gum that contains xylitol can help reduce the amount of bad bacteria in your mouth. This type of gum may even help keep bacteria from sticking to your tooth surfaces to form colonies.
These four habits are easy, won't take an appreciable amount of time out of your day, and can often noticeably improve oral health if kept up long-term. Just remember, these quick habits aren't a substitute for brushing, flossing, or keeping up with your professional dental cleanings.
Home care and a tooth-friendly lifestyle are a big part of oral health, but finding a good dentist is a big part of the picture as well. Eaton Dental can provide the expert care you and your family need to keep your teeth in great shape for decades to come. Get in touch with us today to schedule your next appointment.