You’ve heard the statistics and seen them in action yourself. You know that having a good smile is the quickest way to confidence and positive relationships. In fact, it’s so vital to our self-esteem that the cosmetic dentistry industry is worth billions of dollars today, and it’s expected to continue to skyrocket.
But you don’t have to spend your funds on fancy products and dental work to keep your smile healthy. The most important thing you can do is create an oral health routine that repels bacteria and prevents tooth decay.
Sure, you already brush your teeth twice daily, just like your dentist and American Dental Association (ADA) suggest. However, if you truly want to avoid tooth decay, here are four other things you should add these five steps to your daily oral hygiene care.
1. Be Mindful of Hidden Teeth
When you’re brushing, it’s easy to get most of your teeth clean. Those back molars and premolars are harder to reach and are often the worst offenders. They have extra grooves and nooks and crannies that catch and hold food.
Be extra mindful of cleaning these back teeth, especially when you’ve eaten dairy or sweets. The sugar and bacteria will stay attached to the lines and pits. Unlike your other teeth, which are smooth, it’s harder to wash away the decay-causing organisms from the molars and premolars.
2. Skip the Snacking
Brushing your teeth in the morning removes the germs that built up overnight, causing dry mouth and bad breath. The end-of-the-day brushing habit cleans the food you’ve eaten throughout the day away, so it doesn’t sit there and attract bacteria all night.
But what about the snacking you did earlier? The sugar sweets and drinks don’t wash away instantly. The ingredients collect in your mouth until you brush your teeth and produce acid that wears away the enamel.
The fewer unhealthy snacks you put into your body, the less tooth decay you’re prone to have. If you must snack, pack a toothbrush and toothpaste, and clean your mouth after your mini-meals.
3. Learn Proper Brushing Techniques
When was the last time you paid attention to your brushing style? Chances are, it was when someone taught you how to brush as a toddler. You picked up the basics and kept it going from there.
According to the ADA, you should keep your brush at a 45-degree angle from the gums, then move in gently in short strokes across the teeth. Brush the inside and outside surfaces, then move on to the chewing surfaces.
Before you put your brush away, add another dot of toothpaste and brush the surface of your tongue.
4. Clean Your Oral Appliances
Oral appliances, such as retainers, mouth guards, and night guards, are breeding grounds for bacteria. You put them in your mouth, leave them there for hours, and then remove them when you’re done. But, if you’re like most of us, you don’t wash them before you use them again.
The thousands of microorganisms in your mouth collect on the appliances, then they may continue to breed, depending on how you store them and the kind of material your device is made from.
When you use high-quality products, like those made by professionals like JS Dental Lab, it’s easier to maintain them. They’re strong enough that you won’t bite through them. Since they’re custom-fit, it prevents extra bacteria from collecting in the openings between the guard and your teeth.
Follow the cleaning instructions provided when you purchased your appliance. Keep it clean, and you’ll reduce the tooth decay it can cause. Plus, who wants to put dirty, germ-infested items in their mouth daily?
5. Avoid Dry Mouth
Throughout the day, bacteria and plaque on your teeth’s smooth surfaces are washed away by your saliva. When you’re dehydrated, one of the first things impacted is the saliva production in your mouth.
A dry mouth, often called a cottonmouth, is a sure sign that you’re not producing enough saliva. But you don’t want your problem to get to that degree.
Stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking a few ounces of non-sugary liquids each hour. If you’re taking certain meds, smoke, or have medical conditions that increase dry mouth, you’ll need to boost your liquid intake.
Avoiding tooth decay is a constant battle. You’re never too old or young to deal with the effects of this issue. With these five simple tips, plus regular brushing, it’s possible to stave off bacteria and plaque and win the war against tooth decay.