With Thanksgiving coming up, there are plenty of reasons to think about preserving your oral health to continue to enjoy a healthy smile. After all, eating well can be tough this time of year, so it’s essential that your teeth are in their best condition going into the holiday season.
That’s why thinking about your teeth between meals is the key to good oral health.
A holistic approach to oral health care
When it comes to caring for your teeth, one major habit probably comes to mind first:
Brushing your teeth every day. As we all know, this step is key. Quality, consistent tooth brushing is still one of the most effective ways to promote good oral health and prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and many other unpleasant or dangerous conditions.
However, there’s more to maintaining good oral health than just remembering to brush your teeth. For example:
Brushing the right way
Just making a habit of running a toothbrush around your mouth for a few seconds before bed misses the full benefit of the action. In fact, poor quality brushing can sometimes have a detrimental impact on your teeth and gums.
The most effective way to brush is to use a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste, and spend at least two minutes methodically scrubbing every exposed surface of your teeth - even where it’s tough to reach.
Finally, this should be done at least twice a day - in the morning and at night - but can also be beneficial between meals.
Fully cleaning teeth through flossing
While a lot of people seem to view flossing as a necessary evil when a particularly stubborn bit of food gets lodged between your teeth, it’s actually just as important as regular brushing to your overall oral health.
The reason is that flossing accomplishes the same purpose of brushing, which is to remove food particles and bacteria. But, it does so on the portions of the teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach: those side surfaces that are positioned very close together.
Consider this: if you brush regularly and deliberately, but never floss, you’re essentially cleaning only a percentage of your teeth and leaving the rest to suffer.
Try an antibacterial rinse for added cleansing
"Consider this: if you brush regularly and deliberately, but never floss, you’re essentially cleaning only a percentage of your teeth and leaving the rest to suffer."
It’s not always practical to spend the time it takes to effectively brush and floss after every meal. But one thing you can do that will go a long way toward maintaining good oral health is to make a habit of rinsing with antibacterial mouthwash.
Quality mouthwash, preferably without added sugar, can help clean your mouth, your teeth, and your gums, as well as freshen your breath.
Your tongue can use attention too
Many people don’t realize that their tongue hosts more bacteria than any other part of the mouth, contributing to bad breath, tooth decay, and many other oral problems.
Taking the time to brush your tongue while you’re brushing your teeth can be beneficial, but an even more effective option is to use a quality tongue scraper at least once a day. These inexpensive appliances can remove tremendous amounts of harmful bacteria in just a few seconds.
Visit your dentist regularly
This final piece of a holistic oral health plan is just as well known as daily brushing, but the hectic quality of modern life combined with the high cost of dental care can keep it from its deserved spot in our annual calendars.
You should visit your dentist for a thorough professional cleaning and examination at least once every six months. Doing so allows the hygienist to remove any existing tartar (the hardened version of bacterial plaque) that all your brushing, flossing, rinsing, and scraping missed. And, it allows the hygienist and dentist the opportunity to visually examine your teeth and gums for any signs of weakness, decay, infection, or other issues that can be early warning signs of serious conditions.
Once a year, the dentist will also likely want to take a new set of X-rays to examine the internal strength of your teeth and the condition of the surrounding jaw bones.
Applying these tips as a complete, holistic system can significantly help improve your chances of maintaining good oral health.
And, without a doubt, good oral health - which is what provides you with the kind of strong, healthy teeth you need to enjoy your favorite Thanksgiving meals - is something you can truly be thankful for this season.
Are you ready to find out how you can save on dental care at your next appointment? Learn how a dental discount program helps you save 20%-50% on dental services and see how dental discounts can help you treat these common oral issues.