If you need advice on how to amp up your oral care routine, no one will give you better tips than your dental hygienist. They’ve seen countless sets of teeth and know what will make their patient’s time in the office as quick and pain-free as possible. Plus, their schooling has trained them in the art of tooth cleaning and oral hygiene, so it’s safe to say they know what they’re talking about!
We had a chat with our very own hygienists to find out what they recommend for keeping your pearly whites fresh and clean. Here’s what they had to say…
5 Top Tips from Our Dental Hygienists
- Eat Crunchy Fruits & Veggies and Drink Lots of Water: Apples, carrots, celery and more—your favorite crunchy fruits and veggies are just as great for your teeth as they are for the rest of your body. They act as a natural toothbrush by cleaning your teeth with their fibers, while also boosting your mouth’s saliva production by requiring vigorous chewing. Staying hydrated with water, too, is a great way to make sure your mouth doesn’t dry out so your saliva can do its job.
- Stay Away from Sugary Drinks: On the flip side, other beverages that are loaded with sugar—think soda, sweet tea, lemonade, fruit juices—are terrible for oral health. The sugars in these provide bacteria an ideal breeding ground where they can multiply and erode your enamel over time with the acids they produce. Stick to water instead.
- Brush Your Whole Mouth: Your teeth aren’t the only things that need cleaning! Your cheeks, tongue, gums and roof of your mouth all need a thorough cleansing every day too. Invest in a tongue scrapper to get rid of plaque and leftover food that lingers on your tongue. Use mouthwash to rinse away that same buildup from your cheeks and roof of your mouth. And of course, brush twice a day to keep your teeth and gums squeaky clean and smelling fresh!
- Remember to Floss: There’s no way to cheat yourself out of it—flossing is mandatory! The plaque that builds up between your teeth and gums can’t be removed by brushing or mouthwashing alone. If you neglect this area, pockets will start to form between your gums that trap bacteria and plaque, leading to a condition called periodontitis, or more commonly, gum disease. It can be reversed if caught early, but if left to fester, you could lose your teeth. Better just to floss daily instead!
- Re-mineralize Your Teeth: As you eat and drink throughout the day, important minerals in your teeth are lost. Fluoride is one of them. To counter this, it’s a good idea to leave a little bit of fluoride-fortified toothpaste in your mouth at the end of the day so your teeth can reabsorb what they need. Or try rinsing with fluorinated mouthwash for the same re-mineralizing effect. Just make sure you don’t eat or drink anything for 30 minutes afterwards.
These excellent tips and techniques wouldn’t be complete without a reminder to visit your dentist every 6 months. Not only will you get a professional cleaning, exam and x-ray, but you may also get more helpful oral care advice from your hygienist!