You do not need a bathroom full of expensive gadgets or lots of time to maintain good oral health. A simple, consistent home hygiene routine is all you need to supplement your regular dental office exams and cleanings.
Here are my professional home care tips that will keep you smiling in between your dentist visits.
Brushing intentionally for at least two minutes, twice a day, should be your home care routine’s foundation. It’s like carefully wiping down a kitchen counter after making a meal. Without some extra effort, you will leave behind traces of food and buildup, just like mindless brushing.
I recommend spending 30 seconds on each quadrant of your mouth, applying medium pressure in a circular motion on all sides of your teeth and gums, not just the biting surfaces.
With so many options to choose from, finding the right toothbrush and toothpaste can be overwhelming. I recommend a toothbrush with medium crisscross bristles to clean in between your teeth, and a toothpaste with fluoride.
Because everyone has different needs, ask your dental hygienist for a recommendation for your mouth. Just like you would consult your hairstylist for the right products for your specific hair style and type, your hygienist knows what is best for you.
Electric toothbrushes are not necessary, but they can clean teeth more thoroughly by replicating motions you may miss with your manual brush. Some can clean more evenly by pulsating every 30 seconds, notifying you to move quadrants and after two minutes of completed brushing.
Whichever type of toothbrush you choose, make sure to replace the brush every six months, because bacteria can live on it and the bristles wear out. Remember to replace your toothbrush after you’re sick so you don’t reintroduce the germs into your body.
Flossing is not the most popular daily task, but it is an important part of your routine. Similar to toothbrush and toothpaste, there are many different floss types. For example, expandable floss can help clean in between teeth with larger gaps and floss picks can be helpful for harder-to-reach areas.
Remember to use slack with traditional floss so that you can use new parts of the floss between different teeth.
To step up your flossing game, invest in an electric water flosser. Water flossers flush water between teeth and are especially helpful if you have bridges, dental implants, or dexterity issues, which make it harder to reach all places in your mouth.
Keeping mouthwashes and salivary stimulants in your home care kit are also helpful and the types depend on your specific needs. I like to use a mouthwash in the morning, 30 minutes after I brush and floss so that I don’t wash off the fluoride from my toothpaste.
Xylitol products, such as xylitol mints, are great for stimulating salivary flow if you have a dry mouth. Talk to your hygienist, who knows your needs and can suggest products that are right for you.
You are all set for a successful home care routine. Remember that everyone has different oral health goals so be sure to ask your hygienist and dental team for help in creating a tailored routine just for you.
Sydney Caskey, DDS is a dentist in practice with ROC Dental Group in Bluffton.