Protect your smile this summer.
Summertime is fun-time, but just because you are on holiday, it doesn’t mean the bacteria and germs in your mouth are too. Lie-ins and late nights, along with too many sugary snacks and sodas and a break in your routine, spell disaster for healthy teeth and gums. It doesn’t really matter how healthy your habits were the other 9 months of the year!
The team at Millennium Dental in Plano knows that it isn’t always easy keeping up your oral healthcare routine when there are so many other things to do. However, they also know that if you maintain a few healthy habits during the summer, you will be able to avoid dental issues down the line.
Here are Dr. Harrison’s 10 healthy habits that will guarantee a happy summer.
1. Remember to brush your teeth twice a day.
Going to bed later than usual or rushing in the mornings could mean you forget to brush your teeth. We get it, you don’t want to miss out on the fun. But not brushing in the morning and before you go to bed is one of the quickest ways for germs and plaque to accumulate, causing tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease. This is one of those healthy habits that should be as ingrained in family life as eating.
2. Remember to brush your teeth properly.
When it comes to your teeth, brushing them the wrong way is as bad as not brushing them at all. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking if they brush twice as hard, they will remove twice as much plaque. This definitely isn’t the case. Gently brushing for two minutes in a circular motion will effectively remove plaque, and prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
3. Don’t forget about your tongue.
Not many people pay attention to their tongue when they think about oral health care. While brushing your teeth and rinsing with mouthwash might remove the bacteria from your teeth and gums, the germs that build up on your tongue aren’t as easy to get rid of. According to Dr. Harrison, because our tongues aren’t smooth, there are lots of places for bacteria and germs to hide. These germs lead to bad breath, tooth damage, and even gum disease.
4. Check the ingredients in your toothpaste.
Rather than looking for different flavored toothpaste or ones with whitening agents, make sure you use one that contains fluoride. It may have gotten a bit of a bad reputation over the years, but fluoride is an essential ingredient that builds healthy teeth and gums. It works by slowing the breakdown of enamel, while at the same time speeding up the remineralization process, giving your body the time it needs to replenish your teeth’s enamel.
5. Flossing is as important as brushing.
Often people think a toothpick and floss both work in the same way, getting those annoying little bits of green veg out from between your teeth. But flossing does so much more. It reduces plaque buildup and inflammation while also stimulating the gums. A good habit is to floss at least once a day, preferably before going to bed at night. Flossing isn’t always easy for younger children and older people, but you can ask your dentist to recommend a ready-to-use flosser, for example.
6. Use an antibacterial mouthwash.
Using an antibacterial mouthwash isn’t only a convenient way to keep your breath fresh, it also gets rid of food particles around the gums and in between your teeth, remineralizes your teeth, and reduces the acid build up in your mouth. Just make sure you are using the right one. Store bought mouthwashes often do little more than fight bad breath, whereas the ones recommended by your dentist will also get rid of cavity-causing bacteria and strengthen your teeth.
7. Keep your diet healthy.
Summertime often means more sugary snacks and treats, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. One of the best ways to maintain a healthy mouth over the holidays is to stick to crunchy fruit and vegetables. Not only are these good for you, but they also help get rid of plaque. While you’re at it, remember to limit sugar-loaded sodas and avoid foods that are too acidic. These, along with coffee and tea, can damage the enamel on your teeth.
8. Drink lots of water.
There is no getting away from it, water is really good for your overall health, including your dental health. A glass of water after a meal will wash away any bacteria and also get rid of the sugar or acid in your mouth.
9. Stop using tobacco products.
Cigarettes are a bad idea, full stop. But so are pipes, cigars, and e-cigarettes. Not only are you at risk of developing mouth cancer, but even e-cigarettes can cause tooth decay and gum disease because they use sugar-based sweeteners. For healthy teeth and gums, this is one habit we suggest you kick.
10. Don’t take a break from your regular dental checkups.
You might be on holiday, but the team at Millennium Dental isn’t. Dr. Harrison specializes in preventative and restorative dentistry, as well as routine checkups and teeth cleaning. Give them a call or book an appointment online and make sure your family’s summer is stress-free, carefree, and more importantly, toothache free.