Don’t Forget Oral Hygiene During Summer
One of the main services we provide at Spokane Dental is preventative care. This means the routine services that help keep your teeth healthy such as exams and cleaning, fluoride, and sealants. But preventative dentistry isn’t just for when you make a trip to your dentist’s office, it’s important to practice preventative care on your own with an at home oral hygiene routine. Your oral health needs constant maintenance and is an important part of your overall health! We know summertime brings on a carefree spirit and cold sugary treats, which are great, but we thought we’d put together a list of ways you can still make your oral hygiene a priority this summer (and yes that means making sure you brush after that late night ice cream run!).
Don’t underestimate the importance of hydration!
It’s critical to keep hydrated on those hot summer days, but don’t forget how important drinking water and staying hydrated is when thinking about oral health and your overall oral hygiene! Think of the sugar remaining on the surface of your teeth after enjoying an ice-cold popsicle in all its drippy glory. When you’re in between brushes, drinking water plays a cleansing role by rinsing away the sugar on your teeth as well as any food residue. Staying hydrated also helps fight dry mouth which is the condition of not having enough saliva to keep the mouth wet. Dry mouth increases the risk for tooth decay and fungal infections in the mouth because saliva helps keep harmful germs in check. Drinking plenty of water is a great way to avoid this. (National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 2023).
Brush your teeth two times a day.
Yes, twice! At night it’s important to brush in order to clean your teeth and rid your mouth of all the buildup and food residue lingering from the day, and it’s just as important to brush in the morning because mouth bacteria tend to multiply while you sleep, hence why many people wake up with ‘morning breath’! Not only is it important to make sure you’re brushing your teeth twice a day, but it’s just as important to ensure you’re brushing your teeth properly. No matter how old you are, or how well you think you brush, it’s never a bad idea to review the American Dental Association’s tips for brushing your teeth correctly:
- When brushing, your toothbrush should be at a 45-degree angle to the gums.
- Move your toothbrush back and forth in short gentle strokes.
- Brush all surfaces of the teeth; the outer, the inner, and the chewing surfaces.
- To reach the inside surfaces of your front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up and down strokes.
- Repeat these brushing habits twice daily for two minutes each time.
Use fluoride toothpaste.
Using a toothpaste that has fluoride in it will help to prevent cavities as well as strengthen the enamel of your teeth, helping them to become better resistant to tooth decay. If you’re unsure of which toothpastes do and don’t contain fluoride you can visit the website for the American Dental Association which has a list of ADA-accepted fluoride toothpastes.
Don’t forget to brush your tongue!
Though it often gets neglected, your tongue is just as important to thoroughly clean as your teeth. Brushing or even scraping your tongue each time you brush your teeth helps get rid of the bacteria that has made itself at home on the surface of your tongue throughout the day. If you don’t clean your tongue and the bacteria goes untouched, it will continue to build up and eventually lead to bad breath and tooth decay.
Floss (a fan favorite)!
When we say flossing is an important part of your oral hygiene routine, we don’t just mean telling us you floss regularly when at a dentist appointment, we mean actually doing it! Now listen, we know there aren’t too many people out there who truly love flossing but doing it once a day will help prevent gum disease and cavities. Flossing also helps to remove plaque which contains bacteria that feeds on leftover food or sugar in your mouth, and when that happens, it releases an acid that can eat away at the outer shell of your teeth and cause cavities. If plaque isn’t removed by brushing and flossing, it will eventually harden into a rough substance called tartar which collects along your gum line and can lead to gum disease. Once tartar forms, only your dentist can remove it (American Dental Association, 2023).
Finish with a rinse of mouthwash!
Using a therapeutic mouthwash after brushing and flossing helps control a variety of areas that affect your dental hygiene. You may think that this sounds like overkill, but mouthwash reaches everywhere in your mouth, including those tough to reach places brushing and even flossing can’t! When choosing a mouthwash, be sure to pick one that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance, as this shows the company has provided data demonstrating that a product is safe and effective for the purpose claimed (American Dental Association, 2023).
Replace your toothbrush regularly.
It is recommended that everyone replace their toothbrush every three to four months. This helps to ensure you’re using an effective and clean brush that doesn’t have tons of bacteria already built up on it! If you can’t remember when you last replaced your toothbrush, a good way to determine if it’s time for a new one is if the bristles are beginning to fray.
Visit your dentist twice a year.
As we mentioned earlier, at Spokane Dental, we’re pros at preventative dentistry! Maintaining regular dental appointments is critical in keeping good oral health and hygiene. Not only do we perform a professional and thorough cleaning when you pay us a visit, but we also conduct an exam that allows for early identification of any oral health issues such as gum disease. We suggest visiting your dentist twice a year to not only help maintain good oral hygiene, but to prevent you from having to deal with any serious dental health issues down the line.
Prioritize Your Dental Health at Spokane Dental
At Spokane Dental, we are committed to our patients’ oral health and providing a positive and comfortable experience for everyone who walks through our doors. We would love to see you for an initial exam and cleaning, so give us a call or schedule an appointment today to get started on the road to a happy, healthy smile!