Good oral hygiene means practicing good habits on a daily basis. These habits help keep teeth and gums fresh and free of plaque – a sticky film of bacteria that builds up on teeth. This plaque then hardens into tartar, a substance that can only be removed by a dental professional. Here are a few oral hygiene practices that can improve your oral health:
- Brushing and flossing
Brushing and flossing are two of the most important aspects of oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth removes plaque, the sticky substance that naturally forms on your teeth. Plaque can cause cavities and gum disease. Brushing your teeth is the simplest and most effective way to eliminate dental plaque and food particles from your teeth.
A toothbrush can’t typically reach 100 percent of the surface of your teeth. That means the toothbrush can’t reach into a tight space or between teeth to pull food and plaque out of the gums. This is where flossing comes in. So, it is important to brush and floss every day to keep your smile healthy.
- Use fluoride toothpaste
Using the right toothpaste can help you maintain your oral health. Your dentist may recommend using fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride helps remineralize your teeth and can aid in preventing tooth decay. On the label, look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance. The ADA Seal lets you know that the dental product has met the ADA’s criteria for effectiveness and safety.
- Use mouthwash
Brushing your teeth twice each day and flossing once each day will keep your teeth clean in between professional cleanings. However, these habits alone are not always enough. You should also use an antiseptic mouthwash to kill bacteria and keep your mouth fresh. Mouthwashes are especially effective after you eat because they clear away food and neutralize acids left behind.
- Regular dental visits
Regular dental visits are important to maintaining your oral health. Your dentist will examine your teeth, gums, and mouth, looking for abnormalities in the soft tissues. They will also perform an oral cancer screening, which can save your life. In addition, the dentist will examine your restorations to ensure they are in good condition and functioning properly.
During your dental visits, your hygienist will also remove plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth to make your smile healthy and bright.
- Oral cancer screenings
According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, approximately 50,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed each year. Early diagnosis is the key to successful treatment, and oral cancer screenings are key. During an oral cancer screening, the dentist will carefully check the face, neck, lips, and mouth for signs of disease.
If the dentist finds any abnormalities, the dentist will refer you to a dental professional who specializes in oral cancer treatment. Your dentist may also recommend an oral cancer screening the next time you come in for a checkup.
- Mouth guards
Mouth guards are one of the most useful ways to protect your teeth. If you play contact sports or if you suffer from bruxism, then wearing a mouth guard is the best way to prevent damage.
- Quit smoking
Smoking affects your oral and overall health. Smoking tobacco can lead to oral cancer, gum disease, and tooth loss. It also increases your risk for heart disease, stroke, and other health conditions. Quitting smoking isn’t easy, but you’ll greatly improve your oral and overall health by quitting. It’s never too late to quit, so talk to your dentist about the best ways to kick the habit.
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Angela An, D.D.S. General Dentistry, to learn more about maintaining good oral health. We are located at 490 Post St #1020, San Francisco, CA 94102. Contact us at (415) 291-8668 or visit our website for more information.