Good oral health habits do more than keep your smile in shape – they help you avoid many dental emergencies and even some treatment. And now, with another wave of health concerns on the rise, making sure you’re staying on top of your preventative care game is key. Some of these tips are familiar, but we’ve brought you a few extra aimed at keeping you extra safe during the current health crisis.
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds before and after brushing and flossing.
- Hand-washing is especially important right now, and doing so limits the bacteria you’re introducing to not only your mouth but your toothbrush.
- Social distance your oral health supplies from other members of your household.
- If you do have to share a bathroom, keep your toothbrushes separate, as well as your toothpaste and floss if you are able.
- If you have to share toothpaste, use a Q-tip or piece of wax paper to apply a pea-sized amount to your bristles so you can avoid touching the tip of the toothpaste tube to your brush.
- Never share your toothbrush. While this isn’t such a problem for adults, it’s important to keep an eye on the younger members of your household to make sure there aren’t any mix-ups that can lead to cross-contamination.
- Brush your teeth twice a day, for two minutes each time.
- Brushing at bedtime is especially important so you aren’t going to sleep with a day’s worth of plaque and bacteria.
- Clean your toothbrush after use.
- Start by soaking your bristles for 30 seconds in an antibacterial mouthwash, or in water with a teaspoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide. After the soak, give the handle a quick clean with a household safe wipe.
- Replace your toothbrush every three to four months or sooner if the bristles are worn or frayed.
- The ADA only recommends soft-bristled toothbrushes, as anything else has the potential to damage your teeth over time.
- Floss once daily, especially those teeth in hard-to-reach places.
- Flossing helps take care of all the places you can’t clean with a toothbrush alone.
- Rinse with an alcohol-free mouthwash up to twice a day for an extra layer of protection when it comes to the health of your gums and making sure you haven’t missed anything while brushing and flossing.
- Eat a well-balanced and nutritious diet.
- If you do indulge in sugary or sticky treats, it’s not a bad idea to brush after, or at the least, rinse your mouth out with water.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and rinse sugars and food particles out of your mouth.
- Visit your dentist and dental hygienist twice a year for preventative cleanings and exams to make sure you’re staying on top of any potential oral health concerns.
- Staying active right now is great, but make sure you’re doing so safely.
- If you participate in any contact sports, a mouth guard is a smart investment and is available at a number of different price points. Some protection is better than none, so do your smile a favor and play it safe.
- Be mindful of your stress levels.
- There are a lot of ways stress can affect your oral health, here’s a list of the most common ways stress and oral health are linked.
At the end of the day, making smart, conscious decisions to protect your oral health will give you a big step up when it comes to staying in good overall health. If you do experience a dental emergency or have concerns, our doors are open. We will continue to serve our patients’ full-service general dentistry and orthodontic needs – including preventative appointments like cleanings and exams – and welcome you at any of our offices to get your oral health on the right track.
If you are coming in for an appointment, we recommend you review our current COVID-19 guidelines. There, you can see what steps we’re taking to keeping our staff and patients safe, as well as what to expect. Also, we strongly recommend you wear a mask to your upcoming appointments, except during treatment of course.