In the war against decay, the home front plays an important role. That is not surprising, given the fact that the bests dentists focus on prevention, rather than exclusively on treating serious conditions that have been neglected over time. The good news about home care is that habits of optimal dental hygiene are easy to practice, and soon become a routine part of your day.
The most obvious is brushing, ideally twice a day. Proper brushing doesn’t require much pressure. In fact, excess pressure can sometimes prompt the gums to recede. Circular motions with a light touch are the recommended approach. Equally important is the regular use of dental floss, to reach food and particles between teeth and near the gum line. This function can also be performed effectively with a Waterpik or similar home device that uses tiny streams of water to clear debris from between teeth, while massaging the gums.
Toothpaste is another key element of your home arsenal. Almost all toothpaste today contains fluoride, which helps fortify your teeth against cavities. Toothpastes that include ingredients that help fight tartar buildup and gingivitis can protect your gums as you clean your teeth. Certain types of mouthwash can also provide this protective benefit.
Home care is not just about what you do, but also what you don’t do. Not smoking is one of the best lifestyle choices you can make for your teeth, as well as your overall health. Smoking yellows the teeth, deposits tar on surfaces and creates a toxic environment in the mouth. Your friends and family can also tell you about its effects on your breath.
Other things you should avoid to protect your teeth are hard foods that can cause chips or fractures, and constant snacking throughout the day. When you are continually eating between meals, there are more opportunities for bacteria to thrive. Avoiding foods that can stain your teeth can help maintain the brilliance of your smile. Red wine, coffee, tea and foods with dark pigments can darken your teeth when consumed in large quantities. Foods with high acid content, such as many sodas, can eat away protective enamel.
Other bad habits to avoid are clenching of the jaw and grinding of teeth. These repetitive behaviors can cause headaches, jaw pain and realignment of teeth. Serious cases can even lead to TMJ. Special mouth guards that are worn at night can help prevent the type of unconscious grinding and clenching that can occur as you sleep.
Finally, an essential part of your home care arsenal is your calendar. Use it to remind yourself to schedule your regular dental exam every six months. Visiting our office on a regular basis is the best way to catch emerging problems in their early stages. And the cleaning and polishing you receive helps keep a sparkle in your smile throughout the year.
If you would like to discuss your specific dental needs with a respected, trustworthy dentist in Charlotte, we invite you to book a consultation with Dr. Añonuevo. Please call or email Inspire Dentistry of the Carolinas today to make your appointment.