- April 21, 2016
Brushing your teeth is likely such an ingrained part of your daily routine that you barely even think about it. Most of us just brush (and hopefully floss) automatically, with little thought to how we’re doing it, how long we do it for, or if we’re even doing it at the right time of day.
It’s easy to become complacent in habits as typical as routine oral hygiene, and that’s what we want to talk about today. Our Shorewood dental team knows all about maximizing your oral care routine – some of these tips might even surprise you!
Better Brushing: It’s A Bargain!
When do you brush your teeth? How long? What kind of brush do you have? We could ask questions like this for a long time, but that’s just discouraging. We’re going to show you how to get the most out of your brushing habit with just a few simple tweaks.
For starters, pay careful attention to when you brush, both in the morning and evening. It’s a common assumption that we brush to get food particles out of our mouths, which simply isn’t true. Brushing may help accomplish that goal, but waiting until after you eat to brush is actually harmful for a couple different reasons.
First, when you eat any food that contains sugars (and that includes salty, starchy foods made from refined flour) the bacteria in your mouth goes crazy. It feasts on the sugar in those foods and creates acids that irritate your gums and erode your teeth, causing cavities. You should actually be brushing before you eat so that you have a clean mouth going into your meal. This can greatly reduce the risks to your teeth!
Second, brushing after you eat is usually done fairly soon after the meal. The acid attack on your teeth actually lasts around a half hour, and during that time your enamel is softer and more brittle. If you brush your teeth during that half hour you’ll likely end up doing more harm to your teeth.
In short, you should always be brushing your teeth before you eat, so that means first thing in the morning. In the evening you should wait until bedtime to brush – just make sure you haven’t eaten anything within 30 minutes of getting ready!
Flossing: It’s Fundamental!
Using dental floss isn’t exactly a fun pastime. Most of us hate it, and only a few of us really do it. Sales numbers for dental floss compared to patient responses indicates that a lot of us like about it too! LIke it or not, flossing is one of the most fundamental parts of daily oral care.
When you brush your teeth you remove excess plaque from the surface of your teeth, but you’re not removing the stuff from between them. You know how gross your mouth feels after waking up in the morning or not brushing all day – do you want to leave the same stuff causing that feeling between your teeth? You might not be able to smell it, feel it, or see it but it’s still doing damage to your teeth!
It takes dental bacteria about 24 hours to start irritating your gums, which is the first stage of developing gum disease. Those spaces between your teeth are among the most vulnerable parts of your mouth, which is exactly why you need to floss every night.
Battling Bad Breath During Business Hours
No matter the job you do you’re probably interacting with people at some point. Lunchtime is one of those make or break points of the day that can absolutely ruin an afternoon meeting because of bad breath!
Plenty of people bring a brush with them to work, but now you know that brushing after a meal is dangerous what should you do? We recommend rinsing with mouthwash, water, or just chewing some good sugar-free gum.
The best sugar substitute in gums today is xylitol. Made from a form of sugar alcohol, this amazingly sweet sugar alternative is actually good at protecting your teeth! Chewing it coats your teeth in a bacteria-resistant layer that fights off plaque and their acids. Chewing some minty fresh xylitol gum can freshen breath, get rid of bacteria, and clear out food particles that contribute to bad breath. We highly recommend it!
Taking Good Care Of Your Teeth Can Be Easy
There’s no reason to get stuck in a rut of bad oral care habits when these simple tweaks can make such a difference. There’s no extra time or effort needed to make these reforms, so go to it and watch your mouth prosper! Don’t forget to schedule routine dental cleanings too – there are spots in your mouth you won’t be able to reach no matter what you do!
Ensure your teeth and gums are healthy with a full exam and cleaning at our Shorewood office. Give us a call today at 815-725-5991 or request an appointment online. We look forward to seeing you soon!