Your dentist is your first line of defense against cavities, gum disease and even sensitive teeth but did you know there are other, equally important ways to be “on guard” when it comes to your oral health care? Mouthguards, diet, managing stress and regular maintenance are just a few of the ways you can care for your teeth, mouth and gums, keeping them safe from decline and decay. Today, we’re offering a gentle reminder of all the ways YOU can be on guard when it comes to your oral health.
- Being “on guard” is not an original strategy. But it ’s about some original, old fashioned strategies for keeping your mouth healthy. However, they are strategies many of us seem to forget about – at least occasionally. The thing is, when it comes to oral health, you always have to be on guard.
- Let’s start with the premise that your dentist actually ISN’T your first line of defense – YOU are! Oral health begins at home. Regular brushing and flossing – using a medium bristled toothbrush (not too hard and not too soft) is what you must do every, single, day of your life and at a minimum 2x per day. Night time brushing in particular is important to remove any sticky residue that might sit on your teeth and literally chip away at your dental health all night long! Give your teeth a fighting chance for goodness sake!
- We would be remiss if we didn’t offer some tips on what to consider when providing these dental hygiene reminders. The style of toothbrush we’ve already talked about but product usage is important too. Look for toothpaste with fluoride and avoid the temptation to get caught up in the latest fad such as brushing with charcoal! We’ve talked about this before. Stick with the “tried and true” methods of oral health routines that have proven themselves over time.
- For children under the age of three, ask your dentist for the best advice and always make sure they aren’t using too much! About the size of a green pea is appropriate.
- Replace your toothbrush frequently. Sure, we have talked about this before as well but it bears repeating and it’s not just because we like “new and pretty things.” Your toothbrush deals with plaque, bacteria and food debris AND it does all of this while wet! In other words, its potential for decay is significant. Make sure your toothbrush is always rinsed after each use, stored upright and away from the heads of other toothbrushes and allowed to air dry between use. Replacing your toothbrush about once every three months is considered ideal.
- On Guard also means using a mouthguard if you play any kind of sports! Mouthguards come in all shapes and sizes and can be purchased over the counter or custom fit by your oral health care provider. While custom is best – and the Brinkley team at our family friendly office in Brampton offers this service – using any mouthguard is better than no mouthguard at all. Why go to all the trouble of preserving the health of your teeth if you are not also protecting them from accident or injury? Mouthguards matter.
- Dental hygienists. We would also be remiss if we did not talk about the role of your dental hygienist in protecting your teeth, mouth and gums. If frontline defense starts with you, it’s followed closely by your hygienist and supported by your dentist. A hygienist provides regular oral health care such as teeth cleaning, flouride treatments and can help your little ones learn how to brush teeth properly – to name just a few of the things they can do for you.
- Finally – when it’s time to visit the dentist, whether it is to fit a mouthguard, fix a cavity or undergo restorative treatments, your dentist is the central member of the team that works together to support and care for your oral health.
- Stay tuned for our next blog on how stress, diet and mental health also play a role in helping you remain “on guard” for your oral health!
When it comes to your teeth, mouth and gums, a good motto to live by is to always be “on guard.” Schedule regular visits with your dentist and dental hygienist team, practice your own regular oral health care at a minimum of two times a day and wear a mouthguard when you participate in sports. Replace your toothbrush regularly and follow the facts not fads when it comes to choosing products like toothpaste. Your mouth will thank you! Now, as we always do, we will leave you with this friendly reminder; “don’t forget to be a BFF with your mouth and brush that smile!”