Good oral health is so much more than just brushing twice a day.
Keeping your teeth and gums in tip-top shape takes about five minutes a day and can positively impact your overall health. Here are simple practices to consider for optimum oral care.
1. Care for your gums
The telltale feature of a bright, healthy smile: pretty pink gums. Floss to clean under the gum line as well as where the teeth touch, then brush thoroughly but gently. Clean the entire surface area of each tooth and direct toothbrush bristles to where the root meets the gum. Gums that visibly recede may be a result of brushing too hard, so gentleness is key.
2. Revise your routine
While many of us are diligent about brushing our teeth twice a day, we tend to consider flossing a bonus round. Don't skip it, though. The bacteria under your gums and between your teeth can cause cavities, infect the gums and lead to more serious health issues. "Both brushing and flossing are important not only for good dental health, but for good overall health," says Dr. Larry Levin, president of the Canadian Dental Association.
3. Whiten up
Ask your dentist about a professional whitening treatment where the process is supervised and the results are bright. Also, at-home treatments have come a long way, such as Crest 3D White Whitestrips With Light, which comes with a blue light that quickens and prolongs the effects of the whitening agent.
4. Stay on top of your dental appointments
There's no reason to dread visiting the dentist, especially if you go for regular cleanings and checkups and take care of your teeth between visits. In general, most adults and children should see the dentist regularly, and depending on their unique needs, the interval may vary between every six months and once a year, but if your dentist says you're prone to gum disease or tooth decay, you may need to go more often. As for X-rays, most dentists recommend having them taken to diagnose problems; your dentist will discuss how often is best for you.
5. Consider corrective techniques
"Someone with great teeth not only looks healthier but younger, too," says Dr. Levin. It's never too late to fix a crooked smile, and wire braces aren't the only option. If that's your concern, there are many orthodontic techniques to improve both the appearance of teeth, as well as a person's bite. "Corrective techniques such as orthodontics, crowns and veneers can also provide a boost in self-confidence," he adds.