What is oral health and why is it important?

A person’s oral health can suggest a lot about their overall health. Food and drink may stain the surface of the teeth, but bad oral hygiene can result in an array of more serious underlying health concerns. These conditions often lead to more dentist visits, and can often lead to doctor visits too.

Some common oral health conditions related to poor brushing and flossing habits include gum disease, cavities, mouth sores and bad breath. Scientists have also found a relationship between oral health and heart disease, as well as, oral health and dementia.

Reduce the risk of developing dangerous health conditions with a proper oral hygiene routine and good oral health care habits. Here are 5 of our favorite brushing and flossing habits, just in time for the new year.

5 Oral Health Care Resolutions for 2020

Whether you have a New Year’s resolution or not, the beginning of a new year — or decade in this case — is always a good time to reconsider lifestyle choices and habits. Be sure to add the following oral health care tips to your routine this year, if you aren’t doing so already.

Replace your toothbrush regularly

If you haven’t replaced your toothbrush since last year, now is the time to do it. Replacing your toothbrush regularly makes it easier to maintain plaque buildup, ultimately preventing cavities.

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends replacing your toothbrush whenever the bristles are visibly matted or frayed, which usually happens around three to four months. It is also recommended to let your brushes dry upright, without a brush cap, to allow any bacteria on the brush to die between uses.

Brush twice a day, every day

Brushing regularly is the most vital step in every dental hygiene routine. By brushing twice daily for two-minute intervals you reduce the risk of cavities, gingival recession, periodontitis and more.

Two minutes per toothbrushing session amounts to 30 seconds for each quadrant in your mouth; the left and right side, upper and lower jaw. Spend adequate time with each tooth and brush the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces for best results.

Brushing is about cleaning and maintaining each tooth between dentist visits for optimal oral hygiene. The less you take care of your teeth, the more likely problems will arise at the dentist. When you brush your teeth twice daily for two minutes, you are taking preventative measures for your wallet as much as you are taking care of your dental hygiene.

Always clean between your teeth

While it may not be first on our list, cleaning between your teeth should always occur before you brush your teeth for maximum efficiency. When you clean between your teeth, you allow your toothbrush to reach further into the cracks to remove plaque buildup and keep your mouth healthy.

When people hear “clean between your teeth” they normally think of flossing, but that’s not the only effective method. Other options include mechanical flossing, interdental brushes, woodsticks or oral irrigators. Find an option that works best for you and clean between your teeth every day.

Clean your tongue

Cleaning your tongue may seem a little odd if you haven’t done it before, but your tongue and body are connected in more ways than taste. In fact, changes from white, red, and even black discoloration or a burning sensation on the tongue can give us insight into our oral and overall health.

There are different methods you can use to clean your tongue but always brush your tongue with your toothbrush while brushing. Additionally, tongue scrapers have been shown to be the most effective tongue cleaning technique and other methods like mouthwash are commonly used too.

Cleaning your tongue will be the easiest way to reduce the number of bad bacteria living inside your mouth. This helps prevent cavities and mouth diseases, as well as reducing bad breath.

Avoid sugary drinks and foods

Sugary foods and drinks are delicious and when a craving hits, it can be hard to resist the urge. However, resist you must, as sugar is one of the biggest contributors to tooth decay.

When we refer to sugar, we aren’t just referring to the common household table sugar. We are also referring to all of the fermentable carbohydrates such as highly refined flour. These sugars feed bacteria that speed up the process of cavity creation.

To reduce the speed of this process, we recommend eating natural foods and avoiding processed snacks or meals. This is an easy way to reduce your sugar intake to keep your mouth happy and cavity-free.

This year, make your resolutions last. Replace your toothbrush often, clean your tongue and between your teeth, avoid sugary foods and drinks, and most importantly, be consistent with your routine. If you do your best and still end up with a cavity, reach out to one of our offices for consultation and treatment.

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