10 healthy hygiene tips that prevent tooth loss

Rinse, swish and spit.

When you’re in the chair, it may feel like a lecture, but to the dental hygienist taking care of you, it’s essential education. Because even the most thorough professional cleaning every six months (or so) can’t replace the need for good oral self-care the other 363 days a year. At Vistasol Dental in Montebello we would like to give you a dental hygiene tip that can prevent tooth loss.

1. Fight bacteria.

Brushing, flossing and mouth rinses are all aimed at ridding your mouth of bacteria, whether it’s gum disease or it’s dental cavities, it’s disease caused by bacteria. Whatever barriers you face, like not having enough time to floss during the day, there’s never judging and always a workaround. 

2. Keep routine dental appointments.

Think about the mold in your bathroom in the shower, What three things happen in a shower that make that mold grow? It’s dark, it’s warm and it’s moist. With your mouth, it’s kind of the same thing, especially under your gums – it’s dark, warm and moist. Bacteria like to be left alone to eat all the stuff in there, and grow and get nasty. So that’s why you come in every six months so we can clean that out.

3. Floss thoroughly.

Flossing is important because your teeth are round, not flat, especially your back teeth. Where they’re touching, you’re not reaching. With a toothbrush, you’re missing almost two-thirds of the teeth. Brushing alone cleans teeth’s outer and inner surfaces but misses the sides, paving the way for infection. 

4. Don’t judge your teeth by their color.

It’s a common joke among dental hygienists,  You can tell a patient they have 16 cavities, and they’ll say, ‘But do you do whitening?  But having model-white teeth is a cosmetic concern, not a sign of superior oral health. White teeth are not necessarily healthy teeth. We see many, many people with yellow or gray teeth, and they think their teeth are not healthy or not clean. But that’s not the case. Just like the whites of our eyes are different and our skin tones are different, your teeth have different shades. 

5. Limit coffee and soda sessions.

If you consume coffee throughout your day or continually swill soda, it’s time to rethink. And it’s not just about coffee stains. You shouldn’t drink anything all day long [except water], whether it’s coffee, tea, sports drinks or soda. In between meals, you should only drink water. Coffee is very acidic and it changes the pH balance in your mouth. At the very least, we suggests rinsing your mouth with a little water after each cup of joe to neutralize the acidity. Sparkling water might or might not be OK to drink throughout the day. Carbonated water alone is no problem but if it contains citric acid, too much could damage tooth enamel – so check the label on your bottled water.

6. Scrape, don’t gag.

Bacteria tend to dwell on your tongue. That’s why hygienists recommend brushing your tongue or trying a tongue scraper. The trick is getting used to it. While tongue scrapers are great compliance can be a bit tough. If you’re not taught how to adequately use them, it can be a little gaggy-feeling for patients. Our best tip: Don’t scrape back and forth or up and down on the tongue, because the repetitive motion can make you gag. Instead, scrape in one direction, such as back to front. The desire to avoid bad breath motivates many patients. In order to have your breath smell good, you must have a clean tongue.

7. Devote time to brushing.

Two minutes, twice a day. To keep your teeth for life, it’s brushing and flossing. You have to do those twice a day – the combination. That two-minute routine, usually in the morning and evening, is time well-spent, she says. You want to be infection-free. You want to be able to speak and chew your food. Let’s make it so you feel good about yourself and want to smile.

8. Ask for an oral exam.

You should make sure that a dental professional, whether it’s the hygienist or the dentist in the office, is doing a thorough oral cancer screening. Examining a patient’s mouth, jaw and throat during a routine visit can reveal suspicious changes such as red or white patches, tenderness and lumps. It’s not only smokers at risk, but often younger patients who’ve acquired the human papillomavirus, or HPV. With early detection, patients can be referred to physicians to start treatment. Another potential bonus: Dental panoramic X-rays can also detect plaque in the carotid arteries – leading some patients to see heart specialists for potentially lifesaving treatment.

9. Don’t settle for dentures.

A lot of people have the preconceived notion of my parents had dentures, my grandparents had dentures, so I’m just going to have dentures. And that is not true at all. It’s not dependent on whether your family has a history of dental problems, but how you take care of your own teeth at any age: It goes back to what’s important to you – and if you’re teeth are important, you can keep them for your lifetime.

10. Maintain your super smile.

As you leave the dentist’s office, you wish your teeth could always look and feel this good. With all the dental aids and products now available to patients, it’s entirely possible. It’s not just brushes and string floss. We’ve got water flossers; we’ve got air flossers. We’ve got power toothbrushes and dental picks. A water flosser is basically a pressure washer for your mouth. With tools like these it’s kind of hard to have an excuse not to have a clean mouth anymore.

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