Everyone likes to use the new year to mark the start of healthy lifestyle changes to enhance their lives. Understandably, most of these changes involve diet, exercise, and stress management techniques. Not many people think to implement better oral care strategies into this plan as well. In this month’s blog we are going to explore some EASY modifications you can make to help ensure your dental visits go more smoothly than ever.
A common resolution we see is an effort to drink more water throughout the day. We completely agree with this, and would like to offer a better approach to assist with healthy teeth and gums.
Make it a habit to drink 8 ounces of water just prior to eating your meal, and then another 8 ounces afterwards. This offers the benefit of spreading water consumption throughout the day, while helping you eat less during each meal. Drinking the second 8 ounce serving immediately after will serve to increase the pH in the mouth and neutralize harmful acids from the food itself. These acids soften enamel and result in permanent damage leading to tooth sensitivity, decay, and a yellowing of your smile. The water can also wash away remaining food pieces that would otherwise linger. It’s an easy step that adds up to large benefits.
2. Floss Picks
Everyone knows how important flossing is to maintaining proper dental hygiene. The problem lies in how often we actually floss. At best, most people will only floss once a day in the morning or the evening. Consider placing floss picks in locations that are likely to motivate their use when we otherwise wouldn’t even think about it. Examples are in your car cupholders or a woman’s purse to remind you to get those stubborn food particles out of your teeth after eating at a restaurant or drive-through. The coffee table or at-home work space are other locations that will provide a gentle reminder and easy accessibility. The bathroom sink isn’t the only place we should think about keeping our teeth clean anymore.
3. Xylitol Gum
Using gum after meals is a common practice to combat bad breath during our interactions with others. If you use sugar-free gum that contains xylitol you can get the most bang for the buck. Xylitol will decrease the production of specific bacterial strains that lead to tooth decay, while also increasing the pH and saliva production after a meal and help protect the tooth surface and gums. Place a pack of your favorite flavor xylitol gum in the same places as your floss picks to maximize their use.
With increasing levels of stress in our daily lives, a common problem we are noticing is that many of our patients are damaging their teeth by clenching at night. This is resulting in an increase occurrence of dental fractures, tension headaches, worsening of TMJ disorders, and erosion of tooth enamel. A properly fitting mouth-guard can help eliminate these issues and give you a more restful sleep. At your next appointment at Floss we can recommend the best options to protect your teeth before the damage requires treatment.
5. Mouthwash Supplementation
The use of mouthwash is never a replacement for a proper oral health routine, but sometimes we find ourselves having that late-night snack after brushing or just getting lazy and skipping our nightly brush. This is not something we would recommend, but we also understand that life has a way of throwing us all curveballs that can knock us off track. When brushing and flossing aren’t an option for whatever reason, we would encourage you to at least rinse your mouth with an ADA approved mouthwash just after. Mouthwash can wash away food particles, freshen breath, decrease harmful bacteria, and elevate pH in these circumstances to help limit oral damage.
We hope you found these tips easy to implement and look forward to seeing you at your next visit at Floss Dental Boutique!