You may have felt a little hesitant to go to your regularly scheduled dental appointments over the past year — understandably so. Still, keeping on top of your oral care is important, all year long. Here are some ways to stay on top of your oral health at home.
Brushing your teeth is expected. It’s the most basic of the tasks involved in taking care of your oral health. You were taught at a young age, how to brush properly, and with the correct technique. Over time, have you gotten lazy about it? Are you skimping on the amount of time spent brushing in each quadrant? Maybe you’ve become even more diligent, accumulating accessories, sonic brushes with built-in timers, and other fancy ways to support your brushing habits. Well, what we do know is that brushing is an important part of your daily routine (twice a day or more!), and in making sure you keep your teeth clean — fighting cavities, plaque formation, gum disease, and other oral issues. Because brushing multiple times a day can reduce the harmful oral bacteria in your mouth, you’re also making sure you lower your risk of other health issues, like heart disease.
Daily brushing isn’t the only way to make sure your teeth are clean and healthy. It’s important to make a habit of flossing, getting rid of the remnants of food between your teeth. Neglecting these pieces of food — sometimes not visible to us — can cause cavities, gum disease, bad breath, and a number of other problems with your oral care. The American Dental Association recommends flossing at least once a day. To make it easier on people who don’t enjoy using dental floss, there are some alternatives on the market, like water flossers, air flossers (beware if you have sensitive teeth!), and interdental picks.
Not interested in the practice of swishing coconut oil (or other edible oils) as an alternative to mouthwash? Well, it’s been all the rage in oral care for some time, and actually has a list of benefits that may surprise you! People who swear by this ritual claim that not only does it whiten your teeth, but some added benefits are the removal of bacteria, acts as an inflammatory against issues in the gums, and because you’re taking care of your oral health, you’re taking care of your overall well-being.
One oral care tool that you hear of less often is the tongue scraper. It’s important to be very careful when scraping your tongue. You don’t want to damage your taste buds — you definitely need those! Being gentle while using a tongue-scraping tool will help keep your taste buds intact, make sure you don’t cut yourself, and allow you to experience the maximum effects of eliminating as much bacteria as possible from your tongue. Scraping not only removes bacteria that can cause bad breath and cavities, it has also been shown to improve your sense of taste (hello, flavors!) and get rid of the white film that tends to build up on the tongue.