5 Tips for Good Dental Hygiene at Home

Dental Hygiene Grand Rapids Mi Family Dentist

Want the secret to a healthy smile? Our Grand Rapids, MI, dentist suggests you start by practicing good oral hygiene at home. Taking care of your teeth and gums is a form of self-care that helps protect your oral health in the long run. For example, a regular dental routine will help you avoid issues such as bad breath, cavities, and gum disease.

Here’s what you need to know about practicing good dental hygiene at home.

1. Commit to Brushing Your Teeth 

You should always aim to brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes at a time. This will help keep the dental plaque at bay. In general, we recommend that you make a habit out of brushing teeth in the morning and at night.

It’s especially important that you brush your teeth before you go to bed. That way, you won’t be bathing your teeth in sugar while you sleep and they’re clean prior to putting in any retainers or bite splints.

2. Don’t Forget to Floss Once a Day

In combination with tooth brushing, make sure you also floss at least once a day. This will help remove plaque and food particles that may get caught between your teeth. In case you need help upping your flossing game, here’s how to get started:

  • Tear off about 18-24 inches of floss.
  • Wrap most of the floss around both of your middle fingers, leaving about 1-2 inches for use on your teeth.
  • Use your thumbs and index fingers to tightly hold the floss and place it between two teeth.
  • Carefully and gently move the floss up and down to rub it against both sides of each tooth. Try not to glide the floss into your gums as this can cause scratching and bruising.
  • Curve the floss into a “C” shape once it reaches your gums so it hugs the base of your tooth. By doing this, you’re allowing the floss to enter the space between your gums and tooth.
  • Repeat the above steps until you’ve finished flossing between every tooth (even behind your back molars!) and use a clean section of floss as you go.

3. Swish With an ADA Approved Fluoride Mouth Rinse

Fluoride helps strengthen and remineralize your teeth over time. This is especially helpful against acid attacks from plaque.

If we notice a lot of plaque and tartar buildup, Dr. Nichols may recommend that you add a fluoride mouth rinse to your oral hygiene routine that’s been approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). That way, by swishing at least once a day, you’ll be able to fight off cavities, gum disease, and other oral health issues.

We also offer an in-office fluoride treatment if you’re interested. The stronger fluoride concentration can be applied following your teeth cleaning appointment.

4. Take It Easy With Sugary Foods and Drinks

A healthy diet will help you maintain good oral health and overall wellbeing. But keep in mind that some foods can be misleading.

For example, many sports drinks and yogurts contain a high amount of sugar despite being advertised as “healthy.” Be sure to always check the nutritional label for the sugar content per serving.

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying sugary treats as long as you eat them in moderation and practice good oral hygiene. That way, you can satisfy your sweet tooth and avoid the cavities.

5. Don’t Skip Teeth Cleaning Appointments

We recommend that you schedule your teeth cleaning and oral examination at least every 6 months. That way, we’ll be able to catch oral health issues before they have the opportunity to worsen.

For example, you can reverse gingivitis by practicing good dental hygiene at home and seeing us for your routine teeth cleanings. But there’s nothing you can do on your own once gingivitis develops into periodontitis. Professional treatment is needed at that point.

During your appointment, we’ll examine the inside of your mouth and possibly take dental X-rays. If Dr. Nichols detects an issue, he’ll recommend an appropriate course of treatment to restore your oral health.

Depending on your circumstances, you may need to visit our Grand Rapids dental office more often for preventive care. For example, Dr. Nichols may need to monitor patients more closely if they have periodontitis or some other condition that compromises their oral health.

Learn More About Dental Hygiene

Dr. Michael Nichols is a trusted dentist in Grand Rapids, MI. As such, he and his team would be more than happy to help you maintain a healthy smile for life! To schedule an appointment, call Nichols Family Dentistry at (616) 333-8496 or contact us online. We hope we hear from you soon!

This blog has been updated.

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