It’s no secret that you’re the best defense against poor oral health. We dentists encourage patients to visit us about once every six months, but you’re still at the front lines, protecting your mouth against problems like tooth decay and gum disease. So, what does great at-home oral care look like? Any dentist will tell you that you need to brush twice a day and floss daily. That’s a simple tip that you can implement in your daily hygiene routine. Today, I want to share some additional tips that will help keep you improve your oral health.

1. Brush for two minutes, twice a day. I’m pleased to see patients who make it a habit to brush twice a day. But unfortunately, a good number of those patients are not brushing long enough. The American Dental Association recommends that patients brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes each session. A good way to hit this mark is to break the mouth up in quadrants, brushing each area for about 30 seconds. You can also set up a timer on your phone or download a brushing mobile app that will guide you.

2. Consider fluoride treatments or fluoride products. Fluoride is naturally occurring and proven to reduce the risk of cavities and gum disease. There are over-the-counter dental products that contain fluoride, and most dentists can add a simple fluoride treatment during your regular visits. The next time you’re shopping for toothpaste, read the label to see if your toothpaste has fluoride. If it doesn’t, consider switching, or ask a dentist about what toothpaste is best for your dental needs.

3. Pick the right toothbrush. Many people buy the toothbrush with the biggest bristle head. It’s actually wiser to use a toothbrush with a smaller bristle head, as you can better clean hard-to-reach areas. Also, try to use a toothbrush with soft bristles so you do not damage your gums while brushing. The American Dental Association recommends that you change out your toothbrush or toothbrush head about once every three to four months. This helps assure that your toothbrush is up-to-date and free of bacteria.

4. Use mouthwash. We dentists don’t require that you use mouthwash, but it does have some extreme benefits to your oral health. Mouthwash is about much more than giving yourself fresh breath. Mouthwash can lower the bacteria levels in your mouth and reduce the risk of gingivitis — which is the earlier stage of gum disease. Gum disease is no joke. It’s the leading cause of tooth loss in adults and is tied with some serious medical problems like heart disease and diabetes.

5. Chew on some sugar-free gum after meals. The key here is sugar-free gum. Gum is a great way to increase the saliva levels in your mouth. Saliva is a natural enemy of tooth decay and gum disease, as it reduces bacteria levels in the mouth and flushes out food debris. Think about this the next time you’re looking for gum at the supermarket, and try to avoid gum that is packed with sugar. Foods like apples and cheese also help reduce the bacteria levels in the mouth.

You can implement any of these tips into your daily oral health routine. They take little additional time or cost, and I promise you’ll see results in no time at all. As I said in the beginning of this blog, you’re the best defense against dental decay or gum disease. But my office is also trained to handle a wide array of dental issues.

If you have dental problems or need a family dentist, we’re here. Just call us at 248-329-3552 to schedule your first with us. We look forward to meeting you