It’s the time of year when we show love to all of our friends and family by giving them cards, flowers, chocolates … however you show them that you care. But what do you do to show your mouth love? Well, there are lots of things that you can do to show your mouth that you care.
1) Brush: It seems obvious, but it isn’t as easy as it sounds. Dr. Stenvall recommends that we all brush our teeth for a full two minutes, twice a day, every day. It doesn’t matter if you have a manual toothbrush or a fancy electric toothbrush. As long as they are used properly, both can do a good job. Make sure to angle the bristles at a 45-degree angle towards the gum line and get the front and back of every tooth.
2) Floss: It may not be everyone’s love language, but it doesn’t mean it’s not important. We recommend flossing daily. It can be in the morning or at night, in the shower, in front of the TV, whatever is easier for your routine that makes it something that you will remember to do! C-shape flossing is the best (flossing down the sides of each tooth), but if you only have floss picks, they are better than not flossing at all. Believe it or not, if you aren’t flossing, you’re actually not cleaning one-third of the surface of your teeth. People who do not floss regularly are at higher risk of getting cavities between their teeth.
3) Fluoride: Dr. Stenvall recommends using a toothpaste that has fluoride in it. The outer part of the tooth, or enamel, uses fluoride to re-mineralize, so if you are consistently exposing your teeth to fluoride, weakened areas of the enamel can actually go away. Some mouthwashes have fluoride in them as well; look on the bottle for ones that say “fluoride rinse.” Not all “antiseptic rinses” are created equal.
4) Regular checkups: We recommend that everyone come in for routine checkups every six months (3-4 months if you have ever had periodontal treatment). Even if everything is feeling fine, there may be issues starting that need to be addressed. Dr. Stenvall always recommends being proactive rather than reactive. If there’s an issue that can be fixed early, it’s always better to have a small filling than to end up with pain once the cavity gets larger.
5) A healthy diet: Try to limit the number of snacks and time spent sipping throughout the day. We know that a caffeinated drink in the morning or as an afternoon pick-me-up is critical in surviving some days, but try not to sip them for hours. The more often we eat or drink, the more acidic the environment of our mouth is, and the more susceptible to decay are your teeth. Healthy snacks are those that don’t get stuck in our teeth, like fruit, vegetables, nuts, cheese and yogurt. Things that are sticky and sweet or things like chips and cookies that can get lodged between your teeth will be more likely to cause cavities. Of course, water is always the best option as far as drinks are concerned.
We often forget to love ourselves when it comes to showing love to the important people in our lives but remember that, through some simple steps, you are showing yourself love by taking care of your oral health. If you ever have any concerns, Dr. Meghan Stenvall and the Queen City Dental Arts team are always here to help!