Oral health is incredibly important to your overall health, and oral hygiene should be taken just as seriously as your exercise routine, your skincare routine and your diet. Health risks associated with poor oral health include throat infections, sore throat, bad breath, gum disease, bacterial infections, viruses, cavities and tooth decay. Oral health experts at TruedentFamilyDentistry.com remind us, “good oral hygiene practices are crucial for preventing gum disease, tooth decay, and mouth diseases.”
Oral hygiene requires a certain discipline when you’re at home, and good oral hygiene must be practiced on a daily basis. In addition to your at-home oral health practices that you are committed to daily, you should also be visiting your Dentist every six to eight months. Getting professional teeth cleanings on a regular basis is crucial because a professional teeth cleaning is the only way to properly clean your teeth and gums. At-home techniques can’t always get the hard-to-reach places or hardened plaque build-up. At-home oral health care, however, is equally important. There are habits you can master at home that will ensure you maintain great oral health and hygiene in between visits to your Dentist. Here are 6 ways to maintain a healthy mouth at home:
- Avoid Sugar
Sugars release acids that attack your teeth and cause tooth decay. Eating sweets can cause cavities, and the more you’re able to avoid sugar, the healthier your teeth will be. If you must have a sugary treat, eat it during dinner time so that the other foods you eat at dinner can help neutralize the acids of the sugars.
- Brush After Eating
Some people only brush their teeth right before bed, but the proper habit to get into is brushing your teeth after each meal. You should definitely brush your teeth after eating, especially after eating sugar. We understand that avoiding sugar isn’t always possible, but since the acids from the sugars can attack your teeth if residual sugar is sitting in your mouth, it’s important to brush your teeth immediately after eating sugar. Remember that there are sugars in alcohol, so that means you should brush after consuming an alcoholic beverage, too. Brushing after eating is an easy and healthy habit that only takes a few extra minutes of your time each day.
- Try Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is an oral health practice that requires swishing coconut oil around your mouth for 15 – 20 minutes, and it is a very effective anti-bacterial remedy for your mouth. Put a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth, and move it around in your mouth and along your teeth for 15–20 minutes. This natural remedy helps cleanse your mouth of nasty bacteria and dissolves food debris. When you practice oil pulling and swish coconut oil around your mouth, the bacteria get swept away by the oil, and dissolves in it. This practice will help break down plaque and bacteria.
- Gargle With Salt Water
Gargling with salt water is another great antibacterial remedy for your mouth, and it’s also an anti-inflammatory remedy. An effective way to flush out the bacteria in your throat is to gargle with salt water. You’ll add a couple of teaspoons of salt to a cup of warm water, stir the mixture, and gargle rigorously for at least 60 seconds. This practice can be somewhat uncomfortable, but it works.
If brushing your teeth helps rid your teeth of bacteria, remember that it doesn’t rid your throat of bacteria. Salt water gargling, however, does help flush out the bacteria residing in your throat. Salt water also neutralizes the acids in your throat produced by the invading bacteria, and helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth. A normal pH balance stops unwanted bacteria from growing inside of your mouth. Gargling with salt water also helps sooth a sore throat or an inflamed throat, and helps heal mouth sores.
- Brush Your Tongue
Brushing your teeth every day is important, but do you brush your tongue? Brushing your tongue is a good habit to get into if you want to maintain a healthy mouth. You can purchase a toothbrush that has a tongue scraper on it, and this is typically located on the back of your toothbrush. Use the tongue scraper to scrape bacteria off of your tongue. Tongue scraping is an important oral hygiene practice that removes bacteria, food debris, toxins and dead skin from the surface of the tongue. This prevents bad breath and throat infections.
- Floss Daily
Flossing is the most effective way to remove plaque from between the teeth, which is where most of the plaque resides. Your toothbrush bristles can’t reach between the teeth very well, which is why floss is required. Plaque that isn’t removed by flossing will build up, harden and turn to tartar. Plaque between the teeth that is left there by people who don’t floss regularly will find that it starts to make your teeth look yellow. Plus, if left there, it causes tooth decay and gum disease. Flossing takes extra time, and it’s incredibly common for people to be too lazy to floss. These people want to believe a good brushing is good enough, but it’s not. Flossing is a step that cannot be skipped.