A large portion of the U.S. population is currently walking around with less-than-stellar oral health — and they know it.
In fact, 30 percent have said that they consider their oral health to be fair or poor. Twenty percent of people also said that they experience anxiety over the condition of their teeth and mouth.
If you’re part of either of these groups, rest assured that you don’t need to feel this way forever. By implementing some simple dental hygiene practices, you can improve your oral health and feel more confident about your smile.
The Importance of Good Dental Hygiene
It’s true that clean, well-maintained teeth look nice and can help you feel better about your overall appearance. But, good oral health is about much more than just looks.
When you don’t take good care of your teeth, you set yourself up for a lot of potential health risks.
Poor dental hygiene, in the short-term, sets you up for gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis. Your chances of developing cavities and needing fillings and other, more serious, dental procedures also increases.
Not taking good care of your teeth also increases your chances of developing more long-term conditions like cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
These serious chronic illnesses have been linked to heightened levels of inflammation, which occur when harmful bacteria from the mouth enter the bloodstream.
Essential Dental Hygiene Practices
Okay, you’re convinced that dental hygiene is important. But what practices do you actually need to start implementing? The following practices will help you keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy:
Brush Your Teeth
Start by brushing your teeth for two minutes every morning and night. This is the best thing you can do to get rid of cavity-causing plaque and bacteria.
Be sure to use a toothbrush and toothpaste that has the American Dental Association’s stamp of approval. Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months, too.
Flossing is another essential step you can take to keep your teeth clean and your breath fresh. But, only 16 percent of people actually floss on a daily basis!
Flossing helps get rid of hard-to-reach plaque between the teeth. If this plaque is left to fester, cavities can form and your chances of developing gum disease increase.
Clean Your Tongue
Don’t forget to scrape your tongue, either. Typically, bad breath stems from having too much bacteria on the tongue. Giving it a quick scrape after you’ve brushed your teeth is an easy way to freshen your breath and get rid of all that potentially harmful bacteria.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Finally, remember that what you do during the day can also significantly impact your oral health. Limiting your consumption of sugar and soda can help you avoid cavities and keep gum disease and tooth decay at bay. Remember, the bad bacteria in your mouth love to feed on sugar.
Limiting drinks like wine, coffee, and tea (or drinking them through a straw) can also be helpful if you want to keep your teeth as pearly white as possible.
Schedule an Appointment with a Dentist Today
These dental hygiene practices can take you a long way when it comes to preventing gum disease and promoting better overall health. But, it’s still important to see a dentist for regular check-ups.
If you live in the La Mesa area, schedule an appointment with us at Collaborative Dental today.
We offer a variety of services and will give you all the information you need to improve your oral health and boost your confidence.