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4 Oral Hygiene Habits to Keep Your Teeth Healthy

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At Family Dental of Spokane Valley, we are always happy to welcome our patients! Dr. Craig Ellsworth performs a wide variety of procedures, from teeth contouring to root canals. We pride ourselves on solving the majority of your family’s dental needs without referring you to outside doctors.

Still, we realize you and your family may be less excited about seeing us than we are about seeing you. Many folks can think of a better way to spend a morning or afternoon than in our Spokane Valley, WA dentist office. (Where is that sarcasm emoji when you need it?)

The good news is, your family can minimize its trips to the dentist by taking good care of your teeth. We want to see you twice a year for teeth cleanings and exams, of course. But good oral hygiene will help you avoid more complicated dental procedures.

We’ve collected four of our favorite oral hygiene tips for you in this post. Most of them focus on brushing your teeth. After all, it is an essential practice for maintaining good dental health.

We hope you find them helpful. We’ll try not to take it personally when we realize we haven’t seen you for a while.

And even if we see you less, feel free to call us at 509-850-3217 with questions about your family’s dental care. (Seriously, would it kill you to call us every now and then?)

 

Use Good Tooth Brushing Habits

You know you should brush twice a day. But there is more to good tooth brushing than frequency. Duration is important, too. We recommend brushing for two minutes. Set a timer, use the stopwatch on your smartphone, or find a two-minute song you like and kick out the jams.

Forget the up-and-down motion you may have learned. Instead, hold your brush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth. We suggest working from the outside in. So brush the outside surfaces of your teeth, then the inside. Finish up with your chewing surfaces.

Go ahead and brush your tongue, too. Tongue brushing will help get rid of harmful bacteria. And bonus, it will also freshen your breath.

 

Get the Right Toothbrush

We recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head. The small head makes it easier to reach all of the nooks and crannies in your mouth.

Whether you use an electric toothbrush or an old-fashioned manual model is up to you. Some electric toothbrushes come with lots of bells and whistles. Only you can decide how important they are to you.

Many electric toothbrushes have a timer, a feature that is handy in helping you and your family brush for the two-minute period we suggest. Electric toothbrushes are also great for folks who have issues with manual dexterity.

 

Take Good Care of Your Toothbrush

Rinse your toothbrush with hot water after use to clean out all of the toothpaste. Store your toothbrush out in the open where air can freely circulate around it. This will help keep your brush dry and make it a less hospitable home for bacteria that thrive in moist environments. About once a week, it is a good idea to clean with mild soap and hot water the cup or toothbrush holder where you keep your toothbrush.

You should switch out your toothbrush for a new one about every three months. If the bristles start looking frayed or worn down before then, go ahead and replace it. Storing toothbrushes upright is an oral hygiene best practice.

It is also a good idea to get a new toothbrush after you’ve been sick. Again, the aim is to cut down on harmful bacteria. For the same reason, don’t share your brush with another family member or anyone else.

Cut Down on Sugary Substances, Especially Soda

We saved the oral hygiene tip no one really wants to hear until last. While sugar doesn’t actually cause tooth decay and cavities, it is best to avoid sugary foods and drinks.

The bacteria that live in your mouth like sugars of all kinds, even the ones that come from healthy foods like fruit. However, sugary foods like candy cause problems because they are sticky. They get caught between your teeth where bacteria feast on them, creating the plaque buildup that leads to decay.

Soda is problematic for different reasons. Carbonated drinks contain phosphoric and citric acids, two substances that erode tooth enamel, giving bacteria an easy way to attack your teeth. Also, many people sip on a soda over a fairly lengthy period of time. Since acid produced by mouth bacteria stays in your mouth for 30 minutes after you eat or drink, sipping a sugary soda or other drink keeps the acid production going.

 

Come and See Us Sometime

These oral hygiene tips should help you cut down on your family’s dental visits. But make sure you come in for biannual visits that include a thorough dental exam and teeth cleaning. Call Family Dental of Spokane Valley at 509-850-3217 to schedule your visits to our Spokane, WA area office. Or use our convenient online form.

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