As spring arrives, are you feeling the itch to tidy up and declutter your home? 9 out of 10 Americans say that they’ve done spring cleaning before–with 80% saying they do it once a year.
Why? All sorts of reasons–looking nice for visitors, getting rid of germs, making life easier. You name it! A tidy, organized home makes life better. The same goes for your mouth! It’s important to give your oral health a “spring cleaning” too. After all, a healthy smile doesn’t just make you feel good, but it’s also essential for overall health and well-being.
Here are some steps you can take to keep your mouth healthy and happy this spring…and all year round.
1. Brush and floss regularly
Think of brushing like you would sweeping or dusting. All sorts of gunk accumulated in your mouth, kind of like dirt on your floor. If you don’t sweep it away regularly, it builds up and gets worse. Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day is crucial for removing plaque and food particles that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. When brushing, use a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste, and be sure to brush for at least two minutes. Floss gently between each tooth and along the gumline, making sure to use a clean section of floss for each tooth.
2. Replace your toothbrush
Would you keep a broom that’s all worn down? Of course not! The same thing goes for your toothbrush. Replace them every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles become frayed. A worn-out toothbrush won’t clean your teeth as effectively, so be sure to replace it regularly. You can also consider using an electric toothbrush, which has been shown to be more effective at removing plaque than a manual toothbrush. (Though you’ll still need to replace the brush heads every few months.)
3. Use mouthwash
Yes, you can clean the bathroom with just soap and water, but don’t you feel better when you use an antibacterial product like bleach? Surprise–mouthwash does the same for your mouth. In addition to regular brushing and flossing, mouthwash can help kill bacteria that cause bad breath and gum disease. Look for a mouthwash that contains fluoride to help prevent cavities. Don’t forget, though–you wouldn’t just spray cleaner all over your bathroom and then walk away. You need to spray and scrub. Mouthwash should never replace brushing.
4. Cut down on sugary and acidic foods and drinks
Do you have a ‘no shoes in the house’ policy? Shoes can track in mud, dirt, snow and more. By leaving your shoes at the door, you prevent those contaminants from getting deposited all over the house. Think of sugary and acidic food as the dirty shoes in your house–they can erode your tooth enamel and increase your risk of cavities. Limiting your intake of soda, sports drinks, candy, and other sugary treats is like leaving the dirty shoes at the door, protecting your teeth from getting too dirty. (Don’t think that we’re saying you shouldn’t have ANY treats. Just make sure to brush or rinse your mouth with water afterwards to help neutralize the acid.)
5. Schedule a wellness visit
No matter how often you vacuum your rugs, you’ve still got to call in the carpet cleaners now and then. Their expertise and special equipment gets at dirt and grime your vacuum can’t touch. Think of your dentist and hygienist as your friendly carpet cleaners, ready to remove the icky stuff your brushing and flossing can’t reach.
At your wellness visit, your hygienist will clean your teeth, removing plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth and gums. They will also polish your teeth to remove surface stains and give them a smooth, clean feel. These professional cleanings can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease, and they can also give your dentist an opportunity to detect any issues that may require further attention.
At Sierra Smiles, we believe in preventative dentistry, which is why it’s so important to come in for wellness visits twice a year. That way, your dentist can detect and treat problems early on, before they become more serious. During your checkup, your dentist will examine your teeth, gums, and mouth for any signs of decay, disease, or other issues. They may also take x-rays to get a more detailed look at your teeth and jaw. Based on their findings, they can provide personalized recommendations for improving your oral health.
At Sierra Smiles, we’re committed to helping you enjoy a healthy mouth and a healthy life. We love springtime in Tahoe and Reno. Not only is the snow melting, the temperatures rising, and the flowers blooming, but it’s a great time to stop by and see us so we can help you with your mouth’s spring cleaning. Call us today to make an appointment at one of our three convenient locations. Happy Spring!