The next time you look at a stranger remember the one thing you look at when you first meet them? Usually, It’s their smile. This is one of the reasons we see so many people want whitening options above anything else at their dental visit and why I sell whitening toothpaste. But there is so much more to a healthy smile than straight white teeth.

The one way you can have a healthy, beautiful smile is to simply take control of your oral health.

Here are 10 simple steps you can take from the comfort of your home to improve the health of your mouth and that of a loved one.

# 1 – Brushing 

Brushing is obviously the first step to good oral health. If you follow me tooth brushing is the one, I talk about the most.  Most people think they are doing a good job brushing. But could you be brushing incorrectly? Dental professionals recommend a thorough brushing at least twice a day for 2 minutes. Brushing your teeth on the outside, inside, top, and bottom at a 45% angle towards the gums is the only way to ensure you are getting all of the teeth clean.

I always start and end the same way so I don’t miss anything,  where you start is not as important as how you brush 30 seconds each quadrant ear to noses ..noses to ear inside and out until you’ve finally reached all the surfaces that takes 2 minutes if done properly.  2 times daily is recommended to keep them healthy.

An electric toothbrush is 10 times more effective than a manual. It can cover a larger area faster, so you clean more surfaces in the same amount of time. When you brush by hand with a manual brush, you make about 300 strokes per minute. Compared to the thousands — in some cases tens of thousands — of strokes per minute an electric toothbrush can make. Think about it. No matter which brush you choose, make sure you take the time to brush properly.

 # 2 – Flossing

Once you master tooth-brushing whether you choose manual or electric you are ready to add yet another tool to keep your mouth and body healthy. Brushing alone doesn’t even come close to killing all the bacteria in our mouths. But it is a start and once I recommend concentrating on first. Research shows that even after brushing your teeth there is still bacteria in your mouth. Shocking right? What’s next? Flossing. It’s a dental tool you can use to protect your teeth from the damaging effects of plaque, oral bacteria, and the acids they produce. Flossing every day, it’s important to remove that unwanted bacteria, plaque, and food that gathers between those tiny crevices and hard to reach areas. Don’t like to floss? Having a hard time getting motivated? There are alternatives to flossing like Waterpik. It is not only a great option it is fun to use. Think about it like this. Every time you floss and brush correctly your breath smells better and not only do your teeth look beautiful, following brushing with flossing will give you the results you want on the road to a healthy mouth.

# 3 Brushing Your Tongue

Brushing the tongue removes additional bacteria and helps improve the smell of your breath. For this blog getting in the habit of brushing your tongue, is just as important as brushing your teeth. Your tongue can show you a sign of things happing in your body you may be unaware of. Our tongue is way more important to the health of our body that you know. Your tongue has a proper position it should rest in which can improve breathing, chewing, swallowing, speech, and if we catch it early enough in our kids there are exercises they can do that may prevent the need for braces or c-pap machines in the future. This is why your tongue can use several blogs of its own.

#4 – Your Diet 

You can help control the bacterial growth in your mouth by eating better. Oral bacteria and plaque feed on sugar, creating acid as a byproduct that weakens the surface of teeth. Foods that are high in acids, like citrus, tomatoes, lemons, and vinegar, directly impact the enamel, which is the hardest surface in our body, making teeth more susceptible to damage. Foods high in starch, like potato chips, bread, and pasta, break down into tiny particles, lodging themselves in the hardest to reach places and feed the bacteria. Drinks sugary soda’s and coffee can also stain, discolor your teeth, and contribute to cavities. Maintaining your oral health 2 times a day morning and night keeps the growth of bacteria and acids under control.

# 5– Getting Your Nutrients 

Oral health isn’t just about avoiding bad foods. It’s also about making sure you get enough of the right ones too! Many nutrients impact the strength and longevity of your teeth and gums, like calcium, vitamins A, B, C, and D, phosphorous, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. Be sure to get a diet rich in whole foods and supplement with top-notch vitamin and mineral products to ensure you’re getting enough of the good stuff.

# 6 – Products 

Not all dental products are created equal. It’s proven that toothpaste and mouthwash are both helpful in preventing cavities and keeping your mouth healthy between dentist visits. Look for products whose ingredients you trust or are recommended by your dental professional. But not all products are right for everyone. Certain toothpaste gives me sores in my mouth. Mouth rinses with alcohol are not recommended for people with dry mouth.  If you struggle to brush and floss on a regular basis, no product will save your teeth. For those who stick to their routine, the right products can help prevent cavities and gingivitis which is caused by harmful bacteria in plaque that can irritate and infect your gums. Using products to get those tough hard to reach areas between your teeth is also helpful but not the only answer.

# 7 Controlling the pH of Your Mouth

What is pH? 

pH is an abbreviation for (potential of hydrogen or power of hydrogen).

pH is the chemical level of acidity versus alkalinity. Zero is the most acidic, and 14 is the most alkaline. 7.0- 7.5 is the perfect balance of the two ends of the spectrum and happens to be the pH level for pure water.

How does pH relate to your Oral Health

pH testing is a diagnostic tool that provides a window to your oral health.

Your mouth, like the rest of the body, requires balance. When acidic foods and beverages are consumed, the pH is tipped, creating an imbalance that demineralizes tooth enamel, can change your bone density and overall health. This happens when the pH levels in the mouth drop below 5.5. If you are doing all steps above and still getting cavities when you go to the dentist pH could be the problem.

Why test your pH levels? 

The Simple Answer…– It will help you identify the acidity/alkalinity conditions in your mouth that can cause cavities and other health issues.

The pH level in the mouth is important because an acidic environment can wreak havoc and quite literally cause bacteria that, in turn, causes tooth decay.

It may also explain why some members of the same family get cavities and others don’t. Their toothbrushing regime may be the same, but the acidic levels in their mouth may cause tooth decay and other health issues.

Testing the pH is a simple saliva test that is an easy, quick, and noninvasive way to identify the acidic, and/or alkaline, an activity that may exist in an individual’s mouth

When to test your pH levels? 

It is recommended to test the pH at different times of the day and record the readings over a 30-day period of time to gain a bigger picture of your health, rather than doing a one time reading. Depending on your pH level, testing three times a day may be indicated. ( See pH blog post or take my pH test your mouth course)

#8 – Whitening 

We all want our teeth to be at their whitest!  Did you know that most teeth are not even white? Each person has a unique and specific color to their teeth, meaning one person’s white might not even be achievable for someone else. Teeth range from off-white to yellow to gray to even brown, no matter how much you take care of them. As we age the inner yellow layer of the tooth called dentin thickens giving the outer translucent layer of enamel the appearance of yellow or gray. If you’re determined to whiten your teeth, you may need to try several products to find on that works for you. Or see your dentist for a stronger product.

#9 – See Your Dentist 

It is the standard of care to visit the dentist twice a year because brushing and flossing will only get rid of so much bacteria. At a certain point, for some, bacterial growth becomes resistant, clinging to surfaces on and between the teeth, even after the most vigorous brushing and flossing. The plaque hardens into what we call “tarter or calculus” which will need to be scraped off. This is when it’s time to call the professionals and go see your dentist who has specialized tools to manually remove this caked on build-up, making your teeth and gums healthy and clean again. If it has been a while or you have active disease. Meaning your periodontal measurements are deeper than 3, you have bleeding on probing, or the x-rays show bone loss, you may require more than a standard cleaning. You may need what is referred to as a deep cleaning. This is why what you do at home on a daily basis and being consistent makes a difference.  So you can prevent the need for more extensive work. Dental disease is silent most people don’t even know they have it.

If after seeing your dentist, you still have bleeding it may be a sign something else is wrong in your body.

#10 Be Your Own Health Care Advocate

Taking control of your oral health habits along with your families sets you up for success long term. You need to know what you want what if important to you before looking for a dentist. What are you looking for in a dentist? What is important to you? Time? Price? Insurance? Are you afraid of going to the dentist? Do you want a more natural approach? Do you like the old school approach? Do you like a corporate setting? Do you need more time for special concerns?  Do you want a dentist that offers Nitrous oxide If you require dental work?  If you know what you want, you can find a dentist that is a good fit and ask questi0ons before you even make the appointment. If something does not feel right, you do not agree with what is being said you can get a second opinion.  I always.. always recommend you follow your instincts in any situation.

Follow these ten steps and a healthier mouth and a beautiful smile. There’s no time like the present to take control of your oral health and ensure that your teeth will be beautiful, healthy, and strong for years to come.

Question about your oral health?

If you have questions and are not sure where to find help or you’d like to discuss your family’s oral health, please contact us at www.dentalhygine411.com. We will be more than happy to help with any way we can. If you prefer to speak to me  we provide a free 15-minute consultation. Our goal is to help you have a healthy mouth, healthy body, and a happy life.