At Loukas Dentistry of Park Ridge, we see most of our patients only twice a year. While regular checkups and cleanings are an essential part of an oral health regimen, consistent at-home care of your teeth and gums is absolutely necessary for maintaining optimal oral health. Dr. Thanasi Loukas and Dr. Maria Loukas, your Park Ridge dentists, encourage their patients to practice the following habits to preserve a healthy smile between visits to the office.
Brushing and Flossing Basics
These habits make up the cornerstones of every oral health program yet many patients, young and old alike, could stand to brush up their technique. To remove plaque and food particles, freshen your breath, and keep your teeth looking clean and bright, follow these guidelines:
Brushing: Using a soft-bristled brush and fluoridated toothpaste, angle your toothbrush at approximately 45° and gently brush the outer surfaces of the top and bottom teeth. Move on to brush the inner surfaces of the teeth and then the biting surfaces. Finally, brush the tongue to remove particles of food and dead cells. According to the ADA, you should brush at least two times per day for two minutes per session.
Flossing: Start with an 18” piece of dental floss and wrap the ends around your middle fingers. Hold the floss between your thumb and index finder, slide it between the teeth, and follow the contours of the inter-dental space in a ‘C’ shape. Be sure to continuously unspool fresh floss so that you don’t end up working plaque back into the spaces. Floss once every day, preferably at bedtime.
To Rinse or Not to Rinse
While not as essential as brushing and flossing, rinsing with a dentist-recommended mouthwash can provide a nice complement to your daily regimen. Mouthwash varieties range from ones that focus on freshening breath to ones that promise to whiten teeth. We recommend you use an antimicrobial mouthwash (such as Listerine) or a fluoridated mouthwash (such as Act or Crest Pro-Health).
A Healthy Eating Tips for Healthier Teeth
A healthy diet low in sugary foods and beverages will help maintain improved oral health by keeping acid-producing bacteria at bay. While most people understand this concept, putting it into action can prove daunting. The following tips can help you ease into more smile-friendly eating habits:
- When you snack, choose crunchy vegetables, fresh fruit, cheese, and nuts over snack cakes, chips, and other junk food. Stock your fridge with these healthy foods to make it easier to make healthy snacking choices.
- Have sugar-free gum on hand, in your purse, your car, and around the house. Sugar-free gum, especially brands which contain xylitol, neutralize the acids in your mouth and promote healthy tooth enamel.
- If you want to indulge in a sweet beverage like iced tea, soda pop, or coffee drink, don’t sip it throughout the day. This constant intake of even small amounts of sugar can create an unhealthy oral environment.