Maintaining healthy teeth and a sparkling smile is not as difficult as it may seem.

 In fact, with a few simple changes to your daily routine, you can be on top of your oral health year-round, whether it’s time for your dental check-up or not!  National Dental Hygiene Month presents an excellent opportunity to take an in-depth look at your oral health routine and identify any areas you can improve. Here are the top ten tips from Rhoades Dentistry to get started:


Floss after Every Meal

When you floss, you remove plaque and bacteria between your teeth and gums, areas that brushing alone cannot reach. This helps to prevent cavities and gum disease.

Flossing after every meal also helps reduce bad breath by removing food particles that cause odor. For best results, use a gentle back-and-forth motion when flossing, and be sure to use a new section of floss for each tooth. With regular flossing, you can enjoy a healthy smile and minimal plaque for years to come.


Use a Fluoride Toothpaste

Fluoride toothpaste is an essential part of keeping your teeth strong and healthy. Fluoride helps prevent cavities, strengthens teeth, and can even help fight gum disease. So brush at least twice daily with fluoride toothpaste to maintain good oral health year-round!


Use Proper Brushing Technique

Regular teeth brushing is essential for good oral health. But how’s your technique? While everyone brushes, it’s important to ensure you’re doing it correctly so that your teeth brushing is efficient and effective. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Use a soft toothbrush. You don’t want to brush too hard, so opt for a softer one.
  • Brush in circular motions. Also known as “scrubbing” your teeth and gums, this motion allows you to reach all surfaces of the teeth and gums with each brush stroke.
  • Don’t forget to brush your tongue! This helps remove bacteria that can cause bad breath and other dental problems.


Always Brush Before Bed

Brushing your teeth before bed is an integral part of good oral hygiene, and it helps remove plaque and food debris from your teeth, which can cause tooth decay or gum disease. To ensure you’re getting the most out of this nightly ritual, brush for at least 2 minutes using small circular strokes on both sides of each tooth. Use fluoride toothpaste and a soft bristle brush, which you should replace every three to four months. You should also use a gentle scrubbing motion to clean the surface of each tooth and between them, where plaque tends to build up more quickly.


Add Mouthwash to Your Routine

Adding mouthwash to your oral health routine is a great way to freshen your breath and help remove plaque and bacteria from the teeth.

  • It can also help prevent tooth decay by killing the bacteria that cause it.
  • Mouthwash is even more effective at preventing gum disease because it helps control inflammation in the gums.


Use a Tongue Scraper

A tongue scraper is an inexpensive tool that comes in handy for removing bacteria and dead cells from the tongue. Tongue scrapers are easy to use: wet the scraper with warm water, then scrape it along the surface of your tongue, each time rinsing off any debris that accumulates on its surface. It’s essential to clean your tongue daily, so keep a spare in your bathroom cabinet or office desk drawer!


You Can Take Care of Your Mouth by Drinking Lots of Water

Water is not just good for your nutrition and hydration, but it’s great for teeth too. Here’s why:

  • Drinking water helps keep your mouth healthy, clean, and strong.
  • Drinking water helps prevent tooth decay.
  • Drinking water helps prevent gum disease.
  • Drinking water can also help in the prevention of bad breath as well!


Avoid tobacco products and smoking

Tobacco products (especially cigarettes and cigars) severely threaten your oral health. Tobacco use is a risk factor for mouth, throat, and lung cancer and poses other dangers, as well as leading to gum disease, tooth loss, and bad breath. Additionally, it can stain and damage your teeth leading to expensive cosmetic dental work that can be avoided. 


Limit Sugar and Alcohol Intake

  • Sugar is a common culprit in tooth decay. It’s not just the candy, either—your favorite soda, sweetened tea, and juice can do the same damage too. The more sugar you eat, the more bacteria will feed on it. Avoid sugary foods and drinks for special occasions.
  • Alcohol can also contribute to tooth decay. Along with its dehydrating effects, alcohol promotes bad breath by increasing mouth odor-causing bacteria levels and decreasing saliva production (saliva helps keep your mouth clean). If you enjoy an occasional glass of wine or beer (or even hard liquor), make sure you have plenty of water afterward to counteract the dryness caused by alcohol consumption.


Schedule Dentist Appointments Twice a Year

When it comes to your dental health, it is crucial to visit your dentist twice a year. This will help keep your teeth in the best possible condition and allow you to catch any issues early on. Your dentist may also provide services like dental implants which can help improve your smile. Your dentist may also recommend other dental procedures like Invisalign, full arch dental implants, etc.