Attending preventive care visits with your dentist is important, but did you know that there’s something even more important in your oral health care routine? You might be surprised to learn that your at-home dental hygiene is the single most important thing you can do to prevent tooth decay.
While many people brush their teeth when they first awake, you should also make sure you’re taking care of your teeth at night, too. Dr. Elizabeth Duling is an Owen’s Cross Roads, AL dental provider who helps educate her patients to take the best care of their teeth so they can have healthy, beautiful smiles for a lifetime. Learn more about how you can improve your nighttime oral health routine.
1. Learn how to brush and floss correctly
Brushing and flossing are an important part of maintaining the best possible oral health. However, if you are brushing and flossing incorrectly, you may actually be doing more harm than good to your teeth. You should use dental floss to remove leftover food particles and plaque from in between teeth and use a soft-bristled toothbrush and an ADA-approved toothpaste to brush your teeth. The proper technique is to gently brush your teeth in circular motions, making sure you pay special attention hard-to-reach places such as behind the teeth.
2. Floss before bed
After a day of your usual activities, plaque has built up on the teeth. Oral bacteria in plaque thrive in the dark, moist environment in your mouth while sleeping, and plaque will continue to build up while you sleep. While your dentist would like you to floss after every meal, if you’re only going to floss once a day, make it before bed to avoid plaque building up even further during sleep.
3. Use an electric toothbrush
While it’s not totally necessary, an electric toothbrush has been shown to help some people improve their nighttime oral hygiene routine. An electric toothbrush provides powerful brushing movements that can remove plaque more efficiently than brushing with a manual toothbrush. And besides, brushing with a gadget may make you look forward to the task more.
4. Make sure you don’t grind your teeth
Many people grind their teeth at night and are not even aware of this. If you wake up with a sore jaw or often find yourself carrying tension in your jaw or neck region, you may be suffering from bruxism, or tooth grinding. Over time this can lead to tooth enamel damage. If you suspect you grind your teeth at night, talk to your dentist about getting a mouth guard to wear while you’re sleeping.
Promoting Healthy Smiles in Owen’s Cross Roads, AL
Taking care of your teeth at night will help keep your smile healthy and beautiful for years to come. In addition to regular visits with Dr. Duling, make sure your at-home oral hygiene routine includes both morning and nighttime teeth care. Contact our Owen’s Cross Roads office online or by phone at 256.202.4186 to schedule your appointment.