Most people take great pride in their smiles, and understand that to keep them healthy, much less beautiful, they must combine diligent dental hygiene with regular preventive care. Unfortunately not everyone knows what is really required to maintain great oral health. Do you sometimes wonder if you could or should be doing more to keep both your teeth and gums healthy? If so, your dentist is a great ally in your effort to maintain a healthy smile.
Dental Hygiene Requires More than Daily Brushing
Most children are taught the importance of brushing their teeth twice a day, yet many adults fail to make this a daily habit. Even skipping tooth brushing occasionally, such as after a long day of travel or in a rush to get to the office, can begin to negatively affect one’s oral health, as this allows bacteria to remain on the surface of the teeth, where they will feed on the sugars and starches you eat. This can lead to an excessive development of plaque buildup, which can calcify into tartar. Often noticeable, tartar buildup can only be removed through a professional cleaning.
Besides brushing twice a day, without fail, regular flossing can also help prevent unsightly and potentially damaging plaque buildup. Flossing helps remove the bacteria that fall between teeth, where a toothbrush cannot reach.
Many dentists also advise patients use a tongue scraper or their toothbrushes, to gently clean the surface of the tongue, since this can be a hotspot for bacteria that leads to bad breath and eventually cavities. Plaque-fighting mouthwashes can also be useful in helping maintain oral health, but they should never be viewed as an alternative to regular dental hygiene, much less dental checkups.