Has it been a while since you saw your dentist? You’re not alone. In fact, an estimated 42 percent of Americans don’t see a dentist as often as they should. Experts recommend a dental check and cleaning every six months.
Certainly, COVID has impacted people’s willingness to visit their dentist during the pandemic. But good dental health is an important part of our overall well-being. If you’re due for a dental cleaning and check, don’t delay being seen. Here are few things you can do to keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible, for as long as possible.
1. First, make that appointment. Ask about safety measures that have been put in place and what to expect at your visit. Dentists and other healthcare professionals have been doing their best to keep patients safe for months now. Knowing what to expect can help you feel more comfortable about your visit. You will probably be required to wear a mask – even if not required in your city or state. The hygienist or dentist will tell you when to remove your mask for treatment.
2. Ask your dentist about the best type of toothpaste for you. If sensitive teeth keep you from brushing as often as you should, there are gentler formulations that may help. Some toothpaste can help strengthen tooth enamel and may be right for you. Some dental rinses can also help prevent gum problems and provide an added layer of protection.
3. Use the right toothbrush. Most people opt for a larger brush than they need. A smaller, softer toothbrush may do a better job at removing food particles from between your teeth.
4. Keep your toothbrush clean. Rinse it well after each use and let it air dry.
5. Get a new brush every few months. Toothbrush bristles wear out after time, so it’s important to use a toothbrush that’s still working hard for you.
6. If you snack throughout the day, opt for crunchy fruits and vegetables, and avoid sugary treats and acidic or carbonated beverages. Drinking water with your snack will help keep your teeth cleaner, and you’ll get the added benefit of extra hydration.
7. Brush and floss twice per day. Flossing can make a big difference in the help of your gums and waxed floss can make the job easier. If you find it difficult to use dental floss, there are other products available that can help remove food particles from between your teeth.
While most of us are better about brushing than flossing, rarely do we brush long enough. Two minutes is the recommended amount of time to brush properly. Some electric toothbrushes are equipped with a timer that can help. Setting a stopwatch on a wearable is another good way to be sure you’re brushing for the prescribed time. Or adopt a catchy toothbrush tune to sing in your head while brushing.
As always, talk to your dentist before starting any new oral routine or trying a new product to ensure it’s the best, safest option for you.