Tips for Healthy Teeth

1) Brush twice a day

Make it a habit to brush your teeth before breakfast and after dinner every day. No trace of any food should remain in your mouth when you go to sleep. When you sleep, saliva dries up. Saliva, with its anti-bacterial properties, keep the plaque-forming bacteria at bay. Plaque is a soft sticky substance on teeth that helps bacteria grow. If you don’t brush at night, food particles stuck onto your teeth will cause plaque in the absence of saliva. Plaque can start forming again 4 to 12 hours after you brush. So make sure you brush when you wake up in the morning also.

2) Professional teeth cleaning every 6 months

Get your teeth cleaned by a professional dentist every six months. Professional teeth cleaning helps remove tartar (hard plaque) from hard-to-reach areas in your mouth. It involves scaling, debridement and polishing of the teeth. Professional cleaning prevents cavities, formation of tartar and gum disorders.

3) Change your brush every 2-3 months

You should not use a toothbrush for more than 3 months. Bristles get hardened as days go by and their rough edges will damage the enamel of your teeth, leading to sensitive fragile teeth. (Enamel is the white hard protective outer layer of your teeth). It’s hard to keep a worn out toothbrush clean. Its rough bristles will always carry bacteria and might cause more problems to your teeth. While brushing, hold your brush at an angle against your teeth. Always use brushes that have soft bristles. Do not keep your toothbrush in a closed container as it might encourage the growth of bacteria.

 4) Do floss regularly

Dental floss is a type of thread used to remove food particles between teeth. You can insert the floss between the teeth and gently pull it along the teeth sides so that all food particles jammed between the teeth are removed. While flossing, make sure that you don’t move it vigorously. Incorrect flossing can cause damage to gum tissues. The scientific way of flossing is to curve the floss in a ‘C’ shape against the side of the tooth and move it gently upwards from the gumline thrice.

5) Use alcohol-free mouthwash

Mouthwash keeps your mouth clean and tidy. Mouthwashes are of two types – antiseptic as well as anti-plaque. Antiseptic mouthwashes kill germs that cause cavities, gingivitis and bad breath while anti-plaque mouthwashes prevent tooth decay by using fluoride. Always go for alcohol-free mouthwashes. Too much alcohol would mean your mouth is dried up quickly, making it susceptible to bacteria attack.

Image credit © Jose Luis Pelaez, Inc./Blend Images/Corbis and Marnie Burkhart/Corbis