You know that oral hygiene is a must for a healthy mouth and also a healthy body. As a matter of fact, this knowledge is ingrained in children as young as preschool. This of course does not explain why an estimated 50% of the population suffer from halitosis (bad breath) of which 90% is brought on by poor dental hygiene.
While weight loss and a healthier lifestyle are always part and parcel of the New Years resolutions, why not put oral hygiene, a year without new cavities, and another 12 months without gum disease right in there? To help you make this goal come true, here are 10 steps to a better oral hygiene regimen you can actually accomplish.
1. Buy a toothbrush that works for you. Then buy another one.
Oral hygiene stands and falls with a toothbrush that does not have withered bristles, missing bristles, or is otherwise defective. The American Dental Association (ADA) suggests changing out the brush every three months. Depending on your vigor of use, you might want to look at changing it out every two months. Have a spare one on hand to take away the excuse that you just keep forgetting to buy a new one.
2. Have a tube of fluoride toothpaste you like.
Toothpaste is as plentiful in the store as the sand on the seashore. Some taste downright awful. (Whoever thought of putting mango in toothpaste?) No matter what your taste buds can handle, the common denominator to fighting cavities is fluoride.
3. Dental floss does more than cutting cake.
If your box of dental floss has been around since the primaries, it is time to reevaluate your flossing habits. The ADA recommends flossing once a day. Make it a ritual before bedtime to floss your teeth. Keep it up for two weeks – even if you think it’s killing you – and a new habit is formed.
4. Mouth wash provides for fresh breath and dead bacteria.
The common cause of halitosis (bad breath) is the accumulation of protein metabolizing bacteria in your mouth. Get rid of them with a high quality mouthwash (not just colored, flavored alcohol laden water) twice a day.
5. Scrape the back of your tongue to get rid of even more bacteria.
Pick morning or evening, and then commit to scraping the back of your tongue with a tongue scraper.
6. Allow extra time for your oral hygiene.
Speed kills even the most solid promise to take care of gum disease, prevent cavities, and practice better dental health. It takes time to floss and it also takes time to brush properly. Set the alarm clock five minutes earlier, and do your evening routine while you are still reasonably awake. You can always have another little snack after your evening routine and then just finish this up with a quick brushing.
7. Buy a travel sized oral hygiene kit.
Brushing your teeth after meals is a great idea, but you are unlikely to carry a full sized toothbrush, tooth paste, and mouthwash with you. Buy a special travel sized dental hygiene kit and carry it with you.
8. Visit your dentist twice a year.
No matter how well you brush, floss, rinse, and scrape, the odds are good that there will be a bit of tartar buildup. The dental hygienist can remove it and prevent gum disease and cavities from starting.
9. Discuss oral care products with your dentist.
Ask for advice. These folks are professionals and they can help you buy the best stuff out there. You do not have to believe in the glossy ads on the Internet or the hype on TV.
10. Eat healthier meals.
Carrots, nuts and celery sticks are known as palate cleaners. They help to scrape off bacteria from the roof of your mouth and the tongue in between brushings. Follow them up with a sprig of parsley, and you will never be self conscious about your oral hygiene or bad breath again.