Question: Even with regular dental cleanings and annual trips to the local dentist office, it seems like maintaining proper dental hygiene is harder in practice than it seems. Are there any tricks to help patients keep their teeth healthy in between professional dental cleanings?
It goes without saying that the best way to keep teeth healthy in between dental cleanings is simply to create a routine at home and stick to it — it’s important to make sure that you brush and floss everyday, at the very least.
It’s also important to realize that you could be hurting the health of your teeth and gums without even realizing it. Here are just a couple examples of how a seemingly harmless habit can really affect your oral health:
- Using too many over-the-counter whitening products. The benefit of going to your local dentist office or finding a cosmetic dentistry office to get your teeth whitened is that you’ll definitely see results and you won’t have to worry about whether the chemicals are safe for your teeth or not. American consumers spend about $1.4 billion on teeth whitening products each year, and there has been a 300% increase in the number of these procedures over the past five years. Although many over-the-counter whitening strips and toothpastes are safe to use occasionally, you could actually wear down your tooth enamel if you use these products too often without the supervision of a dental professional.
- Consuming acidic and sugar-filled foods and drinks. It goes without saying that sugary, sticky candy is not good for your teeth at all, but there are tons of other drinks and foods that can quietly cause just as much damage. Any drinks with sugar in them, like sweet tea or sports drinks, can cause tooth decay because that sugar is never washed off your teeth. Foods that are highly acidic — the biggest culprit being lemons — can also wear down tooth enamel quickly. You don’t necessarily have to avoid these foods, but it’s best to limit how often you consume them.
It’s never too late to start taking better care of your teeth, and it’s always important to see your dentist regularly for dental cleanings. You certainly aren’t alone if you really think that a clean, white smile is incredibly important — in fact, an estimated 75% of adults today think that an attractive smile is essential for career success, and it never hurts to have that extra boost of confidence knowing that your teeth are clean and healthy. There’s no such thing as being too careful or proactive when it comes to taking care of your teeth!