At Rogers & Andrews Orthodontics, our goal is to provide a caring environment while administering excellent, affordable orthodontic treatment at our Augusta orthodontic office. Over the years, Dr. Andrews and our staff have treated over 15,000 patients and more than 100 different dental family members in Augusta, Thomson and elsewhere closeby.
Since 1973, our passion has been to provide individualized and compassionate care with the goal of our patients achieving world-class, hand-made smiles that they are simply thrilled about. And while a significant portion of the smile-making process happens at the orthodontist office, it’s also fair to say that our patients’ daily habits play a significant role in their overall oral health.
Because so much of your dental health is dependent on healthy daily habits, we thought it would be worth our while to take the opportunity to highlight a few tips to improve the oral health of you and yours. If you are looking for a few tips to make sure your mouth and teeth stay as healthy as can be, by all means, read on! This blog is for you.
Daily Oral Health Tips
Fair warning: some of these tips might be a tad on the rudimentary side — and that’s okay. We need to make sure we cover the basics when discussing something as essential as oral health care. So, if you do feel like a few of these tips are a bit too basic, just pat yourself on the back and carry on! On the other hand, we’d be surprised if one or two of the following tips don’t serve as a healthy reminder for a habit that you’ve forgotten to implement — or perhaps have never known in the first place!
When discussing oral care, the first thing you think about is probably brushing your teeth. There’s good reason for this, seeing as clean teeth are the foundation of oral health in many ways. Keeping the space where your gums meet your teeth helps prevent gum disease and other complications. Likewise, keeping the surfaces of your teeth clean will help keep cavities away.
Let’s look at five elements of effective teeth brushing:
- Get the right equipment – Let’s start at the beginning; however often you brush your teeth, you aren’t going to accomplish much if you don’t have the right equipment to get the job done — you wouldn’t use a broom to try to mow your lawn, would you? In the same way, it’s important to have a fresh, soft-bristled toothbrush that is comfortable for you to use. We’d recommend considering the use of an electric-powered toothbrush, which eliminates more plaque when used correctly. You should also use a fluoride toothpaste.
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day – This is the minimum number of times you should brush your teeth each day. Ideally, you’d brush your teeth after every meal, but we realize that it’s not always possible for everyone. Life gets in the way and people are busy. However, when you do end up brushing your teeth, it’s important to be thorough, being careful to not rush through the process. Take about two minutes to brush your teeth, but you should refrain from brushing right after eating something. This is especially the case if you’ve just consumed something acidic, such as soda or certain fruit. Finally, make sure you clean your tongue as well as your teeth — doing so will help eliminate the bacteria which gather there and contribute to bad breath.
- Use good brushing technique – Sadly, there are so many people out there who have the best intentions with their brushing technique, yet they are just doing it plain wrong. Most people know to hold their toothbrush at a slight angle and aim the bristles at the surface-area they are targeting, but where many fail is in the degree of pressure applied; it doesn’t take much, ladies and gentlemen. In fact, you want to be gentle when applying the tips of your brush to your teeth, otherwise they will bend and not be able to scrape away any of the plaque you are aiming at. It might take some getting used to, but err on the side of gentleness (which doubles as good life advice, if you ask us) if you have any doubt. Brush in short, circular motions, being sure to get the outside, inside, and chewing surfaces of your teeth. And, yet again, don’t forget the tongue!
- Keep your equipment clean – Again, many people do this, but it’s an important reminder for adults and maybe even a lesson for children. Make sure you always rinse your toothbrush with water after you brush. Do this from multiple angles, because toothpaste is, well, pasty, and can stick to the bristles of your brush fairly easily. Make sure you store your toothbrush in an upright position so it can effectively dry before you use it again. Additionally, don’t cover your toothbrush up when storing it, as this can grow yeast, mold, and bacteria if you aren’t careful.
- Replace your toothbrush regularly – You should be swapping out your toothbrush for a new one a minimum of once every three months. If you have a battery-operated toothbrush, do so the moment you started to notice your bristles have flayed or are branching off in different directions.
Drink Fluoridated Water
As has become something of a custom here at the Rogers & Andrews Orthodontics blog, we are turning this topic into a two-part series because we have so much to say on the matter! But before we put a cap on part-one, we’d like to discuss fluoridated water briefly.
Simply enough, water is the healthiest beverage for your teeth, and fluoridated water is the healthiest kind of water for your oral health. According to ADA president Dr. Maxine Feinberg, the fluoridation of water is both safe and effective. “It has now been 70 years since Grand Rapids, Michigan became the first US city to begin adding fluoride to its water system. Since then, decades of studies and the experience of tens of millions of people have affirmed that water fluoridation helps prevent cavities in both children and adults. Today’s announcement is based on solid science.“
Dr. Feinberg goes onto describe how water fluoridation is one of the most cost-effective and practical ways that the societal-powers-that-be can affect positive change in dental health on a macro-scale. While we wholeheartedly endorse the fluoridation of water, we would also add that recent research on the effects of fluoride exposure during pregnancy are linked with declines in IQ in children (in addition to previous findings which point to the same conclusion). To be clear, this research only has to do with fluoride exposure during pregnancy, but it’s worth noting nevertheless.
Keep An Eye Out For Part Two!
We hope you’ve enjoyed part one of this two-part series dedicated to providing some simple, easy-to-implement tips for improved oral care. Whether it’s a reminder for you, your children, or just a conversational piece to share at your next dinner party (we don’t recommend it), there should be a few reminders above which will improve your oral health in a tangible way. If not, all we can say is look out for part two! We’ll discuss flossing technique, dietary habits, and more.
In the meantime, reach out to us at Rogers & Andrews Orthodontics if you are interested in orthodontic services in Augusta or Thomson!