There’s much more to a healthy mouth than just brushing your teeth and flossing everyday. In fact, there may be a few unhealthy habits you’re falling into without realizing that can be contributing to tooth damage. This is why we have gathered 5 common habits that are hurting your teeth in order for you to never commit them again!

1. Brushing too hard

Brushing twice a day for at least two minutes is the main oral health tip to install in your routine. However, be careful when you do so since brushing too hard is one of the most common habits that hurt your teeth.

Using a hard toothbrush or too much strength can result in gum irritation and tooth damage. It is recommended to always use a soft bristle brush and approach the task as one that is “massaging” rather than “scrubbing”.

2. Nail biting

Nail biting isn’t just bad for your hands, it can also be hurting your smile by causing strain on your jaw and chipping away at your teeth. It is recommended that, if you bite your nails, you find other ways to deal with stress and anxiety by reducing the triggering factors and setting small, realistic goals towards ending this nasty habit.

3. Using teeth as tools

Teeth were meant only for eating, and not to be used as scissors, bottle openers or other types of tools. Whenever you do this, you’re putting yourself at risk of cracking and chipping your teeth, and even injuring your jaw or swallowing something you shouldn’t have.

4. Constant snacking

Snacking all day, especially on sugary foods and drinks, puts you at a high risk of cavities. The bacteria guilty of causing them eats the leftover food hanging around your teeth, which produces an acidic reaction and in turn damages your enamel.

If you can’t help but to snack, try to do so on low fat and low sugar foods, and follow any sugary treats with a big glass of water to wash it all up.

5. A diet of cigarettes, coffee, wine and sugary cola:

Smoking is not only bad for your overall health but actually stains and debilitates your teeth. Similarly, continuously drinking wine, coffee and sugary, dark cola drinks will expose your teeth to acid and sugar, and put you at greatest risk of cavities and teeth staining.

Now that you’re aware of these 5 common habits that are hurting your teeth, this is your opportunity to stop them from taking part in your daily life and start taking better care of your smile. A regular dentist checkup and daily oral care routine will keep you on the right track of perfect oral health.

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While you may think you’ve got it all covered by brushing your teeth every day, a little more effort is necessary for an outstanding smile and oral health. Here are 7 oral hygiene tips you can start implementing today for better teeth tomorrow.

1. Use an adequate brushing technique

When getting rid of the leftover food particles left around your teeth after a meal, a quick brush won’t do. The American Dental Association (ADA) offers a series of oral hygiene tips regarding a proper brushing technique.

First, your brush should be held at a 45-degree angle facing your gums, so that the brushing is done along the sides and tops of the teeth. The brush should be held vertically and stroking along the backs of the front anterior teeth, so that the most vulnerable places are targeted.

Brushing must be done for at least two minutes at a time, so be sure you’ve reached it all before you’re done.

2. Pick the right brush

A major oral hygiene tip is making sure you’ve picked the right brush. Usually, for adults the right brush will be a small or medium-sized one that is small enough to reach the cracks in your molars where debris usually hides.

3. Floss properly

When it comes to flossing, the same effort should go into it as brushing does. An 18” piece of floss will do the work as you wrap it up around each tooth in a “C” shape and rub against the surface of the teeth in order to remove all of the bacteria that accumulates in between them.

4. Use a mouthwash

An ADA approved mouthwash is a great way to reach the parts of your teeth that brushing and flossing didn’t cover. By adding mouthwash to your oral hygiene routine, you’re ensuring you’ll get the most thorough clean possible, while protecting the gums and avoiding conditions such as gingivitis.

5. Properly clean and change your brush

While covering your toothbrush is unnecessary and unrecommended, the ADA stands that this may actually increase bacteria growth,  you should clean it properly after every use by rinsing it with water and leaving it to air dry. Remember to change your brush after three or four months so it can do its job more efficiently.

6. Use a tongue scraper

You may find a ridged area on the back of the head of your toothbrush. This is called a tongue scraper and is meant to be used on your tongue to remove remaining bacteria after you’re done brushing. Adding this extra step to your oral hygiene routine will ensure fresh breath and a bacteria free mouth.

7. Stop snacking

One of the most important oral hygiene tips to consider is to give up snacks. Sugary snacks are especially harmful because sugar feeds bacteria living between your teeth and encourages it to reproduce.

Having a midnight snack after already having brushed your teeth can be harmful. This will make the bacteria and debris stay in your mouth the entire night, a long enough time for them to spread around.

Follow these oral hygiene tips and incorporate them into your daily routine so you can take direct control over your oral health. Along with regular dental checkups, following these oral hygiene tips will ensure your mouth stays clean and healthy, and your smile shining.  

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If you see blood when brushing or flossing your teeth, this isn’t normal and is a warning sign of gum disease, a condition that affects both children and adults and can lead to more serious infections, such as periodontitis or even the loss of teeth.

Treating any condition during its early stages is key to reduce the risks and reverse it. There are a few tips you can follow when it comes to your oral hygiene that can help reverse gum disease.

Detecting the signs early

Gum disease is a result of harmful bacteria clinging to your teeth in the form of plaque. The factors that can make it worse are bad oral hygiene, smoking, medications that cause dry mouth, hormonal changes, genetics, diabetes, or other conditions that affect your immune system and compromise your ability to fight infection.

Recognizing and treating early signs of gingivitis is crucial to attacking the condition and stopping it from evolving and affecting the bones surrounding your teeth. If you’re experiencing red or swollen gums, chronic bad breath, bleeding when brushing or flossing, sensitive teeth and/or heavy tartar build up, you need to take action now.

Besides scheduling a visit to your dentist, there are several oral hygiene tips you can apply in order to fight gingivitis, such as learning how to brush your teeth to reduce gum disease.

How to brush your teeth to reduce gum disease

Since brushing helps remove bacteria and food particles that when left hanging around the teeth can irritate the gums and lead to gum disease, it’s important that you brush at least twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste and floss at least once a day.

It’s important to be gentle when brushing so that you don’t wear away your tooth enamel, but you should be thorough and make sure you’ve covered the outer and inside surfaces of the teeth, reaching in between the crevices and hard to reach spots.

Be sure that you’re using the right toothbrush, one that isn’t too old or large, but actually small enough to get to the hard spots. By brushing at a 45-degree angle with the brush pointing down towards the gums, you’ll be making sure to clean the gum line, which is one of the top places where plaque builds up.

An electric brush or interdental brush can be great allies when trying to reduce gum disease. Don’t forget to clean your tongue thoroughly with a tongue scraper, since bacteria likes to build up in there as well. Add a fluoride mouthwash to rinse your mouth after brushing and flossing and you’ll be sure to reduce gum disease in no time.

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A common question patients asks dentists is in regards of electric vs. manual brush, “which should I use?”. There may not be a right or wrong answer because it all depends on each person’s specific preferences and necessities.  

When it comes to picking between an electric toothbrush and a manual toothbrush, it’s best to look at the differences between them.

Electric toothbrush vs. manual toothbrush

Electric toothbrush bristles vibrate and rotate to help remove plaque buildup from the teeth and gums. This vibration allows for more micromovements when brushing your teeth, making them slightly more effective at removing plaque and gingivitis.

A review of studies showed that in general, plaque can be reduced about 21% after only three months of using an electric toothbrush vs a manual toothbrush.

Since electric toothbrushes work by rotating and vibrating, they do most of the work for you, an especially great benefit for people with arthritis or other conditions that limit dexterity. However, for people with sensitive teeth and gums, unless they use an electric toothbrush with variable speeds, it can be more difficult to regulate the amount of pressure being applied than when using a manual brush.

For people with orthodontics, electric brushes make brushing teeth easier and kids will probably find an electric brush more interesting than a manual one, therefore feeling more motivated to take care of their teeth.

Many electric toothbrushes also come with a built-in timer that lets you know whether you’re brushing your teeth for the right amount of time (2 minutes) or not. Some also provide guidance in where in your mouth you should be brushing, helping you to achieve a more thorough result.

The main con to electric brushes is their high costs. Prices can range from $15 to $250 per brush. New replacement brush heads usually come in packs and can cost between $10 to $45. Manual toothbrushes, on the other hand, are significantly cheaper and easier to find, since any drugstore or supermarket will carry a variety of them.

If you travel often, you may find a manual toothbrush more convenient, since they’re smaller and easier to pack. If you use a plug-in electric brush when travelling internationally you may need a backup brush.

Both electric and manual brushes will need replacement after three months. For electric brushes, the heads should be replaced and for manual brushes, the full brush should be replaced.  

When using the proper technique, both electric and manual brushes are effective at removing plaque and keeping your teeth clean. The main difference between each are the prices and accessibility.

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If you avoid hot or cold beverages because they hurt your teeth, you may be dealing with sensitive teeth. This common dental condition can be caused by tooth decay, worn filings or tooth enamel, or exposed roots. While you should definitely go see your dentist asap to handle this issue, here are a few tips and tricks on how to care for sensitive teeth.

Dealing with sensitive teeth

Proper oral hygiene is the key to preventing tooth sensitivity. Your tooth enamel, the hard, protective layer over your teeth can wear down, causing your nerve endings to be exposed and result in that pain you feel when eating ice cream or even exposing your smile to the cold air.  

The type of treatment will depend on the cause but could consist of using desensitizing toothpaste or fluoride gel, applying a surgical gum graft in cases where gum tissue has been lost from the root, and a root canal or application of a crown, inlay or bonding.

However, if you’re already experiencing discomfort there are a few things you can do to care for sensitive teeth:

Don’t brush too hard

Brushing your teeth with too much strength can cause your enamel to fade away faster, especially if you’re used to brushing right at the gum line. A soft-bristled brush and working around a 45-degree angle to your gums is the proper way to brush your teeth and care for your enamel.

Avoid problematic foods

Acidic and sugary foods or drinks are the ones that cause the most damage to tooth enamel. Soda, carbs high in sugar, or sticky candy are best to be avoided. Instead, snack on fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, plain yogurt or drink green or black tea. These will moisten your mouth and help produce more saliva, which in turn flushes away the acid and bacteria eating at your teeth.

Take a break from bleaching

Bleaching treatments can cause temporary sensitivity. If it persists or becomes too much, talk to your dentist about to figure out how the treatment may be affecting you and whether or not you should keep with it.

How to alleviate the pain

The best way to care for sensitive teeth is to go straight to your dentist’s office and handle the problem from its root, but there are a few home remedies you can use to alleviate the pain and discomfort in the meantime.

Salt water or green tea rinses can help reduce the pain, since both lower inflammation and salt act as an effective antiseptic.

It all comes down to oral hygiene

The best way to care for sensitive teeth is to go to the root of the issue and take proper care of your oral health.

As we mentioned earlier, sensitive teeth are simply the symptom of something else going on beneath the surface like cavities or fractured teeth, and gum disease or a worn tooth enamel. All can be prevented and alleviated by taking proper care of your oral health and visiting your dentist frequently, so that any situations can be caught before they’ve gotten too far.

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Oral hygiene is should never be ignored, especially if you’re on the way to a brand new, perfectly aligned smile thanks to the use of orthodontics. While it may be a little more complicated to brush and floss with braces, it becomes much more necessary for you to do so thoroughly because plaque and food particles easily accumulate amongst all the brackets and wires.

Flossing regularly helps prevent gum disease and tooth decay, so here are a few tips and tricks on how to floss with braces to make the process easier and faster.

Flossing the traditional way

The most common flossing techniques are great ways to clean food and plaque from between teeth, but threading the floss around your braces can definitely require some more time and patience.

First, give yourself 10 to 15 minutes to floss if you decide on this method, for which the only tool you’ll be needing is waxed floss. Unwaxed floss tears and gets stuck around the brackets much more easily so it’s best to avoid.

After cutting an 18 to 24-inch piece of floss, thread it between the main wire and your teeth while facing a mirror, so you can make sure the floss is going where you want it to. Wrap the ends of the floss around your index finger for better handling and gently press it between the two teeth, sliding up and down along the sides.

When doing the top teeth, it helps to make an upside-down U shape, going up the side of one tooth to the gumline and then going down the side of the other tooth. Remove the floss and un-thread it carefully from behind the wire, avoiding any popping since you could end up knocking the wire out of the bracket accidentally. Now move on to the next pair of teeth and repeat.

Choose a special tool

There are certain special tools in the market designed to improve the way you do your oral hygiene such as water flossers, floss threaders and dental tape.

A water flosser cleans between the teeth and along the gum line using a steady stream of water.

One of them can cost around $50 and with this device you can floss in less than 5 minutes.

For a more inexpensive solution though, you can choose a floss threader, a tool that can be found in almost any place that sells toothbrushes and regular floss. This small, plastic item can help you floss behind the wires easily and save a few minutes out of your dental care routine.

Dental tape is ideal for more sensitive teeth because it’s thinner than typical floss and wider, like a ribbon, which makes it more smooth and easier to glide between the teeth.

Other tips and tricks for a better hygiene

Other than regular flossing, there are a few good practices use to take extra care of your smile while wearing braces. Regular cleanings scheduled every three months with a professional dentist are suggested to take advantage of a deep cleaning, and an electric brush can give you better results than a manual one.

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Taking care of your gums is an essential part of good oral health. Even if you’re cavity free and your teeth are shining, gum disease is a silent enemy not many people take into consideration, but can lead to infections, tooth decay and even bone breakdown.

The early stages of gum disease are usually painless and many people don’t even realize there’s anything wrong. However, plaque build up under and along the gum line can lead to infections damaging the gum and bone. Learning how to identify and prevent these infections by taking care of your gums is important.

What Causes Gum Disease?

The main cause of gum diseases is a buildup of plaque along and under the gum line. Plaque is a sticky film like substance filled with bacteria that forms on your teeth and covers them. When plaque stays on your teeth too long it can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

Plaque develops when food containing sugar and starches such as soft drinks, milk or sweets, are frequently left on the teeth. The bacteria living in your mouth thrive on these foods and produce acids as a result. If left unattended, these acids can destroy tooth enamel causing tooth decay, while plaque developing under the gum can lead to gingivitis or periodontitis, which impacts the bone supporting the tooth, causing serious damage to the gums, bones and tissues connected to your teeth.

A few symptoms of gum disease include tender, red or swollen gums that are prone to bleeding, consistent bad taste or breath, and teeth that are separating or loose. Fortunately, when caught early this damage can be reversible.

Certain people are more prone to plaque build up, such as older adults and pregnant women, as well as people suffering from diabetes or cancer. However, healthy habits like brushing and flossing, can prevent plaque buildup and everything associated with it.

Taking Care of Your Gums In a Few Simple Steps

Good oral health doesn’t require much sacrifice, and taking care of your gums is simply a matter of adding a few healthy habits to your daily routine.

Daily Flossing and Brushing

Brushing your teeth twice a day using a soft bristle brush and toothpaste with fluoride helps protect teeth from decay. It’s important to brush for about 2 minutes each time, taking the time to gently brush along the gum line and your tongue.

Flossing helps remove plaque and any food between your teeth that may have been missed by your toothbrush. Don’t forget to rinse your mouth with water afterwards.

Get Regular Dental Cleanings

Visiting your dentist is an important aspect of taking care of your gums and oral health in general. You should schedule a cleaning and checkup every 6 months, or at least once a year.

By visiting your dentist on a regular basis, early gum disease symptoms can be detected and treated before they become serious, and a professional cleaning is the only way to remove tartar which is plaque that’s been on the teeth for too long and has solidified.

Use a Therapeutic Mouthwash

Therapeutic mouthwashes with the ADA seal can help reduce plaque and prevent or reduce gingivitis by slowing down the speed in which tartar develops. A good rinse helps remove food particles and debris from your mouth. This is a great complement to your regular brushing and flossing routine.

Avoid unhealthy habits

Cutting down on sugary foods and drinks, maintaining a balanced diet, and limiting the number of between-meal snacks is a sure fire way to help prevent plaque buildup. Smoking and drinking alcohol regularly weaken your immune system which makes it harder to fight off gum infection and healing once your gums have been damaged. Therefore, it’s important to drink alcohol in moderation and quit smoking.

As you can see, taking care of your gums is a matter of mostly prevention and adopting healthy habits. By paying close attention to your oral health you’ll be reducing the risk of not only gum disease, but many other conditions that can negatively affect your smile and oral health.

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The benefits of straight teeth are far beyond a beautiful looking smile. According to the American Dental Association, having straight teeth can significantly improve your overall health.

When your teeth are crooked, your gums are more susceptible to collecting harmful bacteria that can lead to many health complications, such as gum disease and periodontitis.

Along with boosting your self esteem, a straightened smile strengthens tooth enamel, protects and prevents tooth injuries, and can even alleviate neck and head pains.

All the Health Benefits of Straight Teeth

Teeth are easier to clean:

Crowded teeth make it harder for you to floss and brush appropriately in between them which leads to plaque buildup and tooth decay.

Healthier gums:

Overly gapped or crowded teeth can cause gums to swell, a clear sign of periodontal disease. Straight teeth allow the gums to fit more securely around them, creating a strong defense against any kind of gum disease and periodontal problems.

Preventing abnormal tooth wear:

When bottom teeth are too crowded and overlapped with each other, it can cause one or more of them to jut out and rub against the upper teeth. This can lead to problems in your chewing function, causing your tooth enamel to wear out faster.

Less risk of tooth injury:

In the case of an accident, crowded and protruding teeth have greater chances to be damaged.

Less headaches and neck pain:

Crooked teeth put greater stress on the gums and the bone supporting the teeth. This leads to uneven wear due to bad bites as well as headaches, neck, or face pain due to untreated jaw misalignment.

Improved overall health:

Uneven teeth can lead to a greater chance of contracting gum disease and tooth decay. The bacteria that accumulates in between crooked teeth causing said diseases, can also lead to mouth sores or even tooth loss.

ADA studies have proven that oral infections caused by an overload of bacteria can lead to more serious ailments that affect your overall health and put you at higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, strokes, and pneumonia.

Improved self esteem:

Being healthy involves the state of your body and mental health. Having straight teeth will cause you to smile more and make you feel more confident, improve your self esteem and even lower your stress levels.

 

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If you want to keep your natural teeth white,  or if you have just completed a teeth whitening treatment, there are five important dentist-approved tips you should follow to preserve your sparkling smile.

5 Tips for Keeping Your Teeth White

#1 – Avoid beverages that stain.

Avoid all staining beverages if you’ve just had your teeth whitened. Any beverage that is dark colored, such as coffee, dark tea, cola, or red white, should not be consumed.

If you do decide to consume any of these liquids, try drinking them with a straw so that they come into as little contact as possible with your front teeth.

#2 – Eliminate tobacco products.

There are various oral risks associated with tobacco. Using tobacco not only stains teeth; it also causes tongue discoloration and puts you at an increases risk for oral diseases, such as gum disease and oral cancer. Being tobacco-free is a great boost for your overall oral health and general well being.

#3 – Maintain a good oral hygiene routine.

We cannot stress enough how important it is to maintain a good oral hygiene routine. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing daily and rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash keeps your mouth free of bacteria and your smile bright and shiny.

#4 –  Select a whitening toothpaste.

Whitening toothpaste contains an extra boost to your regular toothpaste. Using it on a regular basis, two to three times a week, will help keep your teeth polished and will remove any surface stains your teeth may have.

#5 – Use an electric toothbrush.

Electric toothbrushes are much more efficient at breaking up bacteria and removing remnants from your teeth because their bristles vibrate, rotate and oscillate. These features allow the toothbrush to reach the pits and grooves of your teeth in order to keep them clean and white.

Keeping your teeth white only requires a few changes in your daily routine, and nothing beats the confidence of showing the world a bright, beautiful smile.

 

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The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends getting your teeth cleaned twice a year to obtain better oral health. Getting your teeth cleaned also gives your dentist the opportunity to screen for gum disease, oral cancer and any other infections or lesions all while removing plaque and tartar with professional grade instruments that leave your mouth clean and healthy.

Many people wonder how long they have to wait after getting their teeth cleaned before it is ok to eat. The answer depends on whether or not a fluoride treatment was included in your dental cleaning procedure and what foods you’re expecting to ingest.

If you didn’t have a fluoride treatment then you’re safe to eat immediately after your cleaning. However, it is recommended that you only eat soft foods. Bananas, yogurt, applesauce, soups or hard boiled eggs are all good options.

Avoid extremely hot or cold foods as well as anything sticky or crunchy since it is common to experience some sensitivity after a teeth cleaning.

Spicy foods, sugary drinks and high acidic foods can also be harsh on your mouth. You should wait a while before consuming these types of foods.

If you did receive a fluoride treatment during your cleaning, dentists recommend waiting at least half an hour before eating. This gives the treatment enough time to seal around your teeth. Waiting will ensure you’re getting the full advantage of the fluoride treatment.

Getting your teeth cleaned is an excellent way to maintain your oral health. It also allows you to detect and prevent problems early on. Having your dentist catch any issues that may have gone unnoticed will prevent early decay, cavities, gum disease, and more – all while getting your teeth in good shape and leaving you with a fresh and clean mouth.

Schedule your appointment at least once a year to give your teeth the attention they deserve.

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