A Guide for a Healthy Daily Routine for Your Teeth
Work wearing you down? Kids tiring you out? It’s easy to let your dental health slide when everything else in your life is getting away from you. That’s why the team at Duvall Dental Center created a 24-hour oral routine guide to your healthiest teeth. Giving you one less thing for you to worry about.
Let’s start the clock at…
7 a.m.—Wake up, Brush Teeth
What’s the number one rule of dental care? Brushing your teeth at least twice a day—after breakfast and before going to bed. But doing so right after meals damages the enamel. Research shows the number of times you brush your teeth won’t matter if you don’t do it right. So how does a healthy oral morning routine look?
Since germs and bacteria in the mouth multiply at night, try drinking water to clean out your mouth and make brushing more effective. You should also spit rather than rinsing the toothpaste away. It’ll prevent the beneficial fluoride particles from washing away and leaving your mouth defenseless.
Once done, wait for at least 15 to 20 minutes before you eat anything.
9 a.m.—After Coffee or Snack
Now this goes out to all the coffee lovers, tea enthusiasts, and sweet tooths—giving up your favorite beverage and snack for the sake of your teeth can seem improbable. Improbable even though the highly acidic drinks eat away at the enamel (which doesn’t regenerate), exposing the yellowish dentin, while sugar particles get lodged between teeth and cause tooth decay. Such dental problems are fixable with the right oral routine.
After having your morning hot drink, take some water and swish it around in your mouth. What this does is (1) rinse the acid of the beverage from your teeth as well as dislodge particles and (2) increase the flow of saliva to restore teeth minerals.
12 p.m.—Midday Meal
Eating a packed lunch from home may not be the coolest thing but it’s actually healthier for your teeth. Most takeout options have too much salt and too many preservatives that damage your teeth and gums. Try to include protein-rich foods like chicken soup and whole wheat bread in your diet to build strong enamel. You can pair it with orange slices to strengthen oral tissues. And wash it all down with a glass of milk, a yogurt, or even cheese—all of which help fight tooth decay.
It’s common for most people to experience sugar cravings during lunchtime. Try to resist the siren call of candy and baked desserts. Soda and other carbonated drinks are also not an option. Save such treats for after dinner, when you can comfortably get to your toothbrush right afterward.
After lunch, take out your travel toothbrush and start brushing. The movements alone, even with no toothpaste, can remove food particles adhering to teeth. And if your toothbrush isn’t close by, chewing sugarless gum also has similar benefits.
3 p.m.—Afternoon Snack
We’re only putting two snack times in this life guide to healthy teeth because when eating sugary foods, it’s better to eat the entire serving in one sitting rather than spread it throughout the day. For one thing, every time you snack your teeth are engulfed in acid for up to 20 minutes after your last swallow. And it also becomes easier to establish an oral routine like swishing water, eating cheese, brushing teeth, or chewing sugar-free gum afterward.
That way you can have the best of both worlds—Candyland and Healthy Mouthville.
5 p.m.—Exercise and Oral Fitness
Why the link between exercise and oral fitness? Glad you asked. First, the sweetened energy bars and sports drinks most people take before a workout wreak havoc on oral health. The dry mouth that follows an intensive exercise routine also doesn’t help your gums and teeth. Less saliva means there’s reduced antibacterial substances to fight off tooth decay and periodontitis.
Sure, a good workout can do wonders for your cardiovascular organs but it shouldn’t also put your smile at risk. Switch energy drinks for a tall refreshing glass of water. Eat a sugar-free mint or gum to stimulate the production of saliva and reduce the chances of dry mouth.
7 p.m.—Last Supper
The same rules apply for supper as they did for lunch. Make leafy greens the stars of all your meals and instead of lemon tarts for dessert, try apples. It’ll add fiber to your diet and keep you hydrated. Celery is also great at scraping leftover particles from teeth. And you can’t go wrong with lean proteins like fish, chicken, and beef as well as a touch of fluoride-rich seafood.
Even if you can’t eat everything listed because of allergies or sensitivities, adding any of them to your diet will do wonders for your oral health.
9 p.m.—Nightly Oral Hygiene Routine
Start your nightly dental care routine just before going to bed or at least an hour after your last meal. Take the recommended two minutes brushing—30 seconds for each quadrant- and hold the brush at a 45-degree angle to your gums. Remember to clean all the surfaces of your teeth as well as the tongue.
Next up, flossing. Use at least 18 inches of dental floss, moving it up and down in a cyclic motion following the curve of your teeth so as not to damage gums. If you’re having a hard time with this, consider trying a dental pick or pre-threaded flosser instead to reach any plaque, particles, and debris between your teeth.
Always remember, there’s only so much you can do at home. Schedule regular visits to your local dentists for checkups as well as cleanings and you’ll have a well-rounded dental care routine.