With a brand new year on the horizon, this is the perfect time to think about working towards excellent dental habits in 2020. While resolutions are not something everyone enjoys, a fresh start can still be exciting, and taking advantage of that energy can often lead to lasting positive change. We are all about healthy teeth and mouths here at Coppe + Sears, so our team has put together our top 5 tips to keep your smile in shape for 2020…and beyond!
Brush and floss regularly (and correctly)
Even with a solid brushing and flossing routine in place, it is worth reviewing the guidelines from time to time since recommendations can change. While everyone knows how essential brushing and flossing are when it comes to keeping the teeth and gums clean, many do not realize that how these tasks are carried out is almost as important as how often they are done. Getting back to basics can help!
When bacterial plaque is allowed to accumulate over time, it can cause cavities, tooth decay, and even gum disease to develop in some cases. In order to successfully remove plaque, there are some fundamental rules to follow.
- Brush all the teeth every time, and be consistent when brushing across each tooth.
- Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle gently against the gum line.
- Brush from the base of the tooth up to the chewing surface in circular motions.
- Use short, round strokes for the front and the back of teeth.
- Use short, sweeping strokes for the chewing surfaces.
- Brush the tongue and roof of the mouth from back to front.
- Replace toothbrushes every few months, or after any illness.
- Floss once per day
- Use a fluoride rinse once per day (such as ACT)
See a dentist regularly for checkups
Visiting our office every 6 months for a checkup is a great way to keep teeth and gums healthy. It also allows our expert team to check for any potential or developing issues that may need attention.
These appointments will usually have two parts: an examination by one of our doctors, and a thorough cleaning of the teeth by a hygienist. We will check for cavities and take x-rays if they are needed. The orthodontic situation is evaluated at every visit to screen for any developing bite issues. We will also look for any plaque and tartar accumulation. This is particularly important since sticky plaque can harden into tartar if it is not removed, and tartar cannot be removed with simple brushing and flossing (we remove it with our special instruments). Leaving both of these unchecked can lead to oral disease, which is one reason we encourage patients to let us take a look regularly.
We use special tools to remove plaque and tartar in a process referred to as “scaling.” Once this has been completed, we may polish the teeth as well, using a gritty paste to help remove any surface stains. We will then floss the teeth to ensure the areas in between them are clean, after which a topical fluoride varnish is applied in most cases. During this visit, our doctors will often carry out a careful examination of the tongue, bite, throat, face, head, and neck to look for any signs of swelling, redness, or possible signs of cancer.
Regular checkups with our Lexington office help rule out any potential cavities and allow us to catch any concerns that are not immediately apparent to keep smiles shining bright throughout the year!
Healthier foods lead to a healthier smile
What we eat and drink can have a big impact on how our bodies function. The beginning of a brand new year is a great time to focus on healthy food habits that can improve oral health. Aim for meals and snacks that are good for the body, mind, and mouth, such as:
Milk and other dairy products
Milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy pack a calcium-filled punch that helps to keep bones and teeth strong.
Whole grain breads and pastas
The complex carbohydrates contained in whole grain products can give bacteria less digestible food for growth, and provide an abundance of nutrients that keep teeth and gums healthy.
Chicken, red meat, and fatty fish
While we usually hail these foods as good sources of protein, they also contain phosphorus, an important mineral that strengthens and protects enamel.
Fresh fruits and vegetables
Fruits and veggies offer our bodies high amounts of magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C, beta carotene, calcium and magnesium. These minerals help improve and maintain oral health.
Plan for cleaning on the go
Families are busier than ever these days, and patients may find themselves needing to brush and floss while out and about. Stock a small bag with toothpaste, a toothbrush, and floss for an easy way to keep smiles sparkling away from home! We recommend brushing and flossing after every meal, especially for patients undergoing orthodontic treatment with Dr. Sears. For those in braces, dental wax is a good addition to this kit, as it provides a quick fix for loose brackets or bent wires.
Coppe + Sears is building beautiful smiles in 2020
Coppe + Sears are proud to help Lexington patients of all ages build a foundation for a lifetime of healthy smiles. Our experienced doctors are supported by a capable and caring team, with a wide variety of services to help our patients achieve excellent oral health and a beautiful smile. The simple tips we have listed above are an easy way to get a great start on oral health in the coming year! For more information on achieving a bright, healthy smile in 2020, contact our office or click here to schedule an appointment.