Is mouth hygiene part of your daily ritual? If not, it should be. Your mouth is teeming with bacteria looking for a way into your bloodstream. Although most bacteria in your mouth is harmless, you need to be proactive about maintaining a clean mouth so that harmful bacteria doesn’t get into your system.
There is a strong link between a healthy mouth and overall health. Poor mouth health has been linked to diseases like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and Alzheimer’s. In some studies, treating the disease improved oral health and treating oral health improved disease symptoms.
Visiting a dentist for regular cleanings is central to any dental hygiene strategy, however, caring for your mouth should be part of your daily life. Here are 4 ways to supplement the care you receive from your dentist.
1. Brush regularly even when it’s inconvenient
Everyone knows that brushing your teeth regularly is crucial for maintaining a clean mouth and preventing tooth decay, inflammation, and gum disease. However, it’s not always convenient to brush your teeth. Sometimes you’re late for work or too tired to even pick up your toothbrush.
If you find yourself skipping this important task because you’re too tired or don’t feel like making the effort, you’re cheating yourself out of a healthy mouth.
When you wander into the bathroom first thing in the morning, don’t leave until you’ve brushed your teeth. Set an alarm on your phone as a reminder to brush your teeth before bed. Put a sticky note on the bathroom mirror. Brushing your teeth is not a task worth skipping.
2. Change the order of your mouth care routine
Do you floss before brushing your teeth? Do you use mouthwash before brushing? Whatever your routine is, try changing it up like this:
- Floss first. Flossing is the most effective way to remove food from between your teeth. Floss first to get as much food out of your teeth as possible before you brush.
- Use mouthwash second. By using mouthwash after you’ve flossed, you’ll dislodge and eliminate a majority of food particles before brushing. When you brush, there will be fewer food particles to drag around inside your mouth.
- Brush third. Once you’ve eliminated food particles, brushing will be more effective and you won’t risk shoving food particles back between your teeth.
- Use mouthwash one last time. If you really want a clean mouth, use mouthwash one last time after you brush. You’ll eliminate the last of the dislodged food particles and you’ll have a fresh, clean taste in your mouth. Alternatively, you could rinse your mouth with water.
Another benefit to changing up your routine is breaking the monotony. If routines are boring for you, changing the way you take care of your mouth will make the task less of a drag.
3. Use coconut oil to kill harmful bacteria
Coconut oil is made up of medium-chain triglycerides, including lauric acid. Lauric acid has been shown to kill harmful bacteria, fungi, and viruses in the human body. To take advantage of this effect, all you need to do is start oil pulling.
Oil pulling is just like using mouthwash, except you swish the oil around for a longer period of time. While you might swish mouthwash for 30 seconds or less, with oil pulling you want to vigorously swish the coconut oil around in your mouth for at least ten minutes.
Coconut oil is recommended because out of all fatty acids, lauric acid has been shown to be the most effective against various oral microorganisms.
4. Use a gum stimulator
Gum stimulators look pokey, but they’re not. A gum stimulator is a simple tool used to remove plaque and food particles from the gum line. You can use this tool to pick larger gaps between your teeth or to remove food from gum pockets around partially erupted wisdom teeth.
If you’re really looking for ways to go the extra mile, use a gum stimulator to gently massage the gum line and spaces between all of your teeth. Dentists say massaging the gums increases blood flow which introduces oxygen to that particular area, which might kill harmful bacteria that thrive in anaerobic environments.
Stick with a dentist you know and trust
To get the most out of your brushing efforts, make sure you have a dentist you can trust. If not, get online and search for a local dentist directory. For example, if you’re in Texas and you’re looking for a Fort Worth dental office, HealthGrades.com will give you plenty of dentists to choose from. Start brushing regularly today and show up to your next dental cleaning with teeth clean enough to impress your dentist.