Seeing your dentist for regular preventive care appointments is important, but did you know that there’s something even more crucial you can do to preserve your oral health? It may surprise you to learn that your at-home dental hygiene regimen is the single most important step that you can take to prevent tooth decay — even more important than dental visits.
While many people brush their teeth every morning, you should also make sure you’re taking care of your teeth at night before bed, too. Dr. William Harper is a Poquoson/Newport News, VA dentist who helps patients take care of their teeth so they can have healthy, beautiful smiles. Learn more about how you can improve your nighttime oral health routine to have the best oral health possible.
1. Learn how to brush and floss correctly
Brushing and flossing are a vital part of maintaining good oral health. However, if you are not brushing and flossing properly, you might actually be doing more harm than good to your teeth and gums. Floss in between teeth and at and just under the gum line.to remove leftover food particles and plaque. You should be using a soft-bristled ADA-approved toothbrush and a toothpaste with added fluoride, gently brush your teeth in circular motions, paying special attention to the hard-to-reach places such as behind the teeth.
2. Floss before bed
After a day of eating and drinking, plaque will have built up on the teeth. The oral bacteria that feed on plaque and your tooth enamel love the dark, moist environment in your mouth while sleeping, and plaque will continue to build up while you sleep. Although Dr. Harper and most dentists would like you to floss more than once a day, if you’re only going to floss once a day, make it before bed to avoid plaque building up even further during sleep.
3. Use an electric toothbrush
An electric toothbrush can help some people improve the effectiveness of their nighttime oral hygiene routine. Electric toothbrushes are better at removing plaque because they provide powerful brushing movements that you can’t perform with a manual toothbrush. It’s not absolutely necessary to use an electric toothbrush, but using them can be fun and having something you look forward to using can make you more likely to take the extra few minutes to brush your teeth.
4. Make sure you don’t grind your teeth
Many people grind their teeth at night but are completely unaware of it. If you find yourself waking up with a sore jaw or feel tension in your jaw or neck, you may be suffering from bruxism — the clinical term for tooth grinding. This habit can damage your tooth enamel if left untreated. If you suspect you grind your teeth at night, talk to Dr. Harper or your area dentist about treating this issue with a mouth guard to wear while you’re sleeping.
Promoting Healthy Smiles in Newport News, VA
Taking proper care of your teeth at night can help you keep your smile healthy and beautiful for years to come. In addition to regular visits with Dr. Harper, make sure your at-home oral hygiene routine includes both morning and nighttime teeth care. Contact our Poquoson/Newport News office online or by phone at 757.414.7227 to schedule your appointment.