How to Revamp Your Oral Care Routine
By Dr. Wasifa Ahmad Hasan
In this article:
Did you know that oral health is one of the most neglected aspects of wellness? We are often concerned about acne or sunspots and buy countless skin products to get the best skin possible. But when it comes to oral health, we often think a simple toothbrush and any old toothpaste will do the job.
Most cases of dental diseases can be prevented if you know which products to use and how to use them properly. If you learn the science and the “why” behind a product or a step, you can adjust your dental routine accordingly. In this article, I am going to share some easy-to-follow tips to help you update your oral care routine and get the healthiest mouth possible.
A toothbrush is the most basic tool for oral care. Using a toothbrush with too-hard bristles can cause unnecessary strain to the teeth and gum bleeding due to rough abrasion. With prolonged use, it can cause thinning of the enamel and sensitivity. On the other hand, if you use something too soft, it will not clean your teeth properly and food debris and plaque will accumulate, ultimately resulting in gum disease.
This is why I encourage you to find a toothbrush that has medium-hard bristles, like the Oral-B 3D White Luxe Toothbrush in Medium. When brushing, use gentle yet firm pressure and a circular motion to clean the tooth surface, front, and back. Brushing regularly twice a day can give you optimal results if you do it along with flossing. Brushing twice daily for a full two minutes each session is the recommended oral cleaning regime.
It’s best to store your toothbrush in a cool and dry place, and this probably goes without saying, but don’t share your toothbrush with anyone else. You will need to replace your toothbrush after six months or at the first sign of bristle deformity. If your toothbrush is hurting your gums or causing bleeding, change it immediately to a new one with softer bristles.
Before choosing a toothpaste, take a step back and think about your current dental condition. Is it sensitive? Are there any stains? Do you have cavities? Are your teeth and gums relatively healthy? Depending on your oral health, you can pick a toothpaste based on your concerns.
If staining or yellowing is your main problem, opt for whitening toothpaste like the Jason Natural PowerSmile Whitening Paste in Powerful Peppermint.
If you have cavities, try an anticavity toothpaste like Crest 3D White Fluoride Anticavity Toothpaste in Radiant Mint.
If you want to go to the fluoride-free route, there are many products without fluoride like this Hello Fluoride Free Whitening Toothpaste in Activated Charcoal.
If you have sensitive teeth, you can strengthen the enamel by trying out a toothpaste that contains calcium like R.O.C.S. Calcium Power Toothpaste.
There are abundant options to choose from, you just need to browse a little to get a perfect match for you!
A toothbrush alone can not remove all the food particles from your teeth, and that's why dental floss is an important tool to remove plaque and food debris.
Always floss before brushing the tooth. If you are using regular floss, wrap roughly 18-20 inches of floss around the two middle fingers. Then hold the floss firmly between your thumbs and index fingers. Slide floss between teeth, curving it around the tooth, and gently clean between the tooth and gum in a back and forth, up and down motion. Discard after use.
Flossing can be hard for little kids. That is why I use Plackers Kid's Dual Gripz Flossers for my child. The dual grip ergonomic design is easy for kids to hold and use.
Be gentle while flossing, because most of the time if you are being too rough, it results in bleeding. So use a firm yet gentle motion.
If you are wondering why your breath still smells bad even after flossing and cleaning your teeth properly, your tongue might be the culprit. We already have bacteria in our mouths, and most of them are good. However, our tongue can harbor "bad" bacteria, and if you do not clean the tongue, you will develop bad breath and a weird taste in your mouth.
You can simply brush your tongue gently. “Gentle” is the keyword—you don't want to stimulate the gag reflex!
Just like your toothbrush, do not share the tongue cleaner with anyone else.
Mouthwash is something many people feel like they don’t need until they try it. After regular use, you can see a huge improvement in your dental health. Using a mouthwash after brushing the teeth properly promotes gum health, prevents gum disease, and keeps the breath fresh for a long time.
Just like toothpaste, there are different kinds of mouthwash available. Some are best for people with dry mouth, some are specifically for sensitive teeth, mouth sores, or recent dental surgery.
If you do not have any underlying condition, a mouthwash with fluoride is the best choice such as Crest Pro Health Advanced Extra Whitening Mouthwash + Fluoride.
There are also fluoride-free versions available like Mild By Nature Fresh Breath Oral Rinse in Mild Mint if that’s what you prefer.
After flossing and brushing, use mouthwash by swishing it around in the mouth and gargle with it at the back of the throat. Spit the mouthwash out afterward.
If you have bad breath (in dental terms, it’s called halitosis), even after following all the above-mentioned steps, you should consider talking to your dentist about it. They can provide a proper solution.
Teeth grinding is very common and many of us grind our teeth without knowing. It can be caused by mental stress or an underlying physical condition. Some people grind their teeth while sleeping and some people grind their teeth even when they are awake. If you are someone grinding the teeth while sleeping, you can try out dental guards to protect your teeth from damage and get a more restful sleep. I will advise you to consult your dentist first to pinpoint any underlying cause of teeth grinding.
Teeth Whitening Kit
If you have all of your basic supplies but feel like you need some extra oomph to make your teeth sparkle, try out an at-home tooth whitening kit like this one by SuperSmile or the classic Crest WhiteStrips. They are pretty easy to use and can remove light-medium stains from coffee, tea, wine, tobacco, juice, and other culprits. Follow the instructions exactly as written, and always consult your physician or dentist beforehand if you are pregnant and want to use a whitening kit.
Pain Relief Products
People who are suffering from canker and cold sores, gum irritation, cheek bites, or irritation from dentures or braces can use products like pain relief gel. Orajel is the one that is the most recommended. These can offer temporary pain relief. Talk to your dentist about the pain if it continues.
When you learn the science behind oral health care, it's not that hard to follow this guide, is it? Now that you know which products to pick, why you should pick them, and how to use them, you can improve and revamp your oral healthcare routine in no time. But don't forget to get your yearly dentist check-up! Regular checkups along with a solid daily routine can give you the best oral health possible.