Essential Habits Your Dentist Wishes You Followed 

April 12, 2024

We all know the drill – brush twice a day, floss daily, and visit your dentist in Elizabethton, TN, regularly. But let's be honest, sometimes life gets in the way, and those good intentions fall by the wayside. While brushing your teeth after a late-night pizza indulgence might seem like a win, your dentist might have a different perspective. 

Dentists dedicate their careers to keeping our mouths healthy, and while they might not scold us for the occasional slip-up, there are definitely some essential habits they wish we all followed. So, let's peek behind the curtain and unveil the secrets to a smile that would make any dentist proud. 

Dentist in Elizabethton TN with patient

Brushing Basics You Might Be Missing 

Brushing twice a day seems like a no-brainer, but there's more to it than just grabbing your toothbrush and scrubbing for a few seconds. Here's what your dentist wants you to know: 

  • Technique Matters: It's not about force, but about gentle, circular motions that clean the surfaces and gum line of each tooth. Aim for a two-minute brushing session, focusing on all areas of your mouth. 
  • Don't Forget Your Tongue: Bacteria love to hide on your tongue, contributing to bad breath. Brush your tongue gently to remove these bacteria and freshen your breath. 
  • Choose the Right Tools: A soft-bristled brush with a comfortable grip is ideal. Electric toothbrushes can be especially helpful for ensuring a thorough clean, but a manual brush can be just as effective with proper technique. 
  • Replace Your Brush Regularly: Toothbrush bristles become frayed and less effective over time. Replace your brush every three months, or sooner if the bristles become damaged. 

Flossing is Your Friend for Fighting Plaque 

Flossing is another important weapon in your fight against plaque buildup. Here's why your dentist might nudge you to floss more: 

  • Brushing Doesn't Reach Everything: Floss removes plaque and food particles from between your teeth, where your toothbrush can't reach. 
  • Gum Health Matters: Healthy gums are essential for strong teeth. Flossing helps prevent gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss and other health problems. 
  • Flossing Techniques: There are different flossing techniques. Find one that works for you, whether it's using traditional floss, a water flosser, or interdental brushes. 

Be Mindful with What You Eat  

What you eat and drink plays a big role in your oral health. Here's what your dentist might advise regarding your diet: 

  • Limit Sugary Treats: Sugar feeds the bacteria in your mouth, leading to plaque buildup and cavities. Opt for healthier snacks like fruits, vegetables, or nuts. 
  • Stay Hydrated: Water is essential for good health, including your oral health. It helps wash away food particles and keeps your mouth moist, preventing the growth of bacteria. 
  • Consider Calcium-Rich Foods: Calcium is crucial for strong teeth. Include dairy products, leafy green vegetables, and nuts in your diet for a healthy smile. 
woman brushing her teeth as advised by her Dentist in Elizabethton TN

Beyond Brushing and Flossing: Habits for a Healthy Smile 

There's more to oral health than just brushing and flossing. Here are some additional habits your dentist in Elizabethton, TN, might recommend: 

  • Schedule Regular Dental Checkups: Aim for a dental checkup and cleaning at least once, and preferably twice, a year. These visits allow your dentist to identify and address any potential problems early on. 
  • Don't Use Your Teeth as Tools: Your teeth are meant for chewing food, not for opening bottles or cracking nuts. Doing so can damage your teeth or cause them to crack. 
  • Consider a Mouthguard: If you grind your teeth at night, a mouthguard can protect your teeth from wear and tear. 
  • Kick Bad Habits: Smoking and excessive use of alcohol can significantly damage your oral health. Quitting smoking and limiting alcohol intake are crucial steps towards a healthy smile. 

Making Oral Care a Priority 

Developing good oral hygiene habits takes time and effort, but the benefits are well worth it. Here are some tips to make oral care a priority: 

  • Find a Routine that Works for You: Set reminders on your phone or create a morning and evening routine that incorporates brushing and flossing. 
  • Make it Fun: Choose a flavored toothpaste or a fun electric toothbrush to make brushing more enjoyable, especially for children. 
  • Reward Yourself: Track your progress and reward yourself for sticking to your oral care routine. 

Beyond the Basics: Advanced Oral Care Strategies 

While the core habits discussed above are fundamental, there's always room to take your oral care routine a step further. Here are some additional strategies your dentist might recommend for a truly exceptional smile: 

Tongue Scraping  

A coated tongue can contribute to bad breath. Using a tongue scraper gently removes bacteria and debris, promoting fresher breath. 

Consider Sealants 

Sealants are thin protective coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of back teeth, particularly molars. They act as a barrier against plaque and food particles, reducing the risk of cavities, especially for children and teenagers. 

Don't Forget Your Gums  

Healthy gums are the foundation of a healthy smile. Look for toothpaste with ingredients that promote gum health, and be gentle with your gums when brushing and flossing to avoid irritation. 

Diet Beyond Food  

Certain medications can contribute to dry mouth, which can increase the risk of cavities.  If you take medications, discuss any potential side effects with your doctor or dentist.  They may recommend strategies to keep your mouth moist, such as sugar-free lozenges or increased water intake. 

Pay Attention to Changes 

Be mindful of any changes in your mouth, such as persistent bad breath, bleeding gums, or tooth sensitivity. These can be early signs of underlying issues, and early detection is key to preventing more serious problems. 

Building a Partnership with Your Dentist 

Your dentist is your ally in maintaining a healthy smile. To get the most out of your appointments, open communication is key. Discuss any concerns you have, big or small. Early detection is important for successful treatment, so don't be shy about asking questions.  The more you understand about your treatment plan, proper hygiene techniques, and your overall dental health, the better equipped you'll be to take care of your teeth.  

Finally, remember that your dentist's recommendations are specific to you. Following their advice, whether it's using a certain toothpaste, scheduling extra cleanings, or pursuing specific treatments, will help you achieve optimal oral health

woman flossing as advised by her Dentist in Elizabethton TN

Need an Appointment with a Dentist in Elizabethton, TN? 

Empower yourself with a winning smile strategy! Schedule your next dental checkup with Martin Dentistry and discuss these essential habits with our friendly team. Together, we can create a personalized plan for optimal oral health. Contact us today

tools used by Dentists in Elizabethton TN