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  Your mouth is the gateway to your overall health. Having clean teeth and healthy gums doesn’t just give you a bright, confident smile – it also impacts your ability to eat, speak properly, and fend off disease throughout your whole body. Poor oral hygiene can lead to gum disease, tooth decay, dental pain, and even complicated health issues like heart disease and diabetes if neglected long-term. That’s why establishing good oral care habits is so important from a young age through adulthood. Maintaining healthy teeth and gums requires consistent, thorough cleaning routines. Use these tips to keep your mouth in tip-top shape:
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  • Brush Thoroughly Twice a Day

One of the most crucial habits for oral hygiene is brushing your teeth twice daily – once in the morning after breakfast, and again before going to bed. Plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, constantly builds up and can harden into tartar if not removed regularly. Take at least two full minutes to thoroughly brush all tooth surfaces using gentle circular or back-and-forth motions. Don’t forget to brush your tongue too! Use a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste to remove plaque and prevent cavities.
  • Floss Once a Day

Food particles and plaque get stuck between teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach. That’s why daily flossing is just as essential as brushing for preventing tooth decay and gum disease. The floss dislodges built-up debris to keep your gum line healthy. Try flossing just before brushing your teeth at night so you can brush away any loosened plaque or food remnants. Work the floss gently in a C-shape against one tooth, then the other, making sure to clean beneath the gumline too.
  • Use an Antiseptic Mouthwash

Rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash can help kill bacteria and prevent gum disease when used as part of your daily oral care routine. Choose an ADA-approved mouthwash with active ingredients like cetylpyridinium chloride or essential oils. After brushing and flossing, take 30-60 seconds to swish the mouthwash around and through your teeth. This helps further reduce plaque and rinse away any remaining debris. Don’t skip this important step!
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  • Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water aids in oral health by keeping your mouth hydrated and producing enough saliva, which acts as a natural plaque-fighting rinse. Saliva also helps neutralize acid that causes tooth enamel erosion. Make sure to stay well hydrated throughout each day. Having a chronic dry mouth can contribute to dental issues like tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath, and fungal infections. Sip water regularly or chew sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva production.
  • Eat Crunchy, Cleansing Foods  

Certain foods have a cleansing effect on teeth when you eat them. Crisp, crunchy fruits and veggies like apples, carrots, celery, and cucumbers help scrub away plaque and increase saliva flow as you chew. On the other hand, sticky sweets like candy and dried fruits can adhere to teeth and cause decay, so limit those. Focus on adding plenty of tooth-cleansing, high-fibre fruits and veggies to your diet.
  • Schedule Regular Dental Cleanings

Even with diligent at-home oral care, plaque and tartar inevitably build up over time in areas you can’t access through brushing and flossing alone. That’s why regular professional cleanings with a dental hygienist are necessary. Most dentists recommend getting your teeth professionally cleaned every six months. During these cleanings, the hygienist uses specialized tools to remove hardened tartar and thoroughly polish your teeth. This reset helps you continue good oral hygiene habits at home.
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Final Thoughts

Don’t underestimate the lasting impacts of poor oral health. Your teeth and gums affect so many aspects of your overall wellness for life. By prioritizing these straightforward daily cleaning habits, you can maintain a happy, healthy, problem-free smile for years to come! Your mouth will thank you.
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This article was first published on 15th May 2024


Chidiogo Shalom Akaelu holds a degree in English and Literary Studies, from the University of Nigeria. She is a freelance writer, editor and founder of Loana Press, a budding online publishing outlet.

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