1. Choose ADA Approved Oral Hygiene Products
When choosing toothbrushes, mouthwashes, floss and toothpaste, always choose products with the ADA seal of acceptance. This seal indicates that the ADA has thoroughly tested the products, and it meets the stringent guidelines for safety and effectiveness.
2. Consider Using an Electric Toothbrush
Electric toothbrushes contain rotating and vibrating heads, which can remove more plaque and food particles from your teeth than a manual toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes also allow you the ability to concentrate on reaching all the surfaces of your teeth and along the gumline and angling the brush correctly, while the toothbrush automatically provides the brushing action. Electric toothbrushes are also recommended for individuals who may have arthritis or other dexterity problems with their hands that can make brushing difficult.
3. Thoroughly Brush Your Teeth a Minimum of Two Times a Day
The Ada recommends brushing your teeth at least twice a day for three minutes. Most individuals choose to perform this task in the morning and right before bed. However, you can also brush your teeth after every meal, just remember to wait at least 30 minutes after taking your last bite. For individuals with braces and clear aligners, it’s required to brush after each meal in order to remove food particles from around the brackets or before reinserting the clear aligners.
4. Floss Once a Day
In addition to brushing your teeth at least twice a day, it’s important that you floss once every 24 hours. Most individuals choose to floss their teeth at night as part of their bedtime routine, but you can also floss at any point during the day. Flossing helps remove food particles and plaque from between the teeth.
5. Consider Using a Water Flosser
While flossing is the recommended way to remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth, you may also want to consider using a water pick. Water flossers can help remove debris, plaque and food particles from between your teeth and along your gum line to help further improve your at-home oral hygiene routine and prevent cavities and gum disease. However, you’ll still need to floss every day in addition to using your water flosser.
6. Get Regular Dental Cleanings
Individuals of all ages should get regular professional dental cleanings from their local dentist every six months. Getting regular dental checkups and teeth cleanings can help catch problems with your teeth, including cavities, and gum disease before these issues become severe. If you do have cavities at your checkup, your local dentist will fill those cavities during your appointment in order to restore the structural integrity of your teeth and prevent further decay in that cavity.
7. Consider Teeth Straightening
If your teeth are crooked, twisted or crowded, or you have a bad bite, you may have difficulty reaching every surface of your teeth to remove all the plaque, bacteria and food particles. This can lead to cavities in the teeth that are crooked and/or crowded. In order to improve your oral hygiene to prevent cavities, you may want to consider getting braces or clear aligners to straighten your teeth. Teeth straightening with braces usually takes between 12 and 18 months, while teeth straightening with clear aligners typically takes six to 12 months. Not to mention, everyone can now straighten their teeth invisibly, which means if you had braces as a teenager or never had braces and notice your teeth are shifting, you can straighten your teeth as an adult.