With Ontario’s public health authorities extending social distancing orders, it’s safe to say that you won’t be seeing your dentist for a checkup for the next while. However, there’s so much you can do at home to ensure that your oral healthcare needs are being taken care of. As we often say at the Little Green Building, education is a key component to preventative dental care. In other words, we do our best to equip our patients with only the most essential knowledge to keeping your teeth and gums in top shape by developing consistent habits and a well-rounded oral care routine.
The quality of your dental routine comes down to many factors, some of which you may not even realize. While many of us at home have had to create a new daily routine, it’s important to keep your diet teeth-friendly, and your brushing and flossing habits as consistent as always.
We may not be able to see our patients for non-emergency services right now, but we are always available by phone. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have and are more than willing to help in any way during these uncertain times. We check our messages on a regular basis and will return your call as quickly as possible. In the meantime, here are several at-home oral healthcare tips that we can provide that are accessible, easy and essential to a beautiful, healthy smile.
Tip 1: Brush twice daily, but not right after eating, especially if the food is acidic (soda, citrus fruits etc.) Brushing too soon may damage the enamel while it’s in a weakened state. Instead, restrict your brushing routine to once in the morning and once at night, coupled with flossing.
Tip 2: More family members at home means more toothbrushes on the same counter. To prevent cross-contamination, keep your family’s toothbrushes from touching one another. Allow your brushes to air-dry — keeping them in a closed container may lead to bacteria growth. An open-air container with separate compartments for each brush is a great solution, and you can easily make one yourself at home.
Tip 3: There are many alternatives to dental floss if you find it hard to use. A dental pick or pre-threaded flosser will do the trick, or tiny brushes that reach between the teeth. Traditional floss is, of course, the recommended tool as it is proven to be the most effective for eliminating leftover food particles.
Tip 4: There is such thing as over-brushing your teeth, and it can be harmful. Brushing more than twice a day, or too vigorously, can cause gum recession, leading to sensitive teeth that are more prone to decay. Stick to the 2 x 2 rule – twice daily, two minutes each.
Tip 5: For some of us, all this time at home means more frequent trips to the snack cupboard. If you’re indulging in a sweet treat, do so during mealtimes. It allows saliva the opportunity to neutralize and buffer the acids. However, as often as possible, choose the snack that will make your teeth and gums the happiest, such as a piece of cheese, nuts, yogurt or a crunchy fibrous fruit, like an apple. Fresh fruit is a better alternative to dried fruit, which contains a lot of sugar.
Tip 6: Even if your normal daily routine has changed, keep your oral care routine intact. Good habits and consistency are key to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. If it helps, make yourself a checklist and cross them off each day. That way, you don’t have to rely on memory to recall how often you’ve been flossing.
Tip 7: Your teeth love food that’s rich in Calcium, Vitamin C and Phosphorus, such as yogurt, beans, fish, eggs, cheese spinach, potatoes, tomatoes and peppers. Nutrition plays a big part in optimal oral health. So, when you’re experimenting in the kitchen, make sure that you’re infusing your dishes with the vitamins and minerals that keep your smile healthy.