Have you been thinking about setting healthy habits in 2020? It’s an excellent time of year to start new good habits and perhaps try to get rid of a few bad ones. Blackstone Family Dentistry is here to help you with a few suggestions.

Use the right brush and improve your brushing technique

Most people understand the importance of brushing at least twice a day to remove plaque, clean their teeth, and kill bacteria. Studies show that your brushing technique is nearly as crucial as brushing itself.

Brushing too hard can damage your gums and the enamel on your teeth. Damaged enamel leads to tooth sensitivity and gum erosion.

The American Dental Association recommends choosing a soft bristle toothbrush to brush in a gentle, circular motion.

Brush at the right time (not right after eating)

Did you know dentists recommend waiting at least 60 minutes after eating or drinking to brush your teeth? This is especially true after eating or drinking something acidic, like lemons or soda. Acid attacks the enamel of your teeth. Unfortunately, brushing too soon can rub the acid into your teeth and do more damage than good.

Make a resolution to pay more attention to when you brush your teeth. Avoid brushing your teeth for 30 to 60 minutes after eating or drinking. Instead, rinse your mouth out with water, use mouthwash, or chew sugarless gum.

Replace your toothbrush more frequently

When was the last time you replaced your toothbrush? It’s hard to keep track of those details when life gets hectic. Dentists recommend replacing your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months. Old bristles become frayed and broken, making it harder to keep your pearly whites sparkling.

When you purchase a new toothbrush, put an “event” in your calendar for three months from that date to remind you when it’s time to replace your toothbrush. When you’re standing in the grocery store aisle, feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of toothbrushes, look for a brush with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

Eat crunchy veggies and fruits

Fresh, crunchy vegetables and fruits are packed with healthy fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Crispy, crunchy fruits and veggies also help clean plaque from your teeth and can even freshen your breath!

Many fruits and veggies also contain loads of antioxidants, like vitamin C, that promote healthy gums and help ward off bacterial infections.

Keep your teeth and gums healthier this year by making a habit of regularly eating fresh, crisp, crunchy fruits and veggies.

Visit your dentist twice a year

Even the best flossers and brushers need to visit the dentist regularly. Most dentists recommend scheduling a checkup every six months. During your checkup, the dentist will remove plaque, check for cavities, and look for other early signs of health issues. Catching problems early increases the chance that treatments will be more effective.

It is especially critical to visit your dentist regularly if you have a history of oral health issues, like cavities or gingivitis. Contact Blackstone Family Dentistry to schedule your checkups!

BONUS: Two bad habits to break

In addition to adding healthy habits to your life, consider curbing or eliminating a few bad habits. Here are two bad habits to consider kicking this year.

Don’t go to bed with dirty teeth

Brushing your teeth before going to bed helps prevent plaque buildup, gum disease, and cavities.

Every time you eat or drink, the bacteria in your mouth go to work on the bits of food left around your mouth. As the bacteria break down the food, it produces an acid that attacks the enamel, causing cavities and other oral health issues.

Going to bed without brushing your teeth gives the plaque a chance to harden and calcify on your teeth. Once the plaque calcifies, it’s tough to remove it by flossing or brushing. Your dental hygienist will need to scrape it away at your next checkup.

It’s much more comfortable and healthier to get in the habit of brushing your teeth right before you head to bed.

Curb the grinding habit

Many people have an unconscious habit of clenching or grinding their teeth either at night when they sleep or during the day. There are a variety of reasons people develop the habit of grinding and clenching their teeth. Stress and anxiety are common causes, as well as an abnormal bite or missing or crooked teeth.

Regardless of the cause, grinding your teeth wears them down and can lead to more serious oral health issues. Wearing a small mouth guard at night to protect your teeth can help protect them if this is an issue for you.  Blackstone Family Dentistry can make a custom fit guard for you that is more comfortable than the one-size-fits-all guards you find in drug stores.

By developing healthy habits and curbing bad choices you will maintain strong teeth, healthy gums, and a beautiful smile.

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