Build a strong smile habit by habit

Developing a consistent routine can help you achieve your goals, no matter what they are. For example, working out at the same time each day will make you more likely to continue exercising in the future.

And the same is true for your oral health! By practicing good oral health habits day in and day out, you’ll reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth and help prevent plaque, tartar, bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease.

The prevention of gum disease is especially important because it protects your overall health by reducing your body’s overall inflammation – and inflammation is a key risk factor for serious issues such as heart disease, respiratory issues, diabetes, and cognitive health problems.

Daily brushing and flossing for the win

To see these benefits, you’ll need to practice consistent, healthy habits that protect your teeth and gums. This will include a regular daily brushing routine and other best practices that keep your mouth clean and your smile strong.

To maximize your results:

  • Use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Don’t overdo it – just a little dab is enough!
  • Brush at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush for two minutes each time, reaching the entire surface of each tooth.
  • Angle the bristles toward your gum line to reach between your gums and your teeth.
  • Spit out excess toothpaste but wait 30 minutes before rinsing your mouth entirely. Rinsing too early can wash away the fluoride before it can help strengthen your teeth.
  • Rinse off your toothbrush and store it upright in a clean, dry place.
  • Replace your toothbrush or toothbrush head every three to four months (or sooner if it looks frayed).
  • Floss daily as part of your oral hygiene routine.

Another vital habit is maintaining regular dental appointments. Most dental plans cover 100% of the cost of preventive care like checkups and cleanings. In addition to maintaining your oral health, these appointments help your dentist detect any issues early, so you can begin treatment and avoid more complex and costly procedures later.

Simple habits that protect your smile

It’s easy to pick up these healthy habits, which can help reduce mouth bacteria and keep your mouth fresh all day long.

  • Learn to love water: Drinking water throughout the day (and after you eat) helps wash away sugar and food debris. It is a healthier choice than an acidic sports drink or sugary soda, and most tap water provides the added benefit of protecting your teeth with fluoride!
  • Limit sugary desserts: When your sweet tooth strikes, look for options with less sugar, like dark chocolate or our banana-berry ice cream recipe. It also helps to eat any treats during or after a meal, when your body naturally produces more saliva to wash down food.
  • Choose healthy foods with a crunch: When you do snack, reach for nutritious, crunchy fruits and vegetables like apples, pears, carrots, and celery. They help stimulate saliva and can also provide smile-friendly vitamins and nutrients.
  • No snacking after your evening brush: One goal of your evening brush is to have a clean mouth while you sleep. Don’t feed bacteria with your late-night snack!
  • Plan for special events and travel: Set reminders so you maintain your brushing routine and make sure your toothbrush remains clean and dry while you’re on the move.
  • Protect yourself from injury: Wear a mouth guard and other safety gear whenever you play sports or other physical activities.
  • Watch out for the sun: Wear sunscreen and lip balm with SPF 30 and re-apply often to protect your skin and lips.
  • Don’t use tobacco products: Smoking cigarettes harms nearly every organ system in your body. If you smoke or use other tobacco products, work toward quitting.

You have the power to develop a strong daily oral health routine. Keep adding healthy habits and soon you’ll be protecting your smile without even thinking about it!