Most people are aware of the basic oral hygiene practices that are essential for maintaining sound oral health, which generally include brushing the teeth twice a day, flossing once a day, using a mouthwash with fluoride and seeing the dentist twice a year for regular cleanings and dental exams. To help you further optimize your oral health, family and cosmetic dentist Dr. Darian Hampton shares the following three surprising oral health tips.
#1: Your Toothbrush Needs Proper Care Too
You might brush your teeth twice a day as recommended, but if your toothbrush is full of germs, you may be doing more harm than you think. In fact, bacteria that are residing on your toothbrush can reenter your mouth the next time you use it.
To avoid this gross scenario, rinse your toothbrush bristles with warm water after every use and store it upright, so it has a chance to dry out. Avoid storing your toothbrush in a closed container unless you are traveling. Finally, replace your toothbrush about every four months.
#2: Perform Self-Exams in Between Dental Appointments
As with other types of cancer, oral cancer can be serious if it is not detected and treated early on. However, individuals who do have oral cancer generally have a better prognosis the earlier it is detected and addressed.
That is why it is important to perform self-examinations in between your regular visits to the Hamptons Family and Cosmetic Dentistry office. Once a month, use a mirror and a bright light to peer inside your mouth. Look for any abnormalities, including white or red patches anywhere inside your mouth and unexplained lumps in the soft oral tissue. Oral cancer can occur anywhere in the mouth’s interior, including on the inside of the cheeks, the gums, the roof of the mouth and the tongue. If you detect any abnormalities, contact Dr. Hampton for an appointment right away, so he can conduct a thorough dental exam.
#3: Chew Xylitol-Sweetened Gum
You have most likely heard that you should not chew gum regularly because the sugar contained in it can increase your risk of tooth decay. This is true. However, recent studies have shown that regularly chewing gum that is sweetened with xylitol instead of sugar might actually help prevent tooth decay. This is because bacteria naturally feed on sugar, so chewing gum or breath mints that are sweetened with xylitol might “starve” the bacteria, stopping their growth.
One of the Best Things You Can Do for Your Oral Health
Aside from brushing and flossing, the best thing you can do to maintain good oral health is to keep your twice-yearly appointments for your routine dental cleanings and exams. That way, Dr. Hampton can keep an eye on your oral health and let you know if anything has changed.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Hampton to evaluate your oral health, contact the Hamptons Family and Cosmetic Dentistry by calling (972) 395-9292.