Everyone knows that brushing your teeth twice a day is important and helps to keep your teeth healthy. Is that enough though?

When it comes to creating a good oral hygiene routine, there is more that you can do than just brushing! Brushing is very important, but brushing alone is not enough to keep up your oral health and avoid cavities and other issues. Below are 8 best practices you can put in place to keep your teeth and gums healthy!

1. Brush regularly but not aggressively.

Brushing is most effective when you are using the correct technique. When brushing your teeth, you should use small circular motions, and make sure you are brushing the front, back, and top of every tooth. Brushing all of your teeth properly should take about 2-3 minutes, so take your time and make sure you do it properly!

As you brush, make sure you are not too aggressive, as brushing too hard can cause damage to your tooth enamel and your gums.

2. Floss every day.

Flossing is just as important as brushing your teeth, but while brushing twice a day is something that most people commit to, flossing often gets neglected. Flossing removes the plaque and bacteria from between your teeth and your toothbrush can’t reach, so it is an important part of making sure your entire mouth gets cleaned and remove any bacteria that could cause you issues.

Many people do not floss because they find it too difficult, or they don’t like to do it. Don’t let these things stop you! There are many different flossing tools available, so if traditional floss doesn’t work for you, try something else until you find what works for you, or ask your dentist what they recommend for you.

3. Know when to replace your toothbrush.

You should replace your toothbrush every 3 months, or when the ends of the bristles start to look frayed, whichever comes first. Changing your toothbrush regularly means you will be removing as much plaque and bacteria as possible and keeping your mouth cleaner!

4. Drink more water.

Instead of sipping on pop, juice, or other sugary drinks, drink water! These sugary drinks can increase your risk of cavities as the sugars in them react with the bacteria in your mouth to form plaque. Plaque then sticks to your teeth, and if it is not removed in time, can cause cavities. Drinking water reduces the amount of sugar in your mouth and prevents the buildup of plaque. Water can also help wash out some of the sugars or other food particles in your mouth, preventing them from building up on or between your teeth as well.

5. Use fluoride.

Fluoride helps to prevent cavities by fighting the germs that lead to decay, and also by providing a protective barrier for your teeth. When buying your toothpaste or mouthwash, check to make sure they include fluoride!

6. Limit sugary foods and starches.

Just like sugary drinks, the sugars and starches in the foods you eat can lead to cavities. In order to avoid cavities from these foods, you can limit your intake, and also make sure you brush your teeth after each meal. You don’t have to avoid these foods entirely, but it is important to be mindful of how they can affect your teeth so that you can take care of them properly.

7. Don’t neglect your tongue.

Plaque does not just build up on your teeth, it can build up on your tongue as well! The plaque and builds up on your tongue can cause bad breath, as well as other oral health issues. When you are brushing your teeth, make sure you gently brush your tongue as well to remove any built up plaque or bacteria.

8. See a dentist regularly.

This is perhaps the most important thing you can do to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Your dentist will be able to check for visual signs of cavities, gum disease, oral cancer, and other oral health issues that you would not be able to see or treat on your own. They will also be able to use dental x-rays to detect issues below the surface of your teeth. Seeing a dentist regularly will allow you to catch issues early and get them treated before they become more serious.

A professional dental cleaning will also help you remove any built up plaque and tartar from your teeth. Even if you are diligent in your oral hygiene routine, you will still have some tartar build up, and it is important to go to a professional to have your teeth cleaned regularly!

In order to take proper care of your teeth in between dental visits, it is important that you brush your teeth twice a day, floss once a day, and follow the rest of these best practices in order to keep your teeth and gums happy and healthy! If you have any questions about what you should implement in your oral hygiene routine, or think there is a problem with your teeth or gums, contact your dentist and make an appointment.