With all they can do, many busy moms forget to take care of themselves – especially their teeth. Here are some reasons to make the extra time and some tips to help you keep your dental health tip top.
Disinfect Before And After Every Cleaning
Buy yourself an Isopropyl alcohol spray bottle. Drug stores sell them. Then, pick up a few bottles of alcohol that you can use to refill your bottle when it’s empty. Before you brush, spray the toothbrush bristles and let them air out. You could, for example, spray them and then take a shower. When you get out, it should be dry.
What this does is kill off all the bacteria that are living in your bristles. When you’re done brushing, spritz the toothbrush again and put it away.
Your kids will probably not immediately appreciate this, but if you build a routine around it, and let them spray your brush, along with their own, it becomes a sort of game and something to look forward to every day.
Brush Twice A Day
Most moms would benefit from brushing twice a day. And, the good news is that it really doesn’t have to be that hard. Brush with your kids. Once you’ve taught them (lead by example), you can brush right along with them – it’ll be a family event.
A word about timing. Most people only brush for an average of 42 seconds. This isn’t nearly enough time to get anything done. You should brush for at least 2 minutes, with the brush head angled up into your gums. Brush back and forth or, alternatively, in small circles.
You don’t need to overthink this one. Set a timer for 2 minutes and start at the top back, work your way around the top row and move to the bottom. Brush the back side of your teeth, then the biting surfaces.
At night, you should really pay attention to removing any food from dinner. That’s because, when you sleep, saliva output drops dramatically and so there’s not as much defense happening in your mouth as there is during the day.
Change Your Toothbrush
Change your toothbrush at least once every six months. When the bristles become frayed, it’s also a good idea to change out your brush. Once the bristles get stiff, they become too abrasive and may damage your gums or enamel. If you find yourself replacing your brush more than every 6 months, you may be brushing too aggressively.
Only 12 percent of the population flosses daily. If you’re not one of them, you should start. Flossing removes food particles and bacteria that can make a home between your teeth, causing inflammation and, eventually, gum disease.
Flossing should be done carefully so as to not disturb your gums or push bacteria down into your tooth cavity. To do this, place the floss securely between two fingers and break it between two teeth, pulling the floss gently back and forth and to one side of the two teeth you’re working on.
Slide it all the way down behind the gum and then back out. Now slide it to the other side, down, and back up. This video will give you a visual of the process.
Rinse Your Mouth If You Have Early Gum Disease
If your gums are inflamed, you will want to rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash twice a day, once in the morning, and once before bed. Choose a mouthwash that doesn’t contain whitening products added to the rinse. These products can be harsh to use on your teeth every day. And, if you have an inflammatory problem, you’re primary goal is to eliminate the bacteria causing the inflammation.
Swish the rinse in your mouth for at least 30 seconds. Most moms find this hard to do because the feeling of alcohol in your mouth is very intense.
Go To The Dentist
Don’t forget to go to the dentist. A quick visit to Alcan Dental Group, for example, will tell you the overall state of your teeth, how well you’re doing with your oral hygiene, and whether there are any developing issues in your mouth.
You’ll also get a professional cleaning, which can clean out tartar and stains that you can’t easily get to at home.
Many dentists also offer professional polishing and whitening, which you might want to do if you have stained teeth. Whitening services aren’t usually covered by insurance, but almost every insurer covers basic cleaning. And, it’s a proven way to reduce tartar and plaque buildup.
Dr. Scott Laudon graduated from Oregon Heath and Science University in 1988. He then went on to serve in the US Army in Darmstadt, Germany for the next three years and spent eleven months in Saudi Arabia as a part of Desert Storm.