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Educational Resources from Your Houston Dentist

A Few Words about Healthy Habits

While ensuring that you keep your smile looking and feeling good between dental checkups is relatively simple, many people struggle to establish a dental care routine at home. Research conducted at University College London indicates that establishing a habit can take as little as 18 days or as many as 84 days. No matter the amount of time it takes to make a behavior automatic, the first step is mindfulness and commitment. Look at your daily routine, and identify times during the day when you can take a couple of minutes to take care of your teeth:

  • Right before you leave for work, stop by the bathroom and brush your teeth.
  • Have a travel kit in your desk or locker so you can clean up after lunch or a coffee break.
  • Brush and floss just before bed to get rid of the day’s built up plaque and set the stage for a clean mouth tomorrow.

Basics of At-Home Oral Care

  1. Brushing. According to the ADA, everyone should brush their teeth two times per day for approximately two minutes each time. Use a soft-bristled brush and a mildly abrasive toothpaste to ensure that you effectively remove plaque and bacteria but do not damage the enamel. If you think you might need to “brush up” on your brushing technique, check out this helpful video from the ADA’s Mouth Healthy campaign.
  2. Flossing. You should floss once every day, preferably at bedtime, to remove plaque and particles of food from between the teeth. Flossing daily has been firmly linked to reduced instances of tooth decay and gum disease. Waxed floss works best. If you have a problem holding dental floss properly, you may want to try handheld flossers or a water-flossing device.

If you just can’t get to a bathroom to brush or floss after you eat, chew sugar-free gum or, at the very least, rinse your mouth out with water. This will leave you with fresher breath and reduced oral bacteria until you can brush again.

Smile-Friendly Lifestyle Choices

  1. Cut down on sugar. Dietary sugar can lead directly to the development of tooth decay and gum disease and, unfortunately, sugar makes up a significant part of the American diet. Even foods we wouldn’t expect to contain sugar, like whole wheat crackers and canned soup, have added sweeteners or starches. To combat all this, pay attention to nutrition labels when you do your grocery shopping. Choose items that have a lower sugar content per serving. Be aware of sugar in the beverages you drink and select sugar-free options like unsweetened tea or water.
  2. Say goodbye to tobacco products. Whether you smoke or chew tobacco, that habit can spell disaster for your smile. Regularly smoking or chewing can give you bad breath, stain your enamel, and increase your risk for developing a host of oral health disorders from gum disease to oral cancer. Finding the support you need to kick the habit can be found at http://www.smokefree.gov/.

An exceptional dentist with a deeply felt concern for providing customized care for her patients, Dr. Deborah Gennero offers a high level of clinical excellence to the Houston area. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Deborah Gennero, please contact us today. A Houston dentist, Dr. Deborah Gennero proudly provides preventive, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry to the entire Houston area, including Clear Lake, The Woodlands, Katy, West Houston, and Sugarland.

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