by West Coast Dental
Making time for routine preventive appointments with your dentist is important to maintain good overall oral health, but there is something you can do between visits to your dentist. You can develop and follow a healthy night routine.
Most people know they are supposed to brush their teeth every morning when they wake up, but it’s just as important to brush and floss before bedtime. In fact, brushing and flossing at night might even be more important when it comes to preventing tooth decay and maintaining healthy gums. Here are some tips for improving your night routine so that your oral health can be at its best.
1. Learn How to Brush Properly
Brushing your teeth using the correct method is an essential part of good oral care. Brush your teeth at a 45-degree angle in relation to your gums using short strokes. It can be helpful to brush the outer tooth surfaces first, the inner tooth services [behind the teeth] and finally the bottom surfaces of the teeth. Use gentle, up and down strokes making sure you gently hit the gum line.
Stick to Soft Bristles
There are many options available when it comes to choosing a toothbrush, and some toothbrushes are better than others. If you prefer a non-electric toothbrush, be sure to choose one that has soft bristles. A toothbrush with medium or hard bristles can damage your teeth and lead to gum recession. So, you should always opt for a toothbrush with soft bristles.
Use an Electric Toothbrush
Electric toothbrushes are especially effective because they help to remove more debris and plaque from your teeth. An electric toothbrush can also help some people brush more effectively because the toothbrush does most of the work. They are better at removing plaque buildup since they provide powerful brushing movements you cannot replicate with a manual brush.
It isn’t absolutely necessary to use an electric toothbrush to maintain good oral health, but they are enjoyable to use. Many come with a timer so that you spend a full two minutes brushing your teeth which is the recommendation of the American Dental Association (ADA).
2. Floss Before Bedtime
Most people are good about brushing their teeth twice a day, but regular flossing is where many fall short. A toothbrush cannot reach all of the nooks and crannies of your mouth — particularly between teeth — and flossing is the only way to remove debris that may be stuck between teeth. Not flossing creates a breeding ground for bacteria to feed and proliferate which leads to the breakdown of tooth enamel.
Types of Dental Floss
There are many options available for dental floss — each with its pros and cons — and it usually comes down to personal preference. Some of the different types of floss that are available include:
- Unwaxed floss – It works well if your teeth are close together, but it is prone to shred or break.
- Waxed floss – This is less likely to break, but the wax coating makes the floss thicker. So, it can be a challenge to fit it into tighter spaces.
- Dental tape – This option is often more comfortable for people who have more space between their teeth.
Ultimately, you should consider comfortability and consistency when choosing a floss. The floss you’ll use on a consistent basis and the one that feels most comfortable to you is the floss you should choose.
A Waterpik is the brand name of a water flosser that sprays water at your teeth to help remove food and debris that can lead to the formation of plaque. This substance is the film that develops on teeth and turns into tartar which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
The ADA’s stance on water flossers is that they can help to remove plaque build-up on the teeth. However, the Mayo Clinic has found water flossers don’t remove plaque as well as traditional floss and therefore should not replace traditional brushing and flossing.
3. Protect Your Teeth From Grinding
Many people grind their teeth at night while asleep. This can cause headaches and jaw pain. It can even wear down your tooth enamel over time. People grind their teeth for many reasons — stress, anxiety or some other medical reason — but it’s essential that you get help for teeth grinding before it becomes a major problem If it gets bad enough, you might have to get tooth restoration procedures to repair the damage.
Talk to Your Dentist About Teeth Grinding
Schedule an exam with your dentist and talk about the right treatment plan for your teeth grinding before it causes permanent damage. Dentists can create a custom splint or mouthguard for you to wear at night to protect your teeth while you sleep.
4. Rinse With Mouthwash
There are two main types of mouthwash: (1) cosmetic and (2) therapeutic. Cosmetic mouthwash is used primarily to combat bad breath and to leave behind a pleasant taste. Beyond that, these types of rinses do not kill bacteria. Therapeutic mouthwash, however, has active ingredients that can help to control or reduce conditions such as bad breath, plaque, gum disease and tooth decay
The ADA recommends looking for the following active ingredients when choosing a therapeutic mouthwash:
- Cetylpyridinium chloride
- Essential oils
5. Be Consistent
It’s important to maintain your healthy night routine at all times — even when you are away from home. It can be difficult to restart a healthy habit after an interruption. Avoid this by prioritizing your nighttime oral health habits even when you’re traveling or on vacation.
Catch Small Issues Before They Become Big Problems
In addition to following a healthy night routine for good oral health, it’s important to see your dentist regularly. Routine visits are the best way to catch small issues before they turn into expensive, painful problems. At West Coast Dental, we are here to help you maintain healthy teeth and gums.
If you are due for a dental appointment, please call us at 888-329-8111 or book an appointment online. With a number of locations available, you can schedule your appointment at the clinic that is most convenient for you.
MouthHealthy – Water Flossing
Colgate – How to Brush Your Teeth Properly
WebMD – What Is a Waterpik?
American Dental Association (ADA) – Mouthwash (Mouthrinse)