A bright, healthy smile is a lot more than just brushing and flossing every day. These five easy steps will help you maintain great oral hygiene as you go about your daily routine.

Step One: A Well-Balanced Diet

Everything you eat has an effect on your teeth. One great aspect of this truth is that what’s generally bad for your overall health is also bad for your teeth.
Foods that are high in refined sugar help the growth of the bacteria that produce plaque. This sticky, yellow substance spreads onto the surfaces of our teeth as well as those hard-to-reach areas. This activity produces stains and tooth decay.
Healthier foods tend not to stick to teeth, and crunchy foods – like fruits and vegetables – naturally help clean teeth while you eat. Don’t forget to factor in the effects of beverages as well – avoid those high in sugar, like sodas and juices. Stick with milk or water to avoid tooth decay and help keep your teeth healthy!

Step Two: Brush

It’s important to not only brush every day – twice a day – but to brush correctly. Even though you’re brushing regularly, you may not be getting the most out of this daily habit. Use short strokes back and forth or in a circular motion to avoid hurting your gums. Every surface of each tooth needs to be brushed thoroughly, including the top, bottom, outsides and insides of your teeth. Spend time brushing the back of your teeth, cleaning the crevices along the top of each tooth where food can get stuck.

Step Three: Floss

Is flossing your teeth regularly as important as brushing them? A daily routine of flossing your teeth can have many benefits, even if you’re just starting out. Get a length of floss that will clean each of your teeth, and wrap the ends around each index finger until a short section is ready to use. Starting with your front teeth, put that short segment of floss in between, gently working it through any narrow or tight spots. Wrap the floss around the edge of each tooth, gently scraping the edge as well as the base of each tooth and the space between it and your gumline. Make sure to use clean sections of floss as you floss one tooth to avoid spreading bacteria.

Step Four: Quit Tobacco Products

Regardless of whether or not you’re using smokeless tobacco or smoking cigarettes, you’re at a risk of oral cancer. In addition, using tobacco products increases the chance of other dental problems, such as gingivitis, periodontitis and tooth decay. Other issues connected with tobacco use includes bad breath and stained teeth.

Step Five: Visit Your Dentist Regularly

The standard recommendation is to visit your dentist office twice a year. This is a great guideline, but you may need more frequent visits depending on your specific situation. Talk with Dr. da Costa regarding issues like swollen gums, discolored teeth, oral cancer screening, frequent cavities, and any previous dental work you’ve had done. Working together, you and Dr. da Costa will figure out a schedule that’s right for you.

Image: Piyachok Thawornmat / FreeDigitalPhotos.net