At Iqaluit Dental Clinic, we believe that maintaining good oral hygiene is not only essential for a sparkling smile but also for overall health. A healthy mouth can contribute to a healthier body, as poor oral hygiene can lead to various dental problems and even systemic health issues.

Let us explore the complete oral hygiene routine, encompassing the crucial points for maintaining optimal dental health:

1. Brushing: The Foundation of Oral Hygiene – The cornerstone of any oral hygiene routine is regular and proper brushing. Dentists recommend brushing your teeth at least twice a day, in the morning and before bedtime, using fluoride toothpaste. This practice helps remove food particles, plaque, and bacteria that accumulate on your teeth and gums throughout the day.

Here are some key tips for effective brushing:

  • Use a soft-bristle toothbrush to prevent damage to your tooth enamel and gums.
  • Brush for a minimum of two minutes, making sure to clean all tooth surfaces, including the front, back, and chewing surfaces.
  • Don’t forget to brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.
  • Replace your toothbrush or toothbrush head every three to four months or sooner if the bristles are frayed.

2. Flossing: Where Toothbrushes Can’t Reach – Brushing alone cannot reach the tight spaces between your teeth and along the gumline. This is where dental floss comes into play. Flossing helps remove plaque and food particles from these hard-to-reach areas, reducing the risk of cavities and gum disease.

Here’s how to floss correctly:

  • Use about 18 inches of dental floss and wind most of it around your middle fingers, leaving a few inches to work with.
  • Gently slide the floss between your teeth and curve it into a C-shape around each tooth. Be careful not to snap or force the floss, as this can damage your gums.
  • Glide the floss up and down, removing debris and plaque. Use a clean section of floss for each tooth.

3. Mouthwash: An Additional Layer of Protection – Mouthwash is not a substitute for brushing and flossing, but it can complement your oral hygiene routine. An antimicrobial or fluoride mouthwash can help kill bacteria and strengthen tooth enamel.

Rinse your mouth according to the product instructions, typically after brushing and flossing. Keep in mind that mouthwash should not be used by children under six years old unless directed by a dentist.

4. Regular Dental Checkups: The Professional Touch – Despite a diligent home oral hygiene routine, regular visits to the dentist are crucial for maintaining optimal dental health. Dentists can identify and address issues that may not be visible to the naked eye, such as early-stage cavities or gum disease.

Additionally, professional cleanings by a dental hygienist can remove hardened plaque (tartar) that cannot be removed by brushing and flossing alone. Aim to visit your dentist for a checkup and cleaning every six months, or as recommended by your dental professional.

5. Balanced Diet: Fueling Healthy Teeth and Gums – What you eat significantly impacts your dental health. A diet rich in sugary and acidic foods can contribute to tooth decay and gum disease.

To maintain strong teeth and gums, include the following in your diet:

  • Calcium-rich foods like dairy products, leafy greens, and almonds, which promote strong tooth enamel.
  • Crunchy fruits and vegetables like apples and carrots that help clean teeth naturally.
  • Phosphorus-rich foods such as lean meats, eggs, and fish, which aid in tooth remineralization.
  • Limit sugary snacks and carbonated beverages, as they can lead to the erosion of tooth enamel.

6. Proper Toothbrush Care: Extend Your Toothbrush Lifespan – Just as important as brushing is the care of your toothbrush. A dirty or worn-out toothbrush can be less effective and may even harbour bacteria.

Here’s how to ensure your toothbrush stays in good shape:

  • Rinse your toothbrush thoroughly with tap water after each use.
  • Store your toothbrush upright in an open holder to allow it to air dry. Avoid keeping it in a closed container, as this can promote bacterial growth.
  • Never share your toothbrush with others to prevent the spread of germs.
  • Replace your toothbrush or toothbrush head every three to four months or sooner if it shows signs of wear.

7. Avoid Tobacco and Limit Alcohol Consumption – Smoking and tobacco use can have devastating effects on your oral health. They increase the risk of gum disease, tooth loss, and even oral cancer.

Additionally, excessive alcohol consumption can contribute to gum disease and dry mouth, which can lead to dental issues. Quitting tobacco and moderating alcohol intake can significantly benefit your oral hygiene and overall health.

8. Address Teeth Grinding (Bruxism): Protect Your Smile – Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, can wear down your teeth and cause jaw pain. Many people grind their teeth unconsciously, often during sleep.

If you suspect you have bruxism or have been told by a partner or family member that you grind your teeth, consider these steps:

  • Consult your dentist, who may recommend a custom-fitted night guard to protect your teeth.
  • Identify and manage stress, as stress is a common cause of teeth grinding.
  • Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation, to reduce stress and tension.

9. Stay Hydrated: Water, Your Mouth’s Best Friend – Water is not only essential for your overall health but also plays a vital role in maintaining good oral hygiene.

Here’s how staying hydrated benefits your teeth and gums:

  • Saliva production: Drinking an adequate amount of water helps stimulate saliva production. Saliva contains essential minerals like calcium and phosphate, which aid in strengthening tooth enamel and neutralising acids in the mouth.
  • Cleansing effect: Water helps wash away food particles and bacteria from your mouth, reducing the risk of tooth decay and bad breath.
  • Dry mouth prevention: Dehydration can lead to dry mouth, which increases the likelihood of dental problems. Drinking enough water throughout the day can help prevent this issue.

Aim to drink plenty of water, especially after meals, to help maintain a moist and healthy oral environment.

At Iqaluit Dental Clinic, we suggest you understand that these practices work together to keep your teeth and gums healthy, prevent dental problems, and contribute to your overall well-being. Remember that consistency is key; maintaining a daily routine and visiting your dentist as recommended will help you achieve and maintain a bright and healthy smile.