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All Posts in Category: Oral Health Basics

Tis the Season for Cold and Flu - Protect Your Teeth

Tis the Season for Cold and Flu – Protect Your Teeth

When you’re sick it’s easy to disregard your teeth and focus on the runny nose, muscle aches, and chills. But while it’s ok to crash on the couch most of the day, it’s important to stagger to the sink and brush those teeth every now and then. Here are some more easy ways to take care of your mouth when you’re under the weather.

Cut Down on the Sugar

Those menthol-fresh cough drops may feel great to your throat, but they can wreak havoc in your mouth, especially if you’re popping one after another to get through the day. Choose a sugar-free version and rinse or brush your teeth afterward. Even medicines can contain quite a bit of sugar, so opt for sugar-free there too. Many of us turn to sports drinks to replace electrolytes or fizzy sodas to calm an upset stomach, but most of the time water is just as beneficial and doesn’t come with the sugary side effects.

Chug the Water

Keep the sweet drinks in moderation, but make sure to chug water to stay hydrated. Congestion can lead to breathing through your mouth, and that can dry things out. A dry mouth means less saliva to wash away food particles, which can then burrow in and cause cavities. It can also cause bad breath and scare away well-wishers who come take care of you. Besides the benefits to your mouth, drinking plenty of water helps the rest of your body attach the nasty germs that got you in this predicament in the first place, helping you recover faster.

Brush, But Wait…

One of the most unpleasant sickness side effects of flu season quite literally leaves a bad taste in your mouth. After vomiting, one of your first reactions will probably be to reach for your toothbrush. Sounds like a great idea, right? Not so fast—brushing right away can actually spread the acid and germs around your mouth. First, rinse with warm water and a little bit of baking soda. Wait a few minutes and then brush away all of those germs. Make sure to brush your tongue and floss too. This is no time to skimp on the cleaning.

Banish the Germs

Did you know that cold and flu germs can live in your mouth? Brushing your teeth regularly can help get rid of those germs and reduce the risk of passing them on to someone else when you cough or sneeze. And of course, remember to cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze.

When the inevitable sickness strikes this cold and flu season, relax and take it easy. But if you want to recover quickly without compromising your dental health, don’t neglect those pearly whites. If you haven’t been in the last few months, now is a great time to contact Dupont Dental for an appointment. They’ll make sure your teeth are in tip-top shape going into this cold and flu season and give you expert advice on the right dental care plan to protect your mouth from those big, bad germs.

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diabetes and dental care

Diabetes and Dental Care: What You Need to Know

Did you know that diabetes can affect many body systems? From circulation to eyesight, diabetes can affect more than just your blood sugar levels. Diabetes can also lead to mouth and teeth issues. If you or a family member has diabetes, you may have questions about your specific oral care needs.

How are diabetes and dental care connected?

Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can increase your risk of cavities, gingivitis, and periodontitis. How? It is a vicious cycle that begins with high levels of glucose in your blood.

Because cavity-causing bacteria feed on sugars, if your sugar levels are elevated, there is a greater risk of tooth decay. With an abundant supply of sugar, the bacteria can go into overdrive to produce copious amounts of sticky film on your teeth. That sticky film is also known as plaque, which causes decay by eating away at your enamel, resulting in more cavities. Thus, more sugar in your blood means an elevated risk of cavities.

If the plaque is not removed, the increased levels of plaque can then increase your risk for gingivitis, which causes bleeding and tender gums. Unfortunately, gingivitis – if not treated quickly and properly – can lead to periodontitis, which is advanced gum disease. Periodontitis is a serious condition that threatens the integrity and strength of the bones in your jaw. Left untreated, periodontitis can lead to tooth loss.

To make the issues more complicated, patients with diabetes are more prone to infections and delayed healing times. The good news is that many of these issues can be prevented with good hygiene and regular appointments with your dentist.

What can you do to prevent issues?

Just because you have diabetes doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have major dental issues. There are many things you can do to keep your teeth and mouth as healthy as possible. Most importantly:

  • Monitor and control your blood glucose levels: This includes following all instructions from the physician who manages your diabetes care.
  • Maintain a proper oral hygiene routine: Brush twice each day and maintain a regular flossing habit
  • Keep your regular dental appointments: Let your dentist know you have diabetes.
  • If prescribed medicated mouthwashes, follow the directions and remain vigilant with usage. Some mouthwashes are targeted for specific problems like bleeding gums or dry mouth.
  • Quit smoking: Smoking can exacerbate many diabetes-related issues, including oral care.

When to see the dentist

Whenever a problem arises in the mouth, it is always a good idea to speak with your dentist – whether you have diabetes or not. However, if you have diabetes, it is that much more important to address any issues as quickly as possible. Always call your dentist as soon as you notice problems such as:

  • Do you have pain or swollen gums? Are you having problems with your dentures fitting correctly or comfortably?
  • Bleeding gums
  • Dry mouth
  • Bad taste in the mouth not related to food
  • General aches or soreness in the mouth

How can we help you?

Do you have questions or concerns about diabetes and your dental care? Contact us today.

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baby teeth cleaning

How Important is Baby Teeth Cleaning?

You might assume that you don’t need to clean your child’s baby teeth or take your child to the dentist until they get their permanent teeth. After all, their baby teeth fall out, right? Yes, but getting your child’s baby teeth cleaned and examined is one of the most important things you can do for your child’s oral health. Keep reading to learn all about the importance of baby teeth cleaning — and why it’s never too early for your child to begin a great oral care routine.

Why should you get your child’s baby teeth cleaned?

Even though they only last a few years, baby teeth are extremely important for your child’s oral health and development, as well as his/her overall health. These baby teeth help children chew, speak and smile. Also, they hold space in the mouth for permanent teeth.

As soon as your child’s baby teeth come in (usually starting around six months old), tooth decay can begin. This not only causes pain for your baby, but it can also destroy your child’s teeth and gums. Also, an untreated cavity in a baby tooth can cause serious or even deadly infections. Furthermore, tooth decay can cause trouble with eating, which can lead to your child not getting enough vitamins and minerals to grow up healthily.

Even as an infant, beginning your child’s life with good oral care can help protect their teeth for a lifetime. It’s never too early to begin taking great care of your child’s oral health.

What can you do to help keep your child cavity-free?

To help keep your child’s mouth healthy, it’s vital to clean his/her baby teeth regularly. As soon as you see your child’s first tooth coming in, it’s important to start a few key habits:

  • Wipe your baby’s gums after he/she eats. (Try using a clean, damp washcloth.) This helps remove bits of food and plaque.
  • Brush your child’s teeth twice a day (morning and night) with a child-sized toothbrush and child-safe toothpaste.
  • Floss your child’s teeth every time you brush them.
  • Never put your child to bed with a bottle or sippy cup.
  • Don’t put pacifiers in your mouth before giving them to your child. (Decay-causing bacteria in your mouth can easily be passed to your child.)
  • Limit the amount of juice, other sugary drinks, and sweets that you give your child.

When should your child see a dentist?

Dupont Dental usually does not see children until they are three years old, as this is the age when all baby teeth have come in, and children can typically fully understand and cooperate with an exam. However, if you have concerns and would like your child to be seen sooner, feel free to contact us anytime. We’re always here to answer any questions!

Remember: Even though baby teeth fall out, keeping them clean is the beginning of a healthy oral care routine for your much-loved child.

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aging affects oral health

How Aging Affects Your Oral Health

Aging is more than just wrinkles and gray hair. Every part of the body changes with aging, and the teeth and mouth are not exempt. Aging affects your oral health in many ways, and learning about these changes will help you regain control of your oral health at any age.

Dry mouth

Dry mouth also called xerostomia, affects many seniors. Dry mouth, in which the mouth does not produce enough saliva, is more than just an uncomfortable condition; dry mouth can increase the risk of tooth decay. Dry mouth can be caused by a medical condition (such as Parkinson’s) or by medication. Unfortunately, many medications commonly used in the aging population, including blood pressure medicine, cause xerostomia. Treating the symptoms of dry mouth can help prevent the decay associated with xerostomia:

  • Drink daily recommended amount of water each day
  • Chew sugarless gum
  • Limit alcohol intake

Periodontal disease

Periodontal disease, an infection in the gums, is characterized by red swollen gums that bleed during brushings. While this disease can affect anyone, seniors are more at risk for periodontal disease than any other age group. Bacteria-laden build-up often causes infections. This disease can be reduced or prevented by:

  • Brushing and flossing well to remove the buildup: consider an electric brush and pre-flossed flossers for any senior with dexterity issues
  • Reduce acidic foods and sugary food
  • Avoid smoking

If you or a loved one is at risk for periodontal disease, a good oral care routine can help keep your mouth as healthy as can be.

Problems associated with bone loss

Bone loss, particularly for women, is a frequent complaint of those already experiencing changes associated with age. It is this bone loss that leads to broken hips, but the bone loss can also profoundly affect oral health. Because the root of a tooth needs viable bone to stay firmly rooted in the mouth, bone loss can lead to loose and weakened teeth. Taking a vitamin D supplement is a good option for those who are at risk for bone loss.

Broken dental work

If you have dental work (items such as a crown or bridge), it’s only a matter of time before the piece needs to be fixed or placed. On average, dental repairs last about seven years, which means seniors are more at risk for needing a repair done ASAP. Preventative care is especially important here since dentists can check in on old repairs during regular cleanings and keep an eye out for any signs of a potential problem.

Change in color of teeth

While consuming certain foods (like berries) and drinks (like coffee) can cause staining, aging can also affect the color of your teeth. The enamel of teeth thins over time; as the enamel continues to grow thinner and thinner, the teeth take on a discolored, gray color. Unlike “vanity” stains from drinking too much coffee, a change in color due to thinning enamel is a reason to check in with your dentist: thinning enamel is more at risk for decay.

Aging doesn’t have to be fun per se, but learning how aging affects oral health can help prepare you for a future of stellar oral health.

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setting an oral hygiene example for your kids

Leading the Way: 5 Steps to Setting A Great Oral Hygiene Example For Your Kids

Kids are eager to learn, but sometimes all the demonstrations and reminders in the world won’t drive home the importance of good oral hygiene. But children aren’t just paying attention when you want them too; they’re also watching and listening when you’re just going about your daily routine. Modeling the behavior you want them to learn, such as brushing twice a day, is essential because even toddlers find the flaw in the “Do as I say, not as I do” routine. Make sure you’re setting the right example with these five steps.

Brush and Floss Daily

Most families teach that brushing is a private practice to do behind doors, but being a little more open with your oral hygiene is a boon to a learning child. Get the entire family together in the mornings and evenings so that everyone can brush together at the right times. Even if some of your children are too young for brushing still, include them with a teething toy or by teaching them to rinse with water so they can join in on the family routine. The same should be done with flossing as children grow old enough to handle it on their own.

Discuss Your Mistakes

It’s natural to want to present an infallible and perfect image of yourself as a parent, but kids like hearing about the mistakes you made when you were young. Explaining a story about a painful cavity or even a root canal you experienced as a result of falling behind on your oral hygiene is a great learning moment that has personal meaning to the child. Stories about imaginary characters just don’t have quite the impact as a story about your mom or dad when they were little.

Eat Better

You tell your children that candy will rot their teeth, but you’re still nibbling away at sweet treats after every meal. Set a good dietary example as well by trimming extra sugar and acids from your diet, especially in the forms of drinks like coffee and soda. Even if you don’t want to eat broccoli rather than a chocolate bar for your mid-afternoon snack, think of the lasting impact on your children you create by directly modeling the behavior you want them to learn.

Take Them to Your Checkups

You’ll need a dentist who is family friendly, but bringing your kids along during your dental checkups can help children learn to feel comfortable at the dentist rather than nervous. It also demonstrates the importance of those six-month cleanings, especially if the dentist is willing to bring the children in for part or all of the process so they can watch it being performed by someone else before it’s their turn in the chair.

Expand the Focus

Finally, look around your local community for other groups and organizations focused on teaching good oral hygiene skills. For example, both the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts offer dental education merit badges and other programs designed to encourage brushing and flossing. Getting the family involved in a larger group only further reinforces the example you’re setting at home.

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organic dentist

The Perfect Dental Routine for the Organic Patient

In addition to regular dental visits, a solid brushing and flossing routine is vital to good oral hygiene. Most people reach for a tube of minty fresh toothpaste, ready to check off their morning and night duties. However, a closer inspection of the ingredient reveals its not-so-great contents. With ingredients like carrageenan, artificial colors, and sodium lauryl sulfate, an organic patient might wonder how to balance a healthy dental routine without compromising on the ingredient list. Following these tips can ensure the perfect dental routine for the organic patient.

Brushing

Brushing is more than the product used. The effectiveness of brushing relies heavily on the technique; brush for two to three minutes while making sure to cover all surface areas of the teeth, gums, and tongue. As for the cleaning product, there are two options:

  • Powder: Tooth powder is less common than toothpaste but equally effective. Often made of baking soda, salt, and sometimes essential oils, tooth powders are extremely easy to make as well as inexpensive.
  • Paste: While toothpaste can be homemade, there are many organic and natural toothpastes available to purchase. Look for toothpastes that are all-natural and avoid ingredients such as artificial flavors and dyes.

Avoid products with the following ingredients: sodium laurel sulfate, artificial dyes and flavors, triclosan, propylene glycol, and microbeads.

Flossing

Healthy gums and fresh breath are dependent upon good flossing. However, not all floss is created equally; conventional flosses may be coated with synthetic waxes and flavored with artificial flavors and sweeteners. When choosing a new floss, opt for floss with:

  • Vegan wax: Flosses, such as TheraNeem floss, are coated with a vegan wax.
  • Neem extract: Also a vegan wax, many flosses also include neem extract in the coating. Why does it matter what ingredients are in the floss? Floss does more than just remove food from hard-to-reach places. Floss removes plaque and debris and helps prevent inflamed gums. In fact, as the floss slides between teeth, neem extract helps to reduce gum inflammation.
  • Tea tree oil: Like neem extract and clove oil, tea tree oil is a powerful ingredient in organic oral care products. Tea tree oil reduces gum bleeding as well as gingivitis.

Rinsing and freshening breath

The grand finale of an oral routine is to rinse, usually with mouthwash. Like toothpaste, many conventional types of mouthwash contain questionable ingredients including artificial flavors and colors. Naturally, derived mouthwash is harder to find, but it is possible. Other options for freshening breath include:

  • Tongue scraping: Tongue scraping freshens breath by removing bacteria and food particles from the surface of the tongue. There are special tongue scrapers available, but some toothbrushes even have a special bristle on the brush head to carry out this task.
  • Oil pulling: While it might seem counterproductive to rinse with oil, oil pulling is an ancient practice that is gaining popularity. Place a piece of coconut oil in your mouth. As the coconut oil melts, swish in for at least 30 seconds. Oil pulling draws toxins out of your mouth, which creates a fresher, cleaner mouth.

No matter what products that fill the medicine cabinet, good oral health depends on a consistent routine of brushing, flossing, and rinsing. If, at any time, you have any concerns regarding organic oral care products, speak with your dentist.

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maintaining oral health routine

6 Tips on How to Maintain a Perfect Oral Health Routine

Having an oral health routine at home can help improve and maintain your dental health. However, it is important that you are consistent with your dental routine and that it is done properly. Periodically skipping a brushing and flossing or not keeping up with your regular dental checkups is more than enough to compromise your oral health.

If you are currently not in the habit of taking good care of your teeth on a daily basis, there are some things you can do to have the perfect oral health routine. The condition of your teeth and smile will improve, and you will have learned a valuable habit that will ensure that you will have good oral health for a long time.

1. Put Your Dental Items in Plain View

Keep your toothbrush and toothpaste where it would be impossible to ignore them. If you have a favorite face or body wash you use every time your shower, place your toothbrush and toothpaste right on top of it so that you will have no choice but to pick them up.

2. Set an Alarm as a Reminder

You can use an alarm to remind yourself to brush your teeth. Be sure to schedule the alarm at a time when you will be home so that you will have no excuse not to brush.

3. Give Yourself Incentives

You can motivate yourself to maintain a perfect oral health routine by setting up goals and giving yourself a reward when you reach different milestones. For example, you can set up a goal to brush and floss every day for a month and at the end of the month, buy yourself a new pair of shoes. Make sure your reward is something that you really enjoy so that you will continue to be motivated.

4. Keep Track Of Your Progress

Make a visible record that show how well you are adhering to your dental routine. You can use a calendar and posted it in the bathroom where it will be easily visible. Note every day that your brush your teeth. If you happen to forget or skip a day, just make sure you start again on the very next day.

5. Associate Brushing with another Activity

This work best if it is something that you do every day. It can be taking a shower or combing your hair. Every time you complete your chosen activity, be sure to brush and floss your teeth. Make sure you allow enough time in your schedule to complete your dental care and the other activity so that you are not rushing and feel inclined to postpone it.

6. Make Your Dental Routine a Team project

Ask a family member or a close friend to join you in your quest to maintain a daily dental routine. Sometimes simply knowing that someone else is working towards the same goals can be enough motivation to complete a task.

There are multiple short-term and long-term benefits to having an effective daily oral health routine. Your mouth will feel cleaner, and you may have fresher breath and brighter teeth. Maintaining your oral health routine can also help you avoid a number of dental conditions and diseases, such as gingivitis, tooth decay, periodontal disease and more.

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mom brushing teeth with child

Caring for Someone Else’s Dental Hygiene

Caring for someone else’s dental hygiene can be quite challenging. It’s intrusive, and many people may feel comfortable if you try to do this for them. Particularly, if they have learning difficulties are other special needs. Even young children may resist against someone cleaning their teeth for them. That’s why it’s best to get young children cleaning their teeth as early as possible.

If you are caring for someone else’s oral hygiene, it’s useful to get some tips that will make it easier.

Offer Reassurance

You should be aware that oral hygiene and the process of having their teeth cleaned will be frightening for some people. If you are cleaning their teeth, make sure that you offer them reassurance. One way to do this is by showing them what you’re going to do with your teeth first. Talk them through the steps and make sure they know exactly what’s going to happen before you start. Show them that it’s not scary. This can be especially helpful if you’re cleaning the teeth of someone with learning difficulties. They will want to know that the process is safe.

You might also want to let them feel the toothbrush or floss before you use it on them. This can again, help them see that there’s nothing to be scared of. They will then trust you to use the toothbrush, cleaning their teeth.

Use A Distraction Or Something To Calm Them Down

It can be quite uncomfortable for someone to have their teeth cleaned. You need to find a way to distract them from this discomfort and unpleasant feeling with something that is familiar. If it’s a young child, this could be a favorite toy that you can let them hold. For older patients, you may want to think about putting on music or putting the TV on in the background. Anything that distracts their senses will help them to forget that you’re cleaning their teeth. It’s useful when working with anyone who has sensory issues like someone with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder).

Create A Routine

For people with learning disorders, it’s best to have a routine. Particularly, if you are always going to be the one responsible for cleaning their teeth. You need to give them a structure that they can follow and trust. For instance, they should know that you’ll start by brushing their teeth on a particular side. You can then move on to flossing and finally the mouthwash. You should keep the same routine each time, rather than creating an unnecessary change. This will make the process easier for them to deal with.

Keep An Open Dialogue

Finally, even while you are brushing and cleaning their teeth, you should be keeping an open dialogue. Make sure they know what’s going on and what you’re doing at any point. You can also talk to them about different things or simply offer words of approval. Positive conditioning will help them accept the process more and allow for it to be part of their routine.

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daily oral health tips

Everyday Oral Health Tips

Are you keeping your mouth healthy and clean? Most people neglect at least a few areas of the mouth that need to be kept clean. That might be the spaces between the teeth, the gum line or the tongue. This leads to the development of problems that can be painful, embarrassing or uncomfortable.

Luckily, with these simple tips, you’ll be able to keep your mouth healthy and avoid any of the common issues.

Brush Regularly And Thoroughly

You should be brushing your teeth twice a day and spent two minutes each time at least. Some people go overboard and brush after every meal. This isn’t necessary unless you have a brace in which case, it might be. That’s only because food tends to get trapped and stuck in the brackets. For the rest of us, twice a day is enough with thirty seconds spent in each corner of the mouth. When you’re brushing, let the toothbrush move naturally. Make sure you are brushing close to the gumline as this is where plaque builds. Remember, you should keep your brush at a forty-five degrees angle and not spit until the end. Keeping the liquid washing around your mouth for longer will lead to a better clean.

Don’t Forget To Floss

You should floss after every meal and possibly each time that you eat. Wrap the floss around two of your fingers and move it between your teeth in a backward, forwards, motion. Be sure to clean until you don’t feel any resistance, but don’t pull too hard. This could damage your gum line. The first time you floss might result in bleeding, and while frightening, this is perfectly reasonable. It means it’s doing the job.

Use Mouthwash

You should be using mouthwash after you brush your teeth. Look for a mouthwash that contains fluoride as this is the best chemical for cleaning your teeth. You need to hold the mouthwash in for no longer than a minute and make sure that you don’t swallow. In large quantities, fluoride can be dangerous and have long lasting effects. You can use mouthwash daily as long as you are spitting it out each time.

Clean Your Tongue

Make sure that you’re cleaning as much of the tongue as you can. You can use floss, the toothbrush or the back of the brush to do this. Some toothbrushes do have a special rubber surface on the back, specifically for cleaning the tongue. Don’t neglect to clean your tongue as a dirty tongue can result in the development of bad breath.

Keep A Healthy Diet

Finally, you should think about your diet. What you eat can affect your oral health, particularly, if you consistently eat meals high in sugar. Even regularly cleaning your teeth won’t prevent the development of damage such as tooth decay. Try to avoid drinking large amounts of fizzy drinks each day. If you do have a sweet tooth, limit yourself to one and make sure you use a straw. This will help most of the sugar go past the teeth and straight down the throat.

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Daily oral health tips

Top Daily Tips for Pristine Oral Health

Everyone should aspire to have a healthy mouth. The trouble is, few people know what makes a good oral health routine. Well, worry no more, as all the advice you need is in this post.

Here are some daily tips to help you keep your teeth and gums healthy at all times:

Brush Your Teeth Twice A Day Minimum!

Most people think that twice a day is the maximum you should brush your teeth. However, the minimum you should do is brush your teeth in the morning and evening. To improve your oral health even further, it’s advised you brush after every meal too.

Buy Toothpaste With Fluoride

The toothpaste you use can also have a bearing on your oral health. When looking for it, ensure you buy some that include fluoride. This substance helps to prevent tooth decay and keeps your teeth in a better condition.

Use An Electric Toothbrush

Brushing with a regular toothbrush is nowhere near as effective as brushing with an electric one. The increased power means you can get rid of more plaque and bacteria. Plus, the toothbrush head is a rounded shape, meaning each tooth can be cleaned from a better angle. Also, speaking of toothbrush heads, make sure you change yours regularly. They’re only designed to last three months.

Floss Twice A Day

Flossing is an incredible way to keep your mouth as clean as possible. It works by cleaning areas that your toothbrush can’t reach. Mainly, it helps clean between your teeth and on the lining of your gums. Flossing can help prevent gum disease, and reduce the risks of tartar build up.

Reduce Your Sugar Intake

Sugar is a killer for your teeth and gums. Too much of it will lead to tooth decay, and you’ll need fillings and dentures. So, you should cut down on how much sugar you ingest each day. Stay clear of sweets and soft drinks, as they’re the things with the highest sugar count.

Use Mouthwash

Alongside brushing and flossing, mouthwash contributes to a cleaner mouth. You should use it every morning and night before you’ve brushed your teeth. It will help get rid of all the harmful bacteria in your mouth, reducing the risk of various oral diseases.

Chew Sugarfree Gum

If you want to keep your mouth healthy throughout the day, then chew sugarfree gum. It can prevent your mouth from getting too dry, which lowers the risk of tooth decay. Plus, it makes you salivate, which washes away bacteria in your mouth.

Don’t Rinse Your Mouth With Water After Brushing

A common mistake in most daily routines is to rinse your mouth after brushing. Don’t do this as it washes off all the fluoride! My advice is to floss first, then use mouthwash, and then brush your teeth.

Stop Smoking

If you smoke, then you need to stop. It stains your teeth and leads to poor oral health and many diseases. Cut smoking out of your routine for a healthier mouth.

If you pay attention to all of these tips, you’ll soon achieve pristine oral health!

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