For millions of Americans, being home on quarantine means lots of free time to do things we’ve been putting off doing – like cleaning the house, finishing home-improvement projects, or pursuing other things that have taken a back burner due to our busy lives. While it’s not always fun to be stuck at home for extended periods of time, the good news about all this time at home is that we can finally complete all those projects, or use the extra time to make our lives better in some way!
One important way we can make use of our newly found free time is to amp up our oral health routine. This can not only get our mouths in better shape, but also affect our overall health. Here are some steps you can take to get serious about your oral health while in quarantine and beyond!
Bulk Up on Brushing
Brushing your teeth is the most basic step you can take to ensure your oral health. Ideally, you should be brushing twice a day for two minutes at a time. But this is just the minimum. Your teeth (and your dentist!) would love it if you brushed more frequently – like after every meal. You can also increase the amount of time you brush for, to three minutes at a time instead of two.
If you don’t already floss, this is a great way to clean your teeth in the places your brush won’t reach. Flossing actually cleans about 40 percent of the surface of the teeth, so not flossing means you’re only cleaning about 60 percent of your teeth. Plus, flossing helps remove trapped food that could cause bad breath! While it is recommended you floss at least once a day, flossing only takes a minute or two, so try flossing twice a day or each time you brush for best results.
Tongue scraping has been around for ages, but it’s starting to grow in popularity. When you scrape your tongue, you upend nasty plaque and bacteria that stick to your tongue. This bacteria is the same bacteria that are responsible for cavities and gum disease, so when you clean it off your tongue and out of your mouth, you reduce your risk of cavities and periodontal disease. Aim to scrape your tongue at least once a day, or more if you prefer!
You may already be using a mouthwash, but if not, this is a great time to try it. Mouthwash should be used BEFORE brushing and flossing to loosen debris in the mouth and make brushing and flossing easier. Once you have rinsed with mouthwash (follow the instructions on the label), then you should floss and then brush. After brushing, don’t rinse, as this will wash away the fluoride deposited on your teeth from your toothpaste.
There you have it! A bulked-up oral health routine will not only leave your mouth feeling cleaner and your breath smelling fresher, but it will also reduce cavities and your risk of gum disease in the long term, so the next time you see Dr. Mazhari, you’ll be in great shape!