Seeing your dentist for preventive care visits is important, but did you know that there’s something even more important in your oral health care routine? You might be surprised to learn that your at-home dental hygiene is the single most important way to prevent tooth decay.
While many people brush their teeth in the morning, you should also make sure you’re taking care of your teeth at night, too. Dr. Christopher Banks is a Chevy Chase, MD dentist who helps patients take care of their teeth so they can have healthy, beautiful smiles. Learn more about how you can improve your nighttime oral health routine.
1. Floss before bed
After a day of your usual activities, plaque has built up on the teeth. Oral bacteria in plaque love the dark, moist environment in your mouth while sleeping, and plaque will continue to build up while you sleep. While your dentist would like you to floss more than once a day, if you’re only going to floss once a day, make it before bed to avoid plaque building up even further during sleep.
2. Make sure you don’t grind your teeth at night
Many people grind their teeth at night without realizing it. If you wake up with a sore jaw or often find yourself carrying tension in the jaw or neck, you may be suffering from bruxism, or tooth grinding. Over time this can lead to tooth damage. If you suspect you grind your teeth at night, talk to your dentist about getting a mouth guard to wear while you’re sleeping.
3. Learn how to brush and floss correctly
Brushing and flossing are an important part of maintaining optimal oral health. However, if you are brushing and flossing incorrectly, you’re actually doing more harm than good to your smile. Use dental floss to remove leftover food particles and plaque from in between teeth. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush and an ADA-approved toothpaste, gently brush your teeth in circular motions, making sure you get hard-to-reach places such as behind the teeth.
4. Use an electric toothbrush
While it’s not totally necessary, an electric toothbrush might help some people improve their nighttime oral hygiene routine. An electric toothbrush provides powerful brushing movements that can remove plaque more efficiently than a manual toothbrush. Using something you look forward to using can make it easier to take the extra few minutes to brush your teeth.
Promoting Healthy Smiles in Washington, DC
Taking care of your teeth at night will help keep your smile healthy and beautiful for years to come. In addition to regular visits with Dr. Banks, make sure your at-home oral hygiene routine includes both morning and nighttime teeth care. Contact our Chevy Chase, MD office online or by phone at 202.769.0324 to schedule your appointment.