Add Dental Hygiene to Your New Years Resolutions
It's New Year's time, which means we are all closing the 2015 books are looking to make our improvements for 2016. We clearly have a bias here, but we think setting oral health goals for 2016 should be a high priority! That said, here is a great 3 step guide to doing your part in keeping your mouth healthy.
Step 1: The Morning Routine
We tell all of our patients you have two options for morning brushing. Option one is make it the first thing you do in the morning. Jump out of bed, head to the bathroom. Brush away the bacteria that has been accumulating around your teeth all night; that bacteria is a major reason why brushing first thing in the morning is important is for fresh breath. As we sleep, gravity pulls mucous from our nasal cavity (think post nasal drip) and allows it to collect on the base of your tongue. This is one of the reasons we get that unattractive morning breath. So do yourself a favor and brush the back of your tongue with your toothbrush and your favorite toothpaste and have fresh breath to start your day.
Option two, is to brush your teeth 30 minutes after you eat. If you plan on having breakfast before you leave the house then I usually tell people to wait to brush after they have eaten. Most people will consume at least one acidic beverage for breakfast (coffee, tea, orange juice). These acidic beverages which are necessary for most of our everyday survival actually weaken teeth for about thirty minutes until your mouth can neutralize itself with the help of your saliva. This is why I encourage patients to wait 30 min after eating/drinking. The toothbrush, although "soft" can cause some microscopic tooth damage in this 30 minute window when the oral environment is acidic. So if you can’t wait 30 minutes, then you are better off brushing prior to eating breakfast and just rinsing out with water after eating. So figure out which of these two categories fits best into your morning routine!
Step 2: The Evening Routine
Just like you brush your teeth in the morning, you should be brushing your teeth at night as well. You've heard this a thousand times, but it always surprises us to hear how many people refrain from consistent brushing.
Ideally you want to brush right before bedtime and at least 30 minute after consuming anything, especially if you know it was acidic.
Step 3: Floss!
Flossing is the key to a long life! Okay, that may sound overstated, but it has been proven that flossing prevents periodontal disease which is a major risk factor for a host of medical diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancers, and others. Many ask us how often should I floss? Once per day will be sufficient and any other times certainly can’t hurt. Floss prior to brushing because you loosen up the plaque and the brushing and foaming action of the toothpaste will then help wash it away. Please ask us to show you our flossing tips at your next hygiene visit. It is mechanically challenging, but we can show you how to make it easier!
Drs. Michael Krochak and Joshua Perlman
NYC Smile Spa
30 E. 60th St., Suite 1201
New York, NY 10022
P (212) 838-2900