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Sometimes we think that developing good habits are harder than they really are. When it comes to oral hygiene, the most difficult obstacles we create are all in our heads. In reality, oral health means donating a maximum of 10 minutes every day to brushing and flossing, and maybe watching the foods you eat as well. This is a feasible goal for almost any American.

First, create the habit of brushing and flossing your teeth. You should brush for two minutes two times a day. That’s a total of four minutes of your time. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush with short strokes and gentle pressure. When flossing, remember to use ADA approved dental floss and a slow, even sawing motion to prevent cutting your gums. Floss once a day! It doesn’t matter whether you floss first or brush first, as long as both are finished. However, it is better to floss in the evening, so your teeth are completely clean while you sleep.

Second, please drink plenty of water. This helps your mouth stay clean by washing away food particles and debris. It’s also excellent for your overall body health. Plain or fluoridated water is the perfect choice. It’s great to put a twist of citrus into your water, but citrus contains acid which can damage your teeth. Try infusing it with other, less acidic fruits, vegetables, and herbs, like mint, cucumber or watermelon.

Third, watch the foods you eat. If you want to eat starchy, sticky, or sugary foods every once in awhile, remember to brush and floss extra thoroughly. Try not to wait too long before you brush either, unless there is acid in the food; then you’ll want to wait at least 30 minutes. Consider chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after eating, to encourage saliva production. Saliva is your body’s first natural defense against cavities.

Finally, make sure to visit your dentist twice a year; about once every 6 months. If you are in the Orem, Utah area, call Orem Pediatric Dentistry today at 801-802-7200 to set an appointment! Dr. R. Bruce Howell will be happy to see you and help you maintain a healthy smile.