Ever wondered how you can get a brighter smile? Or if you’re brushing your teeth at the right time of day? Or if at-home whitening treatments really work? Dental hygienists are the experts when it comes to keeping teeth healthy, strong, and cavity-free. Follow our tips and you’ll be well on your way to a whiter, healthier smile!
Care Tips from Our Dental Hygienists
Yes, it’s obvious, and yes, you’ve heard it a thousand times, but we’ll say it again: the best way to keep your teeth bright and healthy is to clean them every day. Plaque can start building up in as little as 24 hours, so it’s important to know how to properly clean your teeth and to do it on a regular schedule.
Dental hygienists know that most people are actually brushing and flossing incorrectly. You might be using a toothbrush that’s too hard, missing certain spots, or flossing too aggressively. When you come in for a cleaning, we’re always happy to demonstrate the right techniques, but here are a few tips to get you started:
- Always brush gently, with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
- Brush for at least two minutes, and pay attention to each tooth individually, to make sure you brush its entire surface.
- Use a water flosser—it’s calibrated to apply exactly the right amount of pressure for removing plaque, and it won’t hurt your gums.
- Rinse with mouthwash after brushing and flossing. It rinses away any loose debris and helps fight gum disease by killing bad bacteria.
- Wait 30-60 Minutes After Eating to Brush. Eating or drinking anything acidic weakens your tooth enamel temporarily. If you brush too soon after a meal, you could damage your enamel. Waiting to brush gives your enamel some time to remineralize—you can kickstart the process by drinking water.
- The best times to brush your teeth are when you wake up in the morning, before you eat anything or drink any coffee, and before you go to bed, at least an hour after your last meal. If you use fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash before bed, the fluoride will be able to stay in contact with your teeth longer, which makes it more effective.
Never Use Dental Tools at Home.
You’re probably doing more harm than good if you use dental tools on your own teeth. Chances are you’ll damage your gums and tooth enamel and leave them even more vulnerable to the plaque you’re trying to remove. Scraping away at your own teeth is never a good idea, especially with tools that you’re not trained to use!
Dental hygienists have studied how to properly remove plaque and tartar, and they get practice every day. It’s also a lot easier for a dental hygienist to see the inside of your mouth than it is for you. When you’re peering into a mirror, your hands are in the way, and you’re seeing everything in reverse. It’s far too easy to scratch your enamel or your gums when you can’t see exactly what you’re doing.
If You Want Whiter Teeth, See a Dentist
Way too many people damage their teeth with products that claim to whiten them—like charcoal toothpaste, whitening gels, and DIY remedies. Some products are simply too abrasive or too acidic—they might whiten your teeth, but they can also cause demineralization, enamel erosion, and sensitivity.
The safety of at-home whitening treatments depends entirely on which products you use and whether or not you use them correctly. Most of the risks associated with at-home whitening come from leaving the treatment on too long or from using it too often.
If you want a brighter smile, make an appointment with a dental hygienist for a cleaning. And if your teeth still aren’t white enough, ask us about professional whitening treatments—the effects will last much longer than any over-the-counter products. We even offer at-home whitening kits with professional-strength ingredients.
Professional Teeth Cleaning in Littleton, Colorado
If you follow these tips from our dental hygienists and get a professional cleaning at least twice a year, you’ll be smiling bright! Has it been a while since your last cleaning? Make an appointment at Kip Dental today—just give us a call or schedule a visit online.