4 Ways to Improve Your Nighttime Oral Hygiene

at home oral health dentist arlington heightsAlthough visiting your dentist for preventive care is important, there’s something even more important to maintaining good oral health. You may be surprised to learn that maintaining your at-home dental hygiene is the single most important thing you can do to prevent tooth decay.

While most people brush their teeth in the morning to rid themselves of the dreaded morning breath, you should also make sure you’re taking care of your teeth at night, too.

AH Smiles is an Arlington Heights, IL dental office that 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. Learn how to brush and floss correctly

Brushing and flossing are a vital part of maintaining optimal oral health. However, if you are brushing and flossing incorrectly, you may be doing more harm than good to your smile. Use dental floss to remove leftover food particles and plaque from in between teeth going around the tooth from both sides. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush and an ADA-approved toothpaste, gently brush your teeth in circular motions, taking care to brush even those hard-to-reach places such as behind the teeth.

2. Floss before bed

After a day of regular eating and drinking, food particles and saliva have begun to form plaque on your teeth. Oral bacteria feed on this plaque.  These microscopic menaces love the dark, moist environment in your mouth while sleeping and will feast on the plaque that continues to build up while you sleep. While your dentist would recommend you floss more than once a day, if you’re only going to floss once a day, do it before bedtime to avoid plaque building up even further during sleep.

3. Use an electric toothbrush

While it’s not totally necessary as a standard manual toothbrush is acceptable,  an electric toothbrush can sometimes help people improve their adherence to and quality of their nighttime oral hygiene routine. The powerful brushing movements of an electric toothbrush can remove plaque more efficiently than a manual toothbrush. Also, many people enjoy using these little gadgets and this can help make it easier to take the extra few minutes to brush your teeth.

4. Make sure you don’t grind your teeth

Many people grind their teeth at night without even knowing it. If you wake up with a sore jaw or often find yourself carrying tension in the jaw or neck, you may be experiencing bruxism, or tooth grinding. Over time this habit can lead to damage of the tooth enamel. If you suspect you grind your teeth at night, discuss getting a mouth guard to protect your teeth while you’re sleeping with your dentist.

Promoting Healthy Smiles in Arlington Heights, IL

Taking care of your teeth properly at night will help keep your smile healthy and beautiful for years to come. In addition to regular visits with Dr. Brent Engelberg at AH Smiles, make sure your at-home oral hygiene routine includes both morning and nighttime oral hygiene. Contact our office online or by phone at (847) 230-9703 to schedule your appointment.