Good dental hygiene is the key to keeping your teeth and oral tissues healthy and functional your whole life. The most common causes of tooth loss (e.g. periodontal disease and cavities) can all be prevented through a regular routine of good dental hygiene including brushing, flossing and visits to the dentist or dental hygienist for professional cleaning.
To most people this information is not new. Still, 75% of all Americans are reported to have periodontal disease to some extent. Why is this? This is a question which dental professionals have been researching for decades. How can we help you improve your dental hygiene?
Improving your dental hygiene
All dentists and dental hygienists are aware of the need for patients to make an effort towards maintaining dental hygiene. Without your co-operation, your dentist can actually do very little to help you avoid oral diseases. Instructions in brushing and flossing techniques might improve your knowledge on how to maintain dental hygiene. However, these instructions have generally proved to have a very limited effect on the actual behavior and hygiene habits of our patients.
Although much research has been done in the field of changing patients’ dental hygiene habits, it seems that all that has been established as a fact so far is that dental hygiene habits are very hard to change.
If you feel that you need to improve your dental hygiene but find it difficult to change your habits, you might benefit from the following advice from others who have succeeded in improving their dental hygiene:
If you cannot find the time to brush your teeth several times every day, at least make sure that you brush really thoroughly once a day. Research has shown that brushing once a day is enough to prevent oral diseases. But you need to be thorough! Be systematic and make sure to brush ALL surfaces of ALL teeth.
If you often forget to brush your teeth, try to add your dental hygiene routine to something that you already do every day. You could for example put your toothbrush and toothpaste next to your make-up or your shaving gear. Do the same with your dental floss. Some people brush their teeth while in the shower. Could that work for you?
Motivation important for dental hygiene
However you decide to go about improving your dental hygiene, it is imperative that you are motivated for this change. For far too many the motivation only comes, when a tooth starts to cause problems and you begin to worry about the size of the dental bill. Rather than waiting untill the damage is done, consider what a blessing it is to have a healthy and clean mouth. Not having to worry about the smell of your breath or the appearance of your smile. Also, think about all the wonderful things you can buy for yourself, when you don’t have to spend all your savings at the dentist!