8 Do’s and Don’ts of At-Home Dental Care
Make the most of your at-home dental care habits with these top tips.
You already know the basics of keeping your smile healthy—brush and floss every day, stay away from sugar, and see your dentist for regular check-ups. With just a few more small changes to your at-home dental care routine, you can take your oral health from good to great.
Check out these important do’s and don’ts for a healthy smile and see how you can incorporate these habits into your new routine.
1. Do be mindful of how you’re brushing and be sure to use proper technique.
If you’re already brushing twice a day as recommended by the American Dental Association, great! But are you paying attention to how you’re brushing your teeth? As adults, it’s easy to absent-mindedly brush our teeth and potentially not get a thorough clean.
Here is a handy 1-minute video from the ADA on proper brushing technique. You can see a refresher on flossing here too!
2. Don’t rush your brushing and consider setting a 2-minute timer.
In addition to brushing the right way, you also want to be sure you’re brushing for a full 2 minutes. The average person doesn’t brush long enough, which is understandable on those busy mornings or exhausting nights.
An easy way to make sure you’re brushing for 2 minutes is to set a 2-minute timer on your phone. You might even borrow your kids’ handy sand timer they got from the dentist!
3. Do ask your dentist about safe and effective teeth whitening options.
If you feel like your teeth look a little yellow, don’t be embarrassed to chat with your dentist about it! Professional teeth whitening is the most popular cosmetic dentistry service for a reason. Whitening can make your smile appear healthier and more attractive. It can even make you look youthful.
The Tooth Doc offers Opalescence, which is a highly effective dentist-recommended at-home whitening system. If you’re on a budget and leaning more towards whitening strips, let your dentist know. There are a few ADA-approved whitening strip brands that are safe, though they may not yield as bright results or work as quickly as Opalescence.
4. Don’t use products without the ADA Seal of Acceptance or ignore instructions.
Not having the ADA Seal of Acceptance doesn’t mean an oral care product is unsafe, but it does mean it hasn’t yet been tested by the American Dental Association. For this reason, we generally recommend you don’t use products without the seal unless you first check with your dentist about it.
Additionally, it’s important to follow instructions carefully on products with the ADA Seal. For example, a whitening product may have the seal and be perfectly safe, but if you overuse the product or apply it to a damaged tooth, you can still damage the tooth enamel..
5. Do use safe, dentist-approved toothache remedies until your appointment.
When a toothache strikes, the first thing to do is call your dentist to schedule a check-up. During this call, you can also ask about safe toothache remedies to try at home. Most patients can control their discomfort with OTC pain medication, swishing with diluted salt water, and applying warm or cold compresses. Applying some topical toothache reliever can also help.
And if you’re curious what your toothache means, check out this blog post.
6. Don’t experiment with questionable toothache remedies.
Google “toothache remedies,” and we guarantee you’ll find some dubious methods in various blog posts or on social media. Some of the strangest ones we’ve come across include packing a cavity with garlic, swishing with white vinegar, and even chewing tobacco! At best odd home remedies are ineffective, at worst they can further harm your oral health.
Skip the strange home remedies and stick only with safe options, ideally approved by your dentist over the phone.
7. Do seek out urgent dental care if you’re experiencing severe pain or bleeding.
Severe pain that can’t be controlled and any other serious symptoms, such as bleeding, swelling, or fever, are all signs that you need to seek urgent dental care. You may have an active and potentially life-threatening infection..
If you’re experiencing a dental emergency, we encourage you to call us for assistance. If your dental emergency occurs when a dentist isn’t available, we strongly recommend going to your closest emergency center for help.
8. Don’t postpone treatment appointments, even if you’re feeling okay.
Life gets busy and sometimes schedules get so hectic that something has to give. However, dental care appointments are one thing that shouldn’t be postponed.
Whether you’re in the middle of a treatment plan, have a toothache that’s no longer hurting, or you’re due for a routine check-up, do your best to stick with your appointment. Our team is happy to work with your schedule to find the best day and time for you to see us.
Are you due for an appointment? Take a moment to book your next visit at The Tooth Doc.
Did this post remind you that it’s been awhile since you’ve seen your dentist? Great! Use that motivation to book your next appointment now while it’s fresh in your mind.
During business hours you can simply call the Tooth Doc office in Omaha to schedule an appointment. For weekends or evening hours, you can fill out this online booking form, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.