Protect your oral health when you can’t go to the dentist.

Visiting the dentist every six months is a vital part of maintaining your oral health; these appointments allow dentists to spot and treat oral health issues early, before they become major problems, and enables them to remove hardened tartar from the surface of your teeth. Recent events have forced dental offices like Ada Smile Place to reschedule all non-emergency appointments, however, leaving many of our patients unsure when they’ll be able to schedule their next appointment. Thankfully, there are ways you can continue to protect your oral health while you wait for your next appointment. Here are 10 ways you can keep your family’s teeth healthy when you don’t have access to dental care.

1. Step up your dental hygiene.

While you’re waiting for Ada Smile Place to reopen for regular dental care appointments, you can help protect your teeth and gums by paying extra attention to your oral hygiene routine. Don’t skip brushing or flossing your teeth and take the time to be thorough. Your oral health affects the health of your entire body—for better or for worse. Poor oral health can have negative effects on your overall health, such as worsening existing conditions like diabetes and increasing your chances of suffering from stroke or heart disease in the future, while good oral health boosts your immune system.

2. Use a fluoride-based toothpaste to brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day.

To ensure that you’re brushing all of your teeth thoroughly and not missing any spots, you should brush your teeth for two minutes at least twice a day. If you have trouble keeping track of how long you’re brushing your teeth, setting a timer or listening to music while you brush can help. Additionally, it’s best to brush your teeth with a fluoridated toothpaste; fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that strengthens and remineralizes tooth enamel, helping to prevent cavities. As a result, fluoridated toothpaste is better at fighting cavities and keeping your teeth healthy.

3. Always brush your tongue when you brush your teeth.

Plaque is infamous for building up on your teeth, but it also builds up on your tongue. If you don’t brush your tongue, the bacteria in this film of plaque will cause persistent bad breath. It can also contribute to dental issues like gum disease and cavities. Brushing your tongue is simple, and it will work wonders for your oral health—and it’s a lifesaver on date night.

4. Floss at least once a day.

Although a stunning 69.7% of American adults floss either irregularly or not at all, flossing is a vital part of any oral hygiene routine. In fact, it’s just as important as brushing your teeth. The bristles on your toothbrush simply can’t reach all the surfaces of your teeth—but floss can reach what your toothbrush can’t. If you don’t floss, you’re simply not cleaning the sides of your teeth or breaking up the plaque along your gum line, leaving these areas vulnerable to decay. Flossing is your best defense against gum disease, which is the leading cause of tooth loss in America, so it’s vital that you commit to flossing at least once a day as part of your dental care routine.

5. Use a total dental care mouthwash.

Mouthwash can improve your oral health by fighting against cavities and gum disease, but some mouthwashes are only designed to freshen your breath. You can look for the ADA seal of approval or examine the list of ADA-approved mouthwashes to ensure the product you choose is proven to improve oral health. Certain mouthwashes also target specific issues, such as cavities or gum disease, but total care mouthwashes help prevent cavities, restore and strengthen enamel, kill harmful germs, and improve your breath. As a result, you can be sure that you have all of your bases covered while you wait for your next appointment.

6. Stay away from sugary and starchy foods.

The bacteria in your mouth feed off sugar and produce an acid that eats away at your enamel, causing cavities. Eating too many sugary treats is bad for your oral health, but starchy foods are just as bad because they’re quickly broken down into the same bacteria-fueling sugars in your mouth—and they stick to the surface of your teeth. Replace these snacks with fruits and vegetables, which contain vitamins and minerals essential for your oral and overall health, boost your immune system, can help remove plaque from your teeth as you chew, and will help you feel more energetic throughout the day.

7. Drink water between meals and limit sodas and fruit juices.

Sodas and other acidic, sugary drinks are delicious, but constant exposure to the sugars and acidity levels in these drinks wreaks havoc on your teeth. When you drink these beverages throughout the day, the acidity level in your mouth never has a chance to return to normal. As a result, it’s best for your teeth if you drink water throughout the day and stick to sodas and fruit juices during meals.

8. Eat larger snacks less often.

Eating a lot of small snacks throughout the day causes the same problem as drinking soda—it exposes your teeth to sugars, and thus the acid that bacteria produce, for extended periods of time, and prevents the acidity level from returning to normal. As a result, it’s best to eat one or two large snacks during the day instead of grazing.

9. Prevent existing cavities from getting worse.

If you’re worried that an existing cavity will get worse but can’t get in to see a dentist, do your best to slow the spread of decay until you can get an appointment. Brush and floss your teeth faithfully and thoroughly—don’t skip or rush through your daily routine—and do your best to avoid sugar.

10. Protect your teeth from injury.

While we’re open for emergency appointments, it’s best to do everything you can to avoid dental injuries like chipped, cracked, or broken teeth. Opening packages or cracking nuts with your teeth can easily cause you to injure a tooth and will wear your teeth down over time, so never use your teeth this way. You can also help protect your teeth by wearing mouthguards during sports and nightguards if you grind your teeth at night.

Dentists are an invaluable component of maintaining your oral health, but if you don’t have access to dental care, you’re not doomed! There are many steps you can take at home to protect your oral health while you wait for the chance to see your dental team again. If you have any questions about your oral health or need to reschedule a canceled appointment, feel free to call our office at any time.