7 Dental Hygiene Tips To Keep Your Teeth In Pristine Condition

Dr. Brittany Dickinson is one of the finest cosmetic dentists in the city of Chicago. A graduate of the University of Florida, as well as the London School of Economics, Dr. Brittany loves continuing her education year after year. She holds degrees in Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Business, and Medical Sciences in addition to her dental education. She has several publications in the field of Periodontal Disease research and is a graduate of numerous additional cosmetic programs including The Dawson Academy in Tampa, Aesthetic Advantage in Manhattan, and FMR Full Mouth Rehabilitation. She is also an American Academy of Facial Aesthetics certified injector for Botox and Fillers. 

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Keeping your teeth white and shiny year-round comes with more than just a daily morning and nighttime brush and a casual check-up at the dentist's office. To really get your teeth in pristine condition, Dr. Brittany Dickinson dives into the top smile tips to always follow. Here's what she had to say:

1. Floss daily

You hear it every time you go in for a checkup and cleaning, but I'll say it again- floss your teeth every day! While I'd absolutely love for my guests to floss after every meal, flossing once a day is great. I'd recommend flossing at night as part of your bedtime routine. That way, you'll be sure to remove any bits of food or plaque that has accumulated during the day so it doesn't sit there all night. Floss before you brush so that all the nutrients in your toothpaste can foam up and soak in to your enamel between the teeth!

2. Visit your dentist

It's very important to visit your dentist at least twice a year. Even if you brush twice a day, your toothbrush bristles can only reach so far and there will always be some plaque you can't get to! Professional cleaning tools are small and can reach into the nooks and crannies that your larger toothbrush head can't reach. For people that tend to build plaque faster, more frequent visits may be necessary. Some saliva has more mineral deposits in it and will always build up plaque a little faster than others.

For these special guests, I usually recommend 3 times a year to keep their mouth feeling fresh and keep any odors at bay. For my guests with deeper gums, or who tend toward inflammation, I do recommend cleanings every three months (four times per year). When the gums are deep, the toothbrush bristles can't reach down to the base of the gums, so bacteria are able to set up shop undisturbed. It's so important to have deep gums professionally cleaned out every three months so that no areas become infected!

3. Brush your teeth

As far as brushing your teeth, twice a day is a must, and three times a day (or after every meal) is ideal. This will remove any remaining food particles from your teeth, gums and tongue after you eat to prevent cavities as well as prevent bad breath! Always use a soft-bristle toothbrush- my favorite is the Sonicare toothbrush. It uses both electric and sonic technology to help achieve the cleanest result. This toothbrush actually does most of the brushing for you1 Simply sweep the base of the tooth where your gums are and the vibrating bristles will break up any plaque at the gumline as well as give your gums a massage, then make sure to get into all the grooves at the top of the teeth as well.

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4. Don't pick any toothpaste

Ingredients-wise, fluoride is the best preventative measure you can take for your teeth. Even if you are not prone to cavities, most of the American diet is very acidic and strips our enamel of the minerals it needs to stay strong. Fluoride toothpastes simply infuse our teeth with what is leached out of them all day long. My personal favorite toothpaste is by prescription only. FluorideX toothpaste has a higher concentration of fluoride, helps with sensitivity and helps keep your enamel strong if you are prone to cavities, and even prevents erosion of your enamel from acid reflux! A close second is the over-the-counter toothpaste by Sensodyne with whitening. Everyone wants a bright sparkly smile, but some whitening toothpastes are very abrasive. Sensodyne built its brand on being gentle, and this product delivers.

5. Avoid cavities

For all my sweets lovers out there, I feel your pain! My office is named Sugar Fix Dental Loft for a reason... I am a sugar fiend myself. Cookies, cake, ice cream, you name it, I love it! There are a couple of tips I have to help fend off cavities when you simply cannot give up the sugary treats you love. Sip on water while you're eating dessert, brush afterward, or look for a sugar-free version of your favorite candy.

6. Eat these foods

Apples are a natural tooth scrubber, munch on one after your main meal to help clean your teeth. Strawberries are a natural teeth whitener, so if your smile needs a little boost, snack on a bowl of strawberries to bring an extra sparkle to your smile!

7. Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated is essential for total body health, and is wonderful for your teeth as well. First, it helps prevent dry mouth, which can cause decay. Second, it rinses away anything you've consumed during the day whether it's coffee, tea, or a cupcake in the breakroom. For those times that you can't brush after eating, drinking water is a must!