Now that spring is upon us, you may find that the good weather and change in seasons have inspired you to get organized and spring clean your home.
For many people, the coming of spring means it's once again time to dust the shelves, clean the closets, and do any exterior home maintenance that may have been neglected during the winter. However, something that you should consider adding to your spring cleaning routine that likely isn't on your list is improving your oral hygiene.
Just like with cleaning your home, it is easy to neglect proper oral hygiene over the holidays and during the cold winter months. Yet, considering good oral hygiene is linked to your overall physical health, it is important that you set aside some time during your spring cleaning to take stock of your oral care to see what changes could help improve your oral health.
Keep reading for a look at six steps that you can take to spring clean your oral healthcare routine.
Replace Your Toothbrush
The first thing you should do when assessing your oral healthcare routine is to consider whether it may be time to replace your toothbrush. Take a moment to think back to the last time you replaced your toothbrush. If you've been using the same toothbrush for a few months, or you can't remember when you replaced it last, then it is likely time to swap it out for a new one.
Over time, your toothbrush will become worn, frayed, and less effective than it once was. It can also begin to harbor bacteria and viruses that can make you sick. For this reason, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that toothbrushes be replaced at least every 3-4 months in order to ensure that your toothbrush is safe and effective. You may need to replace your toothbrush more frequently if it becomes frayed or you have recently experienced a cold or flu.
Clean Your Toothbrush Holder
Of course, while replacing an old toothbrush with a new one is a good way to keep things sanitary, particularly after you have had a cold, you should also take the time to clean your toothbrush holder before you put a new toothbrush in it.
While it is likely that you do not give much thought to the state of your toothbrush holder, the fact is that it is exposed to all of the germs and bacteria in your bathroom and on your toothbrush. Do not contaminate a new toothbrush by housing it in a dirty container.
When replacing your toothbrush, take time to wash your toothbrush holder with warm soapy water first. You may even want to consider sanitizing it in the dishwasher if the label indicates it is dishwasher safe.
Check Expiration Dates
When you clean out the fridge, it is likely that you are in the habit of checking expiration dates on food and condiments to make sure that they are safe to consume. Yet, how often do you check to see whether or not your toothpaste, mouthwash, and other healthcare tools are still in date? While it may seem harmless, and cost-effective, to continue using toothpaste and mouthwash that has expired, these products have expiration dates for a reason.
While these products are not likely to cause harm when they are expired, they likely will not be as effective as intended. Brushing your teeth with expired toothpaste is then pointless if it is not cleaning and protecting your teeth properly. Thusly, if any of your oral healthcare products are out of date, make sure that you replace them immediately.
When assessing your oral health habits this spring, try to make it a goal to incorporate flossing into your oral healthcare routine. While you may already be good about brushing your teeth twice daily as recommended, you are not alone if you find that you often neglect to floss at the same time.
However, flossing daily is essential in order to maintain healthy gums and prevent cavities and tooth decay. One way you may find it easier to incorporate flossing into your daily routine is to purchase a flavored floss. Dental floss comes in several flavors that can help make flossing a more enjoyable experience that you may even look forward to at the end of the day.
Cut Back on Sugary Drinks
Spring is often a time when people choose to revamp their wardrobe or pick up a new habit like going to the gym. However, this is also the perfect time to drop a bad habit like drinking sugary sodas and juices. Sodas, as well as many juices, are full of sugar and artificial flavorings that are not good for your teeth as they can lead to plaque buildup.
Additionally, many of these beverages are acidic, which can cause additional damage to your teeth. Try to cut back on these drinks, or eliminate them from your diet altogether, and instead focus on drinking more water or herbal tea. If you do decide to indulge in a sugary/acidic beverage, be sure to rinse your mouth out with water when you are done.
Schedule a Checkup
Spring is also the perfect time to schedule your next dental checkup, particularly if it has been a while since you have been to the dentist. Going to the dentist regularly for x-rays, a cleaning, and an exam is the best thing that you can do to prevent cavities and gum disease.
Generally, it is recommended that you see a dentist twice a year; however, high-risk groups such as smokers, cancer patients, and pregnant women may need to see the dentist more frequently.
If it has been about six months since your last visit to the dentist, or you can't remember when your last checkup was, feel free to contact us to schedule an appointment as well as to learn more about steps that you can take to improve your oral hygiene this spring.