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6 Lifehacks for Taking Care of Your Teeth


Brushing is common sense, but it’s not enough. Here are six more things you can do for healthy teeth.

Obviously, you should brush your teeth. That’s not really a lifehack, that’s just a common-sense thing you’ve (hopefully) been doing since childhood. But, every single medical professional from the most experienced DDS to a newly-minted DLT can tell you that brushing is not enough. Here are six more things you (and your future patients) can do for healthier teeth.

1. Yes, you do actually need to floss.

You might have seen a few news items last year telling you not to floss, and sighed with relief. Bad news if you hate flossing, though: The ADA still recommends it. Popular media, it turns out, was way too quick to jump on a single list of dietary recommendations.

The hubbub last year was only about flossing being removed from a specific list of dietary guidelines. Dentists, though, remain unwavering in their enthusiasm for cleaning the nooks and crannies between your teeth. If you get your teeth cleaned professionally, for example, you’re still going to get flossed.

So, keep flossing. It only takes a minute or so. And do you really want to walk around with that bit of kale stuck between your teeth?

Related resource: You Can Improve Your Focus in a Dental Lab. Here’s How.

2. When you brush, brush right.

Like we said earlier, brushing your teeth is a no-brainer. But are you brushing your teeth the right way? Incorrect brushing techniques can harm your teeth and gums.

Using a brush that’s too tough can erode gum tissue and tooth enamel, and being too aggressive in your technique can cause similar damage. Stick with a soft bristle brush. Brush in small circles as opposed to strong front-and-back motions, and avoid pressing down too hard. Brushing should be more of a leisurely massage than a quick sand blasting. Don’t beat your mouth up when you’re cleaning it. Treat it with care.

3. Teeth are for food — just food.

Your teeth are not tools. They are part of you. As tempting as it is to, say, use your teeth to pull the tags off clothing or cut bits of duct tape, don’t do it. While it might be primally satisfying in a caveman kind of way, using your teeth as tools for anything other than food can cause chipping, cracks, and damage to fillings and crowns.

Leave the clamping, pulling, and prying to the scissors, pliers, and other tools. Pulling the tag off a new sweater isn’t worth a damaging a tooth or breaking a crown that some dental lab technician probably worked hard on.

Related resource: Who Makes Your Teeth? The Dental Lab Technician!

4. Clean your tongue.

While you’re brushing your teeth, don’t forget the other surfaces in your mouth. Every day your tongue’s taste buds encounter air, food, and drink. Your tongue interacts with the outside world just like your fingers do. (Well, not just like your fingers, but you know what we mean.) You already clean everything else on your body. Clean your tongue, too.

Brushing or scraping your tongue can remove bacteria that build up on the floor of your mouth. That bacteria is what leads to bad breath, so get them out of there.

5. Avoid toothpicks.

Toothpicks don’t necessarily hurt your teeth, but they can damage your gums. In the long run that can be bad for your choppers, though. After all, gums are where teeth live.

Toothpicks can indeed pick out bits of food from your teeth, and they also have the distinction of being some of the oldest tools for oral care that we know of. After all, you don’t need a high level of technology to pick some food out of your teeth with a stick. But, if you’re flossing, brushing, and using other proper methods to clean your teeth, toothpicks probably won’t do too much for you. Those more high-tech and precise modern methods (as well as everything that a modern dental lab has going for it) will do a whole lot more for you than toothpicks will. And you won’t stab yourself in the gums.

Related resource: Here’s a Look at Some of the Latest Dental Lab Technology

6. Don’t bite ice. It bites back.

It’s always satisfying to finish a cold drink, clink the ice cubes around the bottom of the glass, and then chomp down on one of those miniature icebergs that had been cooling your gin and tonic. That crunch feels great. And you should stop doing it.

In a battle between teeth and ice, ice wins. Chewing ice can result in damaging tooth enamel or dental work. If you have any crowns or fillings, chowing down on ice can reverse all the good they’re doing. And, biting the cold stuff can result in chipped teeth, and no one wants those. Don’t crush it in your jaws, just let it melt in your mouth.

To start caring for teeth professionally, visit Ameritech’s Dental Laboratory Technician program page.