What do you think of when you hear the phrase “spring-cleaning”?
For most of us, this time of year means welcoming the warmer temperatures by washing our windows, cleaning out closets (ugh!), and finally getting around to dusting those pesky cobwebs off the ceiling.
And while many of us will focus our extra bursts of energy on our home, our exercise routine, and possibly even those drawers we keep shoving stuff into — there is also another area of our life that can use a little TLC.
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It’s a mouthful! There’s no better time than your annual spring-cleaning to fine-tune your oral health care routine and put a fresh shine on those pearly whites. It’s also a good idea to make sure your teeth get a thorough cleaning and exam and dig out the floss from the bathroom cabinet.
And when it comes to that all-important question, “How often you should visit the dentist?” the American Dental Association (ADA) says that in order to maintain optimal oral health, regular patients should visit the dentist at intervals determined by their dental provider.
While this may seem vague — the reasoning behind it is quite logical.
There really is no one-size-fits-all dental treatment, and some people need to visit the dentist once or twice a year, while others may require more time in that comfy reclining chair.
But just how often you get your teeth cleaned varies on your gum health. Dentists often recommend that people with healthy gums should have cleanings at least once and ideally, twice a year, depending on the accumulation of stain and tartar. And those with any ongoing issues, like periodontal disease, may need to get their teeth cleaned more often in order to prevent the recurrence of infection or disease.
To take advantage of the spring-cleaning buzz that sweeps through us at this time of year, LifeZette spoke with Dr. Jeffrey Rappaport, a general dentist and co-founder of Afora in New York City, to find out why we should include oral health care as part of our spring-cleaning.
Here are the top eight reasons your mouth needs a fresh cleaning:
1.) Check expiration dates. You may not realize it, but oral products do have expiration dates. Spring cleaning is the perfect time to check your bottles of mouthwash and tubes of toothpaste and toss any that are past their expiration dates.
2.) Swap out toothbrushes. Change your toothbrush with the seasons — especially after flu season. Bacteria that’s trapped in your toothbrush can reintroduce illness to your body, so spring is the ideal time to head to the store and purchase all new brushes for your household.
3.) Get relief from respiratory problems. With spring comes allergies. Keeping up with your oral hygiene can help alleviate some sinus symptoms and help you breathe easier.
4.) Commit to brushing twice a day. Eating Easter sweets that are high in sugar (jelly beans, Cadbury eggs, and Peeps, oh my!) are harmful to those pearly whites.
Brushing your teeth twice daily will help avoid cavities.
This is a great time to commit to drinking plain water for the majority of our fluids.
5.) Remember the comprehensive exams. A complete oral evaluation with your hygienist and dentist can detect early warning signs of other medical issues.
6.) Give your teeth a little love. The first day of spring should signal that it’s time for your second quarterly cleaning of the year. Scheduling your cleanings with the seasons acts as a built-in reminder.
7.) Check what you’re drinking. As the weather gets warmer, we tend to start sipping cold beverages throughout the day.
This is a great time to commit to drinking plain water for the majority of our fluids. Iced coffees, teas and other flavored drinks leaves damaging sugars and acid on our teeth.
8.) Summer is coming. That is reason enough to freshen up your pearly whites.
This article appeared earlier in LifeZette and has been updated.