By Last Updated: June 30, 2022

Tips for Healthy Teeth and GumsIt’s no secret that good oral health contributes enormously to overall physical and mental wellness. Following a thorough daily dental care routine not only helps prevent cavities/tooth decay, periodontal (gum) disease and tooth loss, but may also reduce the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, oral or throat cancer and respiratory conditions, to all of which poor dental hygiene is linked. Beyond the clinical health benefits, oral wellness can help promote self-confidence, lessen stress and improve overall mental wellbeing.

Practicing consistent oral care from when you are young provides immeasurable protection as you age—but it’s never too late to start (or step up) your dental habits if you want to enjoy the benefits later in life. Read on for the best tips to maintain healthy and happy teeth and gums, or visit Springbank Hill Dental in Calgary for a checkup and customized oral hygiene routine.

Brushing your teeth twice a day

Regular toothbrushing is the foundation of any robust dental care plan—it prevents plaque buildup, removes food particles and guards against decay. Here at Springbank Hill Dental, we instruct patients to use the 2×2 method: brush twice daily for at least two minutes. Of course, technique is paramount to successful toothbrushing:

  • Use a soft-bristled brush with angled or multi-layer bristles
  • Apply mild to moderate pressure, never brushing so hard as to cause pain or bleeding
  • Brush all dental surfaces, focusing special care toward the inner and outer gum lines, where plaque can accumulate
  • Use small circular motions when you brush
  • Brush for a minimum of two minutes, spending roughly 30 seconds on each quadrant of your mouth (top left, bottom left, top right, bottom right)

Many people find using a timer to be helpful, especially as they are adjusting to a tooth brushing routine. If you are trying to help your child establish good practices for brushing their teeth, try playing a song and using audio cues so they know when to change quadrants. Additionally, many electric toothbrushes have built-in timer features and can provide a more thorough clean than manual brushing.

Daily flossing

As laborious as flossing is, the practice is as crucial to dental and periodontal health as brushing. Food particles and other deposits can get stuck between teeth over the normal course of a day and are commonly missed by even the most diligent brushers. The longer those particles remain stuck, the more likely they develop into decay and lead to more serious issues. We recommend flossing thoroughly every night before you brush—this frees wedged-in food and other residue first, so subsequent brushing rids all particles and loose plaque from your mouth.

The proper flossing technique is to slide taut floss into the spaces between teeth, gently extending down around the gums and hugging the floss tightly around each tooth (do not forget the back side of your back molars). If you are someone who has been negligent with daily flossing (or avoided it altogether) you may notice some pain or light bleeding as you begin a new flossing regimen. These side effects are normal and should abate after a few days.

Replacing your toothbrush regularly

Once your toothbrush begins showing signs of wear—fraying, flattened or permanently bent bristles, toothpaste buildup or an odd taste or odor—it’s time to replace it. Toothbrushes with softer bristles, which we recommend, tend to wear more quickly, and once bristles are damaged they become ineffective at cleaning your teeth and gums. The typical lifespan of a toothbrush (or toothbrush head, if using an electric model) is 3-6 months. But an unpleasant odor or taste could be an indication of bacteria growth, so replace immediately regardless of how long you’ve had it. Today, many electric toothbrush makers offer subscription services, automatically sending replacement heads for a reasonable fee on a schedule you pre-select (usually every 3, 4, 5 or 6 months). This is a great option if you’re constantly unsure of how long you’ve had your toothbrush or find yourself trying to brush with flattened bristles.

Visiting your dentist twice a year

Even brushing and flossing as thoroughly as possible at home, you’ll still experience inevitable plaque and tartar buildup that only a professional cleaning can take care of. Scheduling a dental appointment every six months allows your dentist and hygienist to deep clean and examine your teeth for any developing issues and address them before they become serious health issues.

Maintaining a healthy diet

A diet rich in protein, calcium and vitamin D supports dental as well as overall orthopedic and digestive health—think kale, spinach and other leafy greens, raw almonds and other nuts, cheeses, and (unsweetened) plain yogurt. Foods and drinks high in fructose, corn syrup and other sugars such as candy, ice cream, soft drinks, sports drinks and alcoholic cocktails, and other sweets, while okay in moderation, cause plaque buildup and decay. Avoid sugary treats when you can, or try to squeeze in an extra brushing session after indulging to protect your teeth.

Remaining properly hydrated is another important practice. Drinking plenty of water promotes healthy saliva production, helping move food remnants through your mouth so that you ingest them before they become lodged in your teeth and start growing bacteria.

Using dental hygiene products and other tools

Beyond daily manual brushing and flossing, many people use tools and other oral care products and devices as part of their routines to help their teeth look and feel their best:

  • Mouthwash
  • Water flossers (also known as oral irrigators), which can be used in addition to or in place of traditional floss
  • Interdental cleaners/toothpicks
  • Tongue scrapers
  • Prescription home fluoride treatments

While over-the-counter teeth whitening strips and other similar treatments are popular, using them too frequently or improperly can cause damage to your teeth and gums, making them very sensitive. We recommend leaving the whitening to the professionals. Springbank Hill Dental offers in-office whitening procedures as well as custom tray teeth whitening kits for safe home use.

Avoiding smoking

Smoking has long been linked to oral and lung cancer, periodontal disease, stained teeth, dry mouth and chronic bad breath. While much less research exits on e-cigarettes and vaping, the practice has already been linked to enamel weakening/breakdown, accelerated tooth decay, gum disease and oral infections. If you are a habitual smoker or vaper, consider quitting as quickly as possible, or at least cutting back drastically for the sake of your oral and periodontal health.

Getting sealants

Dental sealants are a popular protective filling applied to your molars and premolars to discourage accumulation of plaque and prevent cavities from forming. Teens and children are the most common recipients of dental sealants, but people of all ages can enjoy their benefits.


In between your semi-annual checkups, it’s a good idea to examine your teeth, gums and the inside of your mouth regularly. Note any changes at your next dental appointment, or if a major concern arises, reach out sooner.

Consult a dental professional for help strengthening your oral care routine

While genetics certainly play a role in dental and periodontal health, the care you obtain and provide for yourself every day will make the biggest impact on your lifelong oral wellness. For exceptional dental attention in Calgary, AB, make an appointment today at Springbank Hill Dental. Call 403-454-4757 or reach out online for more information—we’re here to take care of you.