April is Oral Health Month. This means that people everywhere are considering new ways to ensure they are taking good care of their gums and teeth. In celebration, we would like to give you these goals for this month to ensure the health of your smile.

Visit the Dentist

First and foremost, the most important thing you can do for your oral health is to visit the dentist twice a year. As important as daily dental hygiene habits are, they cannot replace the important role your dentist in Manahawkin plays in your oral health. You cannot remove tartar on your own — only a professional cleaning can get that job done. Visiting the dentist isn’t just about maintaining your dental health; it’s also about preventing future problems that could cost you big time down the road. Your dentist can detect early signs of disease, help you develop healthy habits, and can be an integral part of your care team for your overall health.

Brush Your Teeth Properly

It’s not enough to simply brush your teeth for 15 seconds and call it good. To sufficiently address your oral health needs, you need to use a proper technique as well. First of all, you will need to brush for the right amount of time — two minutes, two times a day. Next, make sure you are brushing properly. Place your brush at a 45-degree angle to your gyms, then use short, back-and-forth strokes across the tops and sides of your teeth. Then hold the brush vertically and use short strokes on the backs of your front teeth, where there tends to be a lot of plaque buildup.

Don’t Smoke

Smoking is incredibly detrimental to your health, and in particular, your mouth. The nicotine in tobacco yellows your teeth, and can even turn them brown. People who smoke are also at increased risk of gum disease and oral, throat, and lung cancers. If you smoke, take steps to quit for the sake of your health.

Eat a Tooth-Friendly Diet

What you eat has an impact on your oral health by not only strengthening your teeth and gums, but also preventing tooth decay and gum disease. You want to make sure that your diet includes lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and unsaturated fat. In addition, make sure you are getting plenty of calcium. Cheese lovers should be particularly happy — not only is this a rich source of calcium, studies also show that it increases saliva production and neutralizes acid in the mouth, helping prevent cavities.

Drink Water

Water is great for your overall health, and is also beneficial for keeping your mouth clean. We advise that you drink water after every meal, as this works to wash away a lot of the impact of sticky, acidic foods.


Contrary to popular belief, flossing is just as important, if not more important, than brushing. Flossing isn’t just about getting food out of your teeth; it also serves to stimulate blood flow to your gums, reducing inflammation and plaque.

Change Your Brush

You don’t want to continue brushing with a worn out toothbrush. Not only is it not working properly anymore, it is a breeding ground for bacteria. Make sure to replace your toothbrush (or toothbrush head, if you have an electric toothbrush) every three-to-four months.

Scrape Your Tongue

Plaque doesn’t just build up on your teeth; it also builds up on your tongue. If you’re struggling with bad breath and wondering why, it may be your tongue. Beyond feeling self-conscious about smells, you want to brush your tongue to prevent a variety of oral health conditions.

Try a Mouthwash

While mouthwash doesn’t hold the same weight of importance as brushing or flossing, it can be a helpful part of your oral hygiene routine. Mouthwash can help by neutralizing acid in your mouth, cleaning areas of the mouth that may be challenging to reach with a brush, and re-mineralizing teeth. Talk to your dentist in Manahawkin about which mouthwash would be best for you.

If you’re looking for a dentist in Manahawkin who can help you with your oral health, we would love to help you. Contact Smiles by Dr. Santos to make an appointment today!