If you're a busy mum, or anyone, you might think it's impossible to take care of your teeth, between the kids, work, and school, when do you have time for proper dental hygiene? You brush your teeth in the morning, but that's about it. Fortunately, there are ways for you to take advantage of your busy schedule so that you can do more to protect your precious teeth and gums.
Mouthwash is the basic first defense against plaque and gum disease. It only takes 30 seconds to kill off weak bacteria, so you can actually put some of this in your mouth while you get ready to hop in the shower. If you shower at night, do it at night. For mornings, swish some mouthwash around while you are getting the kids dressed or while you're making their lunches. Dilute it with 50 percent water if it's too intense for you. While 30 seconds is good, more swishing time isn't going to hurt.
A good fluoride rinse without any fancy ingredients (i.e. whitening ingredients) goes a long way to protect your teeth. Using fluoride rinse at night before bed is especially important if you already have weak, loose, or discolored teeth. You can make this a sort of game with your kids if you like. Both mum and child can brush, wash, and rinse mouths before bed. This way, it doesn't take extra time out of your already busy day.
Another good option for mouthwash throughout the day are those Listerine strips. Just pop one in your mouth, and it kills most germs that cause bad breath.
You should floss before you brush, but if that's not possible, carry a small floss dispenser with you in your purse. Floss after every meal and rinse with some water. This should be relatively easy to do since floss doesn't take up much space. While toothpicks and flossing sticks might seem easier, they're also a bit more expensive and may not do a good enough job. Since you'll have to dispose of used flossing equipment anyway, it's probably best to stick with regular floss.
Brushing is sometimes done as a separate activity from showering. However, one of the best ways to save time is to brush in the shower. This effectively combines two activities in one. Since you only need to brush for about 2 minutes to have a beneficial effect on your gums and teeth, you can brush while the water is warming up or while you're wetting yourself down.
When you can't brush during the day after every meal, you can do the next best thing: use finger tooth wipes. These things look like little gloves for your fingers, but they are textured so you can brush your teeth with them. When you're done, you simply toss the glove.
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol. While sugar contributes to gum disease and tooth decay, xylitol actually inhibits it. This is why some toothpastes, candies, and gum use this as the sweetener. Try to find pure xylitol mints or candies to suck on during the day. It will help inhibit the growth of harmful oral bacteria. Alternatively, you can put about 10 ml of xylitol in a bottle of water and carry it around with you. Make sure the sugar alcohol is thoroughly dissolved before you start drinking it. Swish it around in your mouth and hold it there for a few seconds before swallowing it or slowly sip it throughout the day. Don't consume too much of this at one time though, because some people report gastrointestinal upset when large quantities are consumed at once.
Claire York is a dental nurse and in her spare time she enjoys writing articles about health and well being. The Invisible Orthodontist.