Brush your teeth! Drink your milk! You’ve heard the drill ever since your first tiny tooth poked out. Mom is usually your first teacher, and often gives the best advice. Thanks to those early lessons, most of us will never forget that brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits are essential to our dental health. However, here are a few tips and tricks that Mom may have left out.

If your gums are bleeding, you may actually need to cut back on flossing, or use a gentler technique.

Flossing Too Much

Chances are Mom never needed to tell you to brush and floss less. Yet, your dentist might actually give this recommendation in the case of daily or frequent bleeding of the gums that is otherwise unexplained. Most dentists advocate that brushing two times daily, along with flossing at least once per day, and getting a check-up every six months, is a good course of action to maintain dental hygiene in most of the population.

So unless you’re seriously dedicated to your smile, and sleep with a toothbrush in your hand, brushing and flossing too much is unlikely to be the problem. A little more likely is that your technique is off. Rigorous scrubbing with a hard bristle brush, for instance, or roughly jamming the floss between your teeth without taking care to aim, can both lead to inflamed or injured gums, which usually lead to bleeding.

Bleeding gums can also be a sign of gingivitis, or other serious dental condition, so definitely don’t start following this plan on your own. Make sure to schedule a check-in with Dr. Nguyen anytime you have concerns about bleeding or pain.

Drinking coffee, soda, and similar beverages can do more harm to your mother-of-pearls than make them look stained.

Drinking Too Much Soda

In fact, too much of certain liquids, like your morning latte or your afternoon diet soda, can cause weakening of the teeth, and even gingivitis. Even though some phosphorous, (along with calcium and vitamin d) in your diet is actually essential for dental health, heavy levels of the acidic mineral, like those that occur with frequent soda-drinking, can actually cause weakening and decay. Coffee also contains a high level of tannic acid, which yes, stains your teeth, but can also wear down tooth enamel.

So while you can always address undesirable yellowing or browning of your teeth by coming in for our professional in-house teeth-whitening services, enamel, on the other hand, is essential to the comfort, health, and appearance of your teeth. So if you just can’t quit imbibing, it’s a good idea to add an enamel-building mouthwash to your existing morning and evening routine.

Mama may have warned you that too much candy would make the dentist and the tooth fairy disappointed, but did she alert you to the potential dangers of fruit?

Eating Citrus

Don’t worry, no one is suggesting that cutting fruit out of your diet altogether is a good idea. But when it comes to certain fruits, most juices, or dried fruit, you might want to use caution. Oranges might be high in vitamin c, but their high citrus level can wreak havoc on tooth health. The same goes for sticky, clingy gobs of dried fruit, or the low-fiber and high-sugar content of fruit juice, as it pools in your mouth.

Of course some amount of these tasty forms of fruit is OK, always remember to consider your oral hygiene when building a healthy diet. Mom would want it that way.