Take Care of Your Teeth! 10 Best Ways
Taking care of your teeth is vital to your overall health. You need your teeth to eat food. Your teeth help you speak. Your teeth maintain the structure of your face. Good oral hygiene lessens your chances of periodontal disease and other mouth issues. Studies have shown a connection between poor oral health and poor overall health. And, your teeth are an important part of that big smile. Follow these ten best tips for taking care of your teeth.
One of the easiest ways to take care of your teeth is to brush! Dentist recommend brushing your teeth twice a day and for two minutes. The right toothbrush, toothpaste, and proper brushing techniques are important to ensuring that all surfaces of the teeth are cleaned.
Your toothbrush should have soft bristles and fit comfortably in your mouth. Toothbrushes are not one size fits all! Replace your toothbrush every three months, more often if the bristles are worn.
Use a toothpaste recommended by the American Dental Association. Talk to your dentist about the best toothpaste option for you.
If you aren’t using the right brushing techniques, you may be missing cleaning parts of your mouth. Hold your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle to your gums and use short strokes. Clean the outside, inside and chewing surfaces of your teeth. Don’t forget to also clean your tongue and the roof of your mouth to eliminate as much bacteria as possible.
Flossing daily will eliminate bacteria and food particles that brushing can’t reach between the teeth and below the gumline. Floss comes in the form of regular dental floss or floss picks. There is plenty of debate over which technique is better, but there is no debate that cleaning between your teeth is vital to overall oral health.
When flossing, slide the floss or floss pick between your teeth. Then follow the curve of your tooth toward the gumline, gently cleaning and removing food debris and plaque hidden in that area. Use clean floss that is not fraying for each tooth.
3. Visit the Dentist
Regular dental visits at Wishart Dentist are necessary to monitor your overall oral health and to find and fix problems early. It’s generally recommend to visit the dentist every six months. At the dental visit, your dentist will look for issues like tooth decay (cavities) and gum disease. Your teeth will be thoroughly cleaned and polished, eliminating any plaque build-up which, if left on the teeth, could cause problems down the road. X-rays may also be a part of the visit so your dentist can check for issues that are not visible to the eye.
Dental check-ups don’t just check your teeth. During the exam, your dentist also checks your gums, tongue, jaw, cheeks, throat, and neck for signs of diseases. Some diseases that may be noticed by your dentist include diabetes, anemia, or cancer. Your dentist may also notice things like bruxism, or wear and tear from tooth grinding. Early detection of bruxism can prevent continued damage to the teeth.
4. Eat Healthy Foods
The list of benefits of a health diet is long, and it certainly includes maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Include plenty of whole foods such as grains, nuts, vegetables, and fruit, to give your body the nutrients that it needs. It’s also important to stay away from foods high in sugar and acid because it can erode tooth enamel, which can make you more susceptible to cavities.
5. Limit Coffee, Tea, and Soda
That caffeine boost in your morning cup of joe may be just what you need to start your day, but coffee and tea are the leading cause for the discoloration of teeth. And soda with its high sugar content and acidity (from the carbonation) can lead to eroded enamel and cavities. Whenever possible, drink water.
6. Wear a Mouthguard
Playing sports can be dangerous on the teeth. Depending on the sport, teeth can become chipped, cracked, or knocked out. Repairing broken or replacing missing teeth can be expensive. If participating in a sport that may have a negative impact on your teeth, err on the side of caution and wear a mouthguard.
7. Start Early
Teach kids proper oral hygiene when they are young establishes good habits that will last a lifetime. Begin brushing as soon as the first tooth appears and take the child to the dentist for routine visits as early as your dentist accepts patients. Teeth also benefit from fluoride, so consider using toothpaste that includes it and ask your dentist about fluoride treatments at appointments. Your dentist may also offer a sealant on adult molars as they grow in to help ward off cavities in the future.
8. Rinse or Chew Gum After Meals
It may not be possible to brush after every meal, but it is important to get rid of the bacteria in the mouth to eliminate problems such as tooth decay. After eating, rinse with an antibacterial mouth rinse to kill off some of the bacteria in the mouth. Chewing sugar-free gum gets your saliva flowing, which is a natural way to eliminate bacteria from the mouth.
9. Don’t Smoke or Use Tobacco
Tobacco stains teeth and is proven to increase your risk of periodontal disease and oral cancer. Your dentist will check for symptoms of these problems at appointments, but it is best to quit before you show signs.
10. Only Use Your Teeth for Eating
This one may seem silly, but dentists routinely see patients with chipped or cracked teeth that were caused by using the teeth to do something they are not designed to do. For example, if you can’t get that water bottle open with your hands, get another bottle of water instead of using your teeth to open it.