By Andrew Hickey on Oct 4, 2022 @ 02:26 PM
It takes more than biannual dental visits to get a healthy, clean mouth
- Simple things you can do daily will improve your oral health
- Oral health is important to your overall health
- Many people brush after eating – this might not be the best thing to do
- If you are not brushing your tongue, it can undo the effectiveness of brushing
You probably know that visiting your dentist twice a year for exams and cleanings is important to your oral health. But what you do in between those visits can have a significant impact on what happens once you are in the chair. It benefits your dental health, as well as the appearance of your teeth and gums, to work in tandem with your dentist.
We often eat and drink things that will stain our teeth and harm our gum health. A common example is highly acidic food like citrus fruit and seafood, and starchy foods like bread and noodles. Acidic drinks include anything with sugar.
We figure we can just brush and floss right after without thinking about how it affects our teeth. Brushing your teeth immediately after eating these types of foods will gradually wear away your enamel. Here are 10 tips on what to avoid and what to do to keep your smile bright and your gums healthy.
- Do not go to bed without brushing your teeth
No matter how tired we can get, brushing before bed is essential to caring for our teeth and gums. If you need some motivation, think about this: Bacteria live in your mouth and build plaque. If you go without brushing before bed, you will wake up with a fuzzy feeling on your teeth. That is bacteria eating the enamel from your teeth!
- Brush your teeth properly
This simple step is one that takes practice, no matter your age. A quick swish with the brush will not effectively clean your teeth. You should brush for at least two minutes. Use small, circular motions, angling the brush toward your gums. Brush gently so as not to damage your gums.
- Floss everyday
Although the U.S. government no longer recommends flossing, It will be hard to find a dentist who agrees. Flossing removes plaque between teeth, which helps prevent cavities. It also removes debris under the gum line and reduces inflammation and bleeding. Those who are weary or hate to floss can explore alternatives such as interdental brushes or a water flosser.
- Brush your tongue
Your tongue is in contact with every part of your mouth so if you do not keep it clean, it can spread debris to your teeth and gums even after brushing. Use your toothbrush and brush your tongue, or you can buy a tongue scraper. Some water flossers come with them.
- Keep your diet clean
While it may be easier said than done, ditching sugary drinks and foods is essential to dental health. They can negatively affect your teeth and your body. Instead, eat calcium-rich foods such as almonds, yogurt, cheese, and leafy greens. Avoid sticky candy like caramels and gummies and eat whole grain bread rather than white. Eat flavorless popcorn – it can scrub away plaque. Caramel corn and kettle corn do not count, unfortunately!
- Have a cup of tea
Tea is both good and bad for teeth. The good news is that green and black tea have fluoride, which can prevent tooth decay, protect your enamel, and strengthen your teeth. They also have properties called polyphenols and micronutrients, which reduce inflammation of the gums and kill bacteria. On the negative side, tea can cause staining. So, brush your teeth about half an hour after drinking it. Also try not to add sugar, lemon, or honey to your tea as it can undo the positive effects.
- Stay hydrated
It is essential to your overall health to stay hydrated. A dry mouth is a dangerous environment for your teeth. It helps plaque and bacteria invade the base of your teeth. Tooth enamel is weakened, and mouth sores can occur. If none of this sounds like fun, it is time to drink up! Women need about 11.5 cups of fluids per day and men need about 15.5 cups. You will also get close to 20 percent of your daily fluid from food. Some foods are more water-rich than others. These include watermelon, cucumber, plain yogurt, bell peppers, cauliflower, and cottage cheese.
- Stop smoking
When it comes to your mouth, smoking can cause gum disease and make your gums pull away from your teeth, leaving open spaces at the base. These pockets get infected and cause you to lose teeth. Smoking also increases the risk of oral cancer. In addition, tobacco contains tar, which stains teeth, and is the source of bad breath.
- Think about using mouthwash
The variety of mouthwashes out there do more than stave off bad breath. They can also whiten teeth, aid gum health, reduce tooth sensitivity, add fluoride, and help prevent plaque. Talk with your dentist to see which, if any, are right for you.
- Visit your dentist regularly
No matter what you do at home, you should still visit your dentist twice a year for checkups and cleanings. Your dentist and hygienist can not only detect serious issues like cancer, but can also find and fill cavities and prevent gum disease. On top of that they can spot infections that, if not treated, can spread throughout your body, and can even cause heart problems.
Aside from what we have already talked about, people who care for their teeth have been shown to live longer. There’s also a psychological impact when teeth have to be pulled. Children who do not receive regular dental care may end up missing school. Simple changes can have a significant effect on not only your smile but your overall health.
We hope these tips will make it easier for you. Combined with twice-annual dentist checkups, you will be on the right track. Get started by scheduling an appointment with your dentist or searching our network of providers today.