Maintaining Your Teeth Is An Important Part Of Your Overall Health
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 1 in 4 (26%) adults in the U.S. have untreated tooth decay, and nearly half (46%) of all adults over 30 years old show signs of gum disease.
If you fit into either of these statistics or you want to avoid the same fate, here are seven ways you can start improving your dental health today:
1. Brush Your Teeth Twice A Day
Though you probably already brush your teeth, you may not be doing it correctly or frequently enough.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing twice a day for two minutes. Once in the morning and once in the evening works well for most people.
Use a toothbrush with a soft bristle. Both manual and electric toothbrushes can be effective. Just make sure you replace the toothbrush (or toothbrush head) about every three months (or sooner if the bristles start to look dirty, frayed, or flared).
As for toothpaste, you want to make sure yours contains fluoride. Fluoride helps protect against tooth decay by fighting germs and providing a protective barrier for your teeth.
When you brush, brush in small, circular motions. You don’t want to apply so much pressure that you damage your teeth or gums, but you want to apply enough that it removes any food and plaque.
And don’t forget to brush your tongue! Your tongue gets dirty just like your teeth do. To make the job easier, you can get a special tongue scraper instead of using your toothbrush.
2. Floss Every Day
Many struggle to floss because they don’t see the need. But the truth is flossing isn’t just for removing bits of food from in between your teeth. It’s also a preventative measure that helps keep plaque from building up and cavities from forming in the first place.
Once you understand this, flossing makes more sense.
For the most benefit, floss around and between every tooth that you can reach. Just don’t floss so hard that you hurt your gums or make them bleed.
If you don’t like to sling your saliva all over the place with traditional floss string, try using floss picks. These let you floss with your mouth closed and with one hand. Plus, they double as a pick so you have two tools at your disposal.
3. Use Mouthwash
Mouthwash isn’t essential to dental health, but it can serve as an extra layer of protection.
A good mouthwash will help clean the small areas of your mouth that may be hard to reach with floss or a toothbrush. It also reduces the amount of corroding acid in your mouth and helps re-mineralize your teeth.
You can use mouthwash with or without alcohol. Mouthwash with alcohol tends to be more powerful, but it also gets rid of good bacteria. Mouthwash without alcohol tends to be less powerful, but it also targets only the bad bacteria. So there’s a tradeoff.
If you struggle with alcoholism or have certain special conditions, alcohol-free mouthwash may be the better choice.
4. Limit Your Intake Of Sugary And Acidic Drinks And Foods
Sugar is well-known for causing cavities. But few understand exactly why sugar is bad for your teeth. The truth is that the bacteria that breaks down the sugars on your teeth leaves behind harmful acids.
These acids eat away at your tooth enamel and then leave stains, create cavities, and sometimes even erode the inside structure of your teeth.
So try to stay away from sugary drinks like pop and soda and acidic drinks like tea and coffee. The same goes for sugary and acidic foods.
Instead, eat a healthy diet and drink water. It has zero negative properties and will help wash out some of the negative effects of sugary and acidic drinks.
5. Don’t Smoke
Smoking is one of the worst things you could do to your teeth. It can lead to gum disease, tooth decay, and in some cases, even tooth loss.
Smoking also discolors your teeth over time (turning them yellow and brown) and makes your breath stink.
Needless to say, you should avoid smoking at all costs if you want to improve your dental health.
If you already smoke, try to quit. Not doing so means you’re more likely to get infected gums and may need dental implants someday (if you live in Encino, CA, check out Dental implants Encino).
6. Maintain A Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is good for your body overall, but it’s also good for your teeth.
How? When you keep a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein, you satisfy all of your basic nutritional needs and don’t need the sugary and acidic foods and drinks that can harm your teeth.
For example, you can satisfy your sweet tooth with an apple, and you can bite into crunchy vegetables like carrots and celery to keep your gums stimulated and fight off cavities. So keep a healthy diet, and your teeth will be better off for it.
7. See The Dentist At Least Twice Per Year
Lastly, you should see the dentist at least twice a year to get a checkup. Some health insurances may cover this (and dental insurance definitely will).
The dentist can alert you to any areas of your mouth that are at risk of cavities or other dental issues. They can also have their dental hygienist give you a professional cleaning to help prevent cavities and gum disease from forming in the first place.
Many people don’t go to the dentist because they associate it with a negative experience. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Dentists are there to help and are more than happy to do whatever it takes to make your experience more comfortable. Ask them all your questions and let them know about any concerns you might have before going in.
At the end of the day, you are responsible for how healthy your teeth are.
Sure, some people are more disposed to dental issues than others due to their genetics, but there’s still a lot you can do to improve your teeth.
So try out some of the dental hygiene tips listed above today. With consistent and diligent effort, you can make big improvements!