10 tips to keep your teeth healthy
Achieving healthy teeth takes a lifetime of care. Practicing good dental care from infancy to adulthood can help a person keep their teeth and gums healthy. There are a number of tips and tricks that will help keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible throughout your lifetime, but the key to success is turning these tidbits of wisdom into a sustainable plan of action
Here are some tips to help you look after your teeth.
- Brush properly and at least twice a day : The best time to brush teeth is after meals. Choose a toothbrush with a small head for better access to back teeth. Soft bristles are kinder on your gums. Brushing before bed gets rid of the germs and plaque that accumulate throughout the day. Take your time, moving the toothbrush in gentle, circular motions to remove plaque. Unremoved plaque can harden, leading to calculus buildup and gingivitis (early gum disease).
- Use fluoridated toothpaste : Fluoride comes from an element in the earth's soil called fluorine. Fluoride helps to harden tooth enamel and reduces your risk of decay. It works by fighting germs that can lead to decay, as well as providing a protective barrier for your teeth.
- Floss your teeth daily : Use a slow and gentle sawing motion. Flossing can remove plaque and bacteria from between the teeth, where a toothbrush is unable to reach, stimulate the gums, reduce plaque, and help lower inflammation in the area.
- Don’t neglect your tongue : Plaque can also build up on your tongue. Not only can this lead to bad mouth odor, but it can lead to other oral health problems. Gently brush your tongue or use a tongue cleaner every time you brush your teeth.
- Limit acidic drinks like soft drinks, cordials and fruit juices : Acids from the food soften the tooth material and dissolve the minerals in tooth enamel, causing cavities. Acidic fruits, soft drinks, teas, and coffee can wear down tooth enamel hence their intake should be limited.
- Limit sugary foods and drink more water : Consuming sugar can lead to cavities. Common culprits include candy and desserts, but many processed foods also contain added sugar. Eat crunchy fruits and vegetables instead which contain healthy fiber. Water continues to be the best beverage for your overall health — including oral health. It is recommended to drink water after every meal. This can help wash out some of the negative effects of sticky and acidic foods and beverages in between brushes.
- Avoid using your teeth for anything other than chewing food : If you use them to crack nuts, remove bottle tops or rip open packaging, you risk chipping or even breaking your teeth.
- Do not smoke : Smoking harms the body's immune system, which makes it difficult for the body to heal tissues, including those in the mouth. It is a risk factor for gum diseases and also, people who smoke may experience slow healing after a dental procedure.
- Protect your teeth from injury : Wear a mouthguard or full-face helmet when playing sports.
- See your dentist for regular check-ups : Your own everyday habits are crucial to your overall oral health. At minimum, you should see your dentist for cleanings and checkups twice a year. Not only can a dentist remove calculus and look for cavities, but they will also be able to spot potential issues and offer treatment solutions.