A healthy mouth has teeth that are free of decay, irritated gums, and other problems. Regular dental cleanings and oral exams are vital to prevent problems before they become serious.
Maintaining good oral health means brushing properly twice a day, flossing daily, drinking water, not smoking or using chewing tobacco, and visiting the dentist regularly. It also means avoiding sugary foods and drinks.
1. Brush Your Teeth Daily
The most basic and fundamental dentistry advice is to brush your teeth on a daily basis. It is important to brush regularly so that plaque and tartar do not build up, causing gum disease or tooth decay. Brushing your teeth on a regular basis is also effective for preventing bad breath.
Aside from brushing, it is recommended to floss at least once a day as well. Flossing can remove plaque and food from between your teeth, reducing the risk of infection. Flossing should be done with 8 to 10 strokes, up and down between each tooth. It is recommended to use dental floss that has the ADA seal of approval. It can be found in either waxed or unwaxed varieties.
Besides being good for your oral health, regular brushing and flossing can help prevent other diseases. The bacteria that cause oral infections can spread to other parts of the body and can lead to conditions such as endocarditis, heart disease, and pregnancy complications. It is therefore essential to keep your mouth healthy so that you can have a long and happy life.
To ensure you are brushing correctly, it is advisable to visit your dentist on a regular basis for routine cleanings. This will allow your dentist to detect problems before they get out of hand, such as cavities and gum disease. Your dentist will also be able to recommend the right toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss for your specific needs. Regular visits to the dentist are also important for maintaining a beautiful smile. In addition to routine cleanings, your dentist can also perform other treatments such as dental implants, if needed. This can help to restore a missing tooth or even replace them completely.
2. Floss Daily
Flossing removes the bacteria in plaque that is left behind on teeth and along the gum line. It also helps prevent cavities and gum disease. A good rule of thumb is to floss once a day, ideally after brushing at night before going to bed. If you have tight spaces between your teeth, you may prefer a smooth, thin floss that slides easily into those tiny crevices, while others with wider gaps might find that a thicker, woven floss works better.
Many people mistakenly believe that brushing alone will remove all of the food debris between their teeth, so floss is unnecessary. However, only removing the food debris above your gum line will not prevent decay caused by bacteria in those tight spaces that brushing is unable to reach. In addition, researchers have found that inflammation in the mouth — like the chronic inflammation associated with periodontitis — can increase your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other illnesses.
Keeping your teeth healthy is much like tending to a pristine white picket fence that encloses the picturesque garden of your mouth. You would never let weeds grow and ruin its beauty, so you need to regularly weed out those pesky plaque and bacteria that can cause harm. Flossing is your best tool for ensuring that this beautiful garden is free of the weeds that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Adding this to your daily routine will help you maintain a beautiful, happy, and healthy smile. Moreover, it will protect your overall health by helping you avoid serious diseases such as cardiovascular disease and dementia. For more information about flossing, please visit our Oral Care page.
3. Schedule Regular Checkups
When issues are caught in the early stages, they’re much easier and less expensive to treat. That’s why it’s important to visit the dentist on a regular basis to make sure that any dental problems are dealt with quickly and effectively before they develop into more serious issues.
It’s recommended to see a dentist every six months to help prevent tooth decay and other oral health issues. However, adults who practice good oral hygiene and have a low risk of dental problems may be able to go less frequently. It’s also important to do a self-exam of your mouth on a regular basis and note any changes or unusual symptoms that may arise between visits to the dentist.
It’s especially important to see a dentist regularly if you have certain medical conditions or take medications that affect your oral health. For example, people with HIV/AIDS or other infections of the gums are more likely to have bad oral health, while osteoporosis and some cancer treatments can weaken the bones in the jaw. Some insurance plans even offer more frequent dental cleanings, which can be very helpful in preventing issues from developing. It’s also crucial for pregnant women to have healthy teeth as hormonal changes can make them more susceptible to gingivitis and periodontitis.
4. Avoid Sugary Foods
Too much sugar in the diet increases tooth decay, which can lead to gum disease. Many processed foods contain added sugar, such as baked goods, candy, sodas and breakfast cereals. Sugary foods and drinks also cause bacteria to produce acids that attack teeth, causing them to weaken. The acids can damage the enamel of the teeth and expose the dentin, which is more sensitive and can be eroded over time. The bacteria can also irritate the gums, which can lead to gum disease and make it difficult for tissues in the mouth to resist infection.
In addition to avoiding sugary foods and beverages, it is important to eat a healthy diet that is rich in vitamins and minerals. A balanced diet of whole foods, including leafy greens, dairy, fruits and nuts, can provide your body with the nutrients it needs for good oral health.
If you are unable to completely cut out sugary foods and beverages, drink plenty of water to help wash away food debris and prevent the development of acid that damages the teeth. Try drinking fluoridated bottled or tap water, milk and unsweetened herbal tea.
Regular dental visits are important for your overall health. In addition to preventing plaque and tartar buildup, regular visits allow the dentist to identify potential problems before they become serious. Combined with brushing twice daily and flossing, avoiding sugary foods and drinking plenty of water, visiting the dentist regularly is an excellent way to protect your smile for life.
5. Drink Water
Drinking water is one of the best things you can do to protect your teeth. While it doesn’t replace brushing and flossing as the standard tools for maintaining oral health, drinking water helps to wash away food residue and cavity-causing bacteria that may have accumulated in your mouth. It also keeps your mouth hydrated, preventing dry mouth which can leave you more susceptible to cavities.
The sugar in soda, candy, and other sweetened drinks breaks down to form acid that eats away at enamel and makes teeth more vulnerable to decay. If you want a refreshing beverage, choose water or 100% fruit juice instead of these sugary options. Also, avoid carbonated beverages as the added carbonation can increase the acidity of your beverage.
Water is the ideal choice for a refreshing beverage because it doesn’t contain any sugar. It is also the recommended beverage for dental health because it hydrates your mouth, preventing dry mouth which can leave you exposed to tooth decay. You should aim to drink at least eight glasses of water per day to stay hydrated.
It’s important to drink water that contains fluoride as this mineral is necessary for oral health. Many public water sources are treated with fluoride, but bottled water often does not contain fluoride. If you prefer a different type of beverage, you can try an unsweetened, organic, or brewed tea or coffee. Or, you can drink a glass of milk, which is a great source of calcium and phosphate that strengthens tooth enamel. Milk is also free of any staining ingredients and does not cause tooth decay when it is not left on the teeth. It is a good idea to rinse your mouth with water after drinking milk.