Daily habits make a huge difference when it comes to your oral health. A few simple changes to your routine can help prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and more.
Limiting sugary foods and acidic drinks is key to keeping your teeth healthy. Drinking water throughout the day can also help reduce plaque build-up and neutralize enamel-eroding acids.
1. Brush Daily
The number one thing that everyone can do to improve their oral health is brushing twice a day for two minutes. This removes plaque, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Brushing also helps remove food particles from the teeth and freshens breath.
In addition, brushing can prevent surface stains from forming on the teeth. Brushing can also help reduce the risk of infections. Bacteria in the mouth from unclean teeth can enter the bloodstream and increase the likelihood of heart attack or stroke.
When brushing, make sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. Also, be sure to brush all surfaces of the teeth – including the inner surfaces, chewing surfaces and the backs of the upper and lower teeth. Brush your tongue as well to eliminate odor-causing bacteria.
Drinking water is also an important part of daily dental hygiene. It washes away food particles, neutralizes acid that can wear down enamel, and flushes the mouth of bad bacteria. In addition, drinking water can re-mineralize teeth, reduce halitosis (chronic bad breath), and keep the gums hydrated. Avoid sugary drinks and foods that are high in acid, as these can erode enamel and cause tooth decay.
2. Floss Daily
Flossing is a great way to remove food debris and plaque from areas that your toothbrush may not reach. This helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Many people choose to floss in the morning or at night before bed, but you can do it at any time throughout the day.
The key is to make flossing a daily habit. It only takes a few minutes, but those few minutes can have a lasting impact on your oral health.
If you skip flossing, the bacteria in your mouth will produce acids that can eat away at the enamel of your teeth. This can cause cavities and lead to gum disease, which can increase your risk of heart problems. Inflammation caused by gum disease is also linked to respiratory issues, including COPD and asthma.
Flossing daily can help reduce your risk of gum disease, improve your breath, and protect against cavities. For best results, try using a dental floss with a soft, flexible end that can easily slide between your teeth and along your gumline. Make sure to floss gently so you don’t harm your gum tissue. For more tips on flossing, consult a dentist or dental hygienist.
3. Schedule Regular Checkups
Visiting the dentist on a regular basis is an important part of maintaining optimal oral health. A dental checkup helps to identify early signs of problems such as a tooth cavity or gum disease, which can be easily treated and minimized with regular care.
The health of the mouth and teeth is closely linked to overall well-being, with research suggesting that poor oral hygiene may contribute to systemic health issues like heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory infections. Regular dental checkups can help to maintain not only a beautiful smile, but also a healthy body.
In addition, a visit to the dentist can help to prevent other health complications such as swollen and bleeding gums, jaw pain, and even some forms of cancer. Developing trusting relationships with dentists over time is a powerful way to help patients establish a routine of good habits that will benefit their oral and overall health for life.
Making dental visits a priority this year can make all the difference in ensuring a radiant smile for life. It is best to schedule appointments ahead of time, so they do not slip through the cracks or get forgotten. This can be done by using a calendar or setting reminders for each appointment.
4. Stay Away From Sugary Foods
The foods and beverages we eat have a major impact on our oral health. Frequent snacking and day-long sipping expose our teeth to constant sugar, which encourages the growth of bacteria that produce acids that erode and wear away tooth enamel.
The best way to protect your teeth is by limiting sugary snacks and drinks, including ice cream, candy, cookies, cake, and sodas. Instead, eat healthy foods like lean meats, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products and whole grains, and sugar-free gum or candies sweetened with xylitol or erythritol to help protect your smile from decay.
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If you do eat something sweet, wait 30-60 minutes before brushing your teeth to give saliva time to rebalance the oral environment and counteract erosive acids. It is also helpful to swish with water after eating to remove food particles and rinse away excess acid.
Be sure to check labels when shopping, as many foods that seem healthy may be higher in sugar than you expect. In addition to avoiding sugary treats, make sure you brush twice a day, floss daily and visit your dentist regularly. This consistent regimen will help you keep your smile strong and healthy. For even better results, drink plenty of water and swish with mouthwash after each brushing to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.
5. Drink Water
Water is a great beverage that doesn’t introduce any extra sugar to the mouth. Other drinks like juices or sodas leave behind a residue of sugar that bacteria in the mouth can feed on, leading to plaque and tooth decay. Water is also a good beverage to drink after meals because it washes away food particles and helps to dilute acids that can eat through teeth enamel. Drinking water regularly also promotes saliva production, a natural defense that works to remineralize teeth and strengthen them against daily wear and tear.
Everyone knows how important it is to stay hydrated for optimal health. It’s been shown to clear up skin, reduce inflammation, keep muscles healthy and expel waste, among other benefits. But, what many people don’t know is how important it is to drink plenty of water for your oral health too. It strengthens your teeth, reduces gum disease, and prevents cavities and tooth sensitivity. We all know that drinking a lot of water is healthy, but it’s a good idea to be intentional about the way you use it for your oral health. Try to make a goal of drinking more water throughout the day and see how your smile and overall health benefit from it!
6. Eat Crunchy Snacks
Many kids and picky eaters love crunchy foods, particularly crackers, chips, puffs or pretzels. But these snacks can also be very unhealthy for teeth. Crunchy packaged snacks that are high in sugar or acid can erode tooth enamel over time, leading to cavities and sensitivity issues. Other factors that can contribute to the desire for crunchy foods include boredom, low hydration and even imbalance in gut bacteria.
Instead of consuming crunchy packaged snacks, try to stick with whole fruits and vegetables for your daily snacking needs. Crunchy fruits and vegetables like apples, carrots and celery are teeth friendly because they help scrub away plaque buildup while stimulating saliva production which can neutralize acids that can eat away at the teeth. Harder foods like carrots, apples and celery also rub against the teeth to help remove food particles and stains, acting as a supplemental brushing for the mouth.
You can easily make your own healthy crunchy snacks at home by combining different ingredients to create a variety of flavors. Try blending nuts with dried fruit or even seeds for some crunch without adding sugar! You can also add a crunch to your meals by making kale crisps or by incorporating a cup of crunchy vegetables into your soups and stews.
7. Avoid Smoking
Smoking has been linked to many serious illnesses, including lung disease and heart disease. It can also lead to oral health problems, such as gum recession and tooth discoloration. It increases the risk of dental caries, periodontal (gum) disease and oral cancers.
Luckily, there are many ways to stop smoking. Some of the most effective methods involve avoiding specific triggers, such as drinking or eating certain foods. You can also try nicotine replacement therapy, which is available in the form of patches, lozenges and therapies. If you decide to try these methods, be sure to consult with your doctor or dentist first.
Other helpful strategies include finding a healthy substitute for your cravings, such as exercising, drinking water or a fruit smoothie, or even just taking a deep breath and thinking about your goals. It’s important to keep in mind that relapses are common, so you should be prepared for them.
Once you’ve stopped smoking, make sure to throw away any ashtrays and lighters. Also, clean your home and car to get rid of the lingering smell of smoke. And most importantly, don’t let any money related to your cigarette habit go to waste. Start a savings account and use it to treat yourself or go on a vacation.