There are many ways that people can take better care of their oral health to avoid oral diseases and conditions that can threaten the teeth, gums, and more. In fact, many dental problems can affect our overall health and can raise the risk of problems such as heart disease. You already know that you need to brush and floss every day, but there are advanced tips that can also help you to take better care of your teeth and gums.
Brush Every Day, But Not Aggressively
You’ve been told to brush twice a day, but it’s actually better to brush three times a day- once after every meal. It’s also important to make sure that you don’t brush too aggressively. Choose a toothbrush that has soft bristles. These are clearly labeled on the box the brush comes in. Then, brush thoroughly but not with a lot of force. You should be gently removing particles from your teeth and gums instead of brushing hard. Gentle brushing is enough to remove bacteria and plaque from the teeth.
When you brush use small motions, moving the brush in a circle. Avoid moving the brush in a sawing motion going back and forth. Make sure that you take the time to brush the top, front, and back of each tooth. Your total brushing time should be about two to three minutes. If you brush too aggressively or use a toothbrush with hard bristles, you can damage your gums as well as your tooth enamel, the outer layer of the tooth. It can also cause the teeth to be more sensitive and the gums to erode. Your toothbrush should be replaced when it starts to be frayed on the ends or after three months, whichever happens first.
Using mouthwash can kill germs, but it isn’t a substitute for brushing and flossing. There are some mouthwashes that are more helpful than others. There is an antibacterial agent called chlorhexidine that can help to control gingivitis and plaque. There are also certain essential oils that can be found in some mouthwashes that are also helpful against these oral problems. It can help to talk to the dentist about which mouthwash is best for your specific oral needs.
Limit Your Starches and Sugar
Eating a lot of sugary foods can mean developing cavities. Sugar plays a large role in the development of many dental health problems. Foods like desserts and candy have a lot of sugar, but there are also a lot of processed foods that have a good deal of sugar added. It’s recommended by the World Health Organization that you keep your sugar intake to less than 10% of your calories, but it’s better for your oral health to limit it to about 5%.
However, it isn’t just sugary foods that you need to avoid. Eating starchy foods can also lead to tooth decay. These foods stay in the mouth for a long time. As they linger there, they will break down until they become simple sugars. The bacteria that produce acid in your mouth feed on these sugars, leading to tooth decay. The foods you need to limit or avoid include pasta, bread, crackers, and chips. You can replace starchy foods with fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber. You can also substitute with any dairy products that don’t have sugar added.
When you’re cutting out the sugar, don’t forget about sugary drinks. They are a top source of sugar in the diet. Drinking soda can deliver a lot of sugar, but so can drinking juice. Drinking sugary beverages keeps more sugar in the mouth and on the teeth, and this can lead to eloping cavities. Many people find it hard to completely cut out sugary drinks, but they can be limited to being consumed only during meals and only in small amounts.
Use Products That Contain Fluoride
Fluoride is a substance that can help you to prevent cavities. It is often found in toothpaste and mouthwash. There are some people who don’t use fluoride at all, however, and they are at a higher risk for cavities. There is a lot of evidence that tooth decay is more common in those who don’t use fluoride, even if they otherwise practice good oral hygiene. There’s even some evidence that brushing and flossing are not as helpful against cavities when fluoride isn’t used. There are some municipalities that have fluoride in the water as recommended by the WHO and the CDC, but not all do. It’s a good idea to make sure the oral hygiene products that you use contain fluoride.
Smoking causes a lot of different types of harm to the body, and one of these is to lower the immune system. When this happens, it’s harder or the body to heal itself, and this includes the tissues in the mouth. Smokers have a higher risk of gum disease, and they may not heal as well after having a dental procedure. It can also lead to bad breath and can cause the teeth and tongue to yellow. It’s never too late to quit smoking. Talk to your doctor about good ways to quit.