How do you improve your oral health?
Some people believe they can pretty much forget about their oral health. They think that daily brushing and occasional trips to their dentist are sufficient. While these efforts are certainly a good start, a healthy mouth requires more work.
Why even bother to keep your mouth healthy? Because a healthy mouth is an important step on the road to a healthy body. If you neglect your teeth and gums, you risk problems far beyond bad breath. Systemic infections, high blood pressure, and exacerbations of existing health conditions may all occur if you do not take proper care of your mouth.
Here’s a look at 10 simple ways you can improve your oral health and keep yourself in top condition.
No one looks forward to flossing. It does not exactly rate as fun, but flossing is extremely important. Not only can dental floss reach areas where your toothbrush can’t go, flossing is also useful for removing bacteria and debris from around your gum line.
You should floss at least once per day, preferably just before bed. If you have not flossed in a while, you can expect some tenderness and maybe bleeding at first. These issues should pass quickly after a few days of diligent flossing.
Remember, you are not limited to traditional dental floss. Bow-like flossers, interdental brushes, and other tools are now available if you’d rather try a new approach to your daily flossing.
2: Choose sugar-free treats.
Munching on snacks throughout the day does not have to be detrimental to your health if you make the right choices. Instead of pretzels, chips, or chocolates, choose snacks that are sugar-free and healthy. Carrot or celery sticks are two options. Sugar-free gum is also a good decision.
You need to avoid long-lasting sweets in particular. Items like jawbreakers and sugar-containing mints contribute to tooth decay every moment they’re in your mouth.
3: Forget the soda.
Soft drinks are notoriously bad for your teeth. The high amounts of sugar are certainly harmful, but even diet sodas are a poor choice. The reason is acidity. The low pH of any type of soda can damage your teeth’s enamel and contribute to decay.
Instead, choose water, sparkling water, unsweetened tea, or vegetable juice. These beverages do not contain as much sugar as soda and are not as acidic.
4: Don’t mistake your teeth for a toolbox.
Have you ever been trying to open a stubborn package and been tempted to resort to using your teeth? It’s a common issue, but using your teeth as tools is a bad idea. Your teeth are for chewing, and using them to rip into packages, open bottle caps, or pry open containers can chip or break them. Take the few extra seconds to retrieve the proper tool instead of abusing your teeth.
5: Keep those dental appointments.
Most people need to visit the dentist twice per year. These infrequent visits are important, not just for a thorough cleaning but also for surveillance of your oral health. Your biannual visits give Dr. Lang to chance to check for existing or potential problems. By finding problems early, he can help minimize future expense and discomfort. Schedule your appointment now.
6: Stop smoking.
Smoking damages literally every part of your body, including your teeth and gums. Each organ system is negatively impacted by tobacco use, and smoking cessation is one of the best things you can do for your health. If you smoke, don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor or dentist about help with quitting. Your mouth and your body will thank you.
7: Watch your blood sugars.
This tip is for diabetics. Diabetes and periodontal (gum) health are intertwined closely. High blood sugars contribute to gum disease, and gum disease can raise blood sugar levels. Make certain your blood glucose is under control, and work with your family doctor or endocrinologist to keep this value steady.
8: Brush gently.
You should always brush at least twice per day, but this does not mean you have to do so forcefully. Gentle brushing is best. It is more important to brush thoroughly than it is to brush vigorously. Brushing that is too energetic may damage your gums or even cause teeth to become loose over time. So make sure you thoroughly brush every aspect of your teeth. This should take you at least two minutes.
9: Consider a good mouthwash.
Mouthwash can be very helpful for your oral health. Since it is a liquid, mouthwash can reach spaces where even dental floss cannot go. When selecting a mouthwash, look for the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval. Also, pick an antiseptic mouthwash that will kill bacteria rather than one that is designed only to whiten teeth or freshen your breath.
10: Go easy on the alcohol.
For most people, there is nothing wrong with a beer or a glass of wine every now and then. However, heavy drinking can damage your oral health. Excessive alcohol consumption may cause dry mouth and alter your blood chemistry so that harmful bacteria are more likely to thrive in your mouth. Drink only in moderation for the sake of both your oral and overall health.
And don’t forget to come see us whenever you have any changes in your teeth or gums. Early intervention is key in preventing tooth damage or loss. So make your appointment today.