Around 25% of middle-aged adults in the USA have untreated tooth decay, and 4 out of 10 children have tooth decay before they start kindergarten. But these cavities are 100% avoidable if you look after your oral health.
When you’re a child, brushing teeth along with wearing sunscreen and eating broccoli was such a chore. You tried to get away with doing the bare minimum. But now you are an adult, it’s time to step up and look after your dental health so you can have healthy teeth for longer.
Considering how painful, expensive, and uncomfortable the alternatives are you will be glad you did!
Not sure how you can improve on your existing oral hygiene routine? These tips will help you figure out what you can do better.
1. Brush Your Teeth The Right Way
You likely already know you need to brush your teeth at least twice a day as recommended by the ADA. But did you know there is a right way to brush your teeth?
When you brush, avoid using harsh back-and-forth strokes. Use a soft, circular motion so the bristles of your toothbrush get in-between your teeth. Toothbrushes with cleaners on the back can help clean the inside of your cheeks, too.
Do not press at all when brushing as you could cause receding gums. You should also brush your teeth for at least two minutes, spending 30 seconds on each quarter of your mouth.
Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles, and a sonic one is easier to use than a regular toothbrush. You need to replace it every three to four months. To stop the head of your toothbrush from growing bad bacteria, invest in a protective toothbrush cap or store it in a cupboard.
Opt for anticavity, fluoride toothpaste to give your teeth the extra protection they need. Always spit out your toothpaste, but never rinse your mouth with water afterward.
2. Book Regular Dental Appointments
Around 36% of the US population have a fear of the dentist, but this is an unfounded fear. Yes, visiting the dentist 60+ years ago almost always meant pain and suffering. But that is never the case anymore with modern pain relief medication.
So, make sure you book regular dental visits. Your dentist will be able to give you a full scale and polish should you need it. This will decrease your risk of cavities and give you clean, healthy teeth and a beautiful smile.
They will also be able to alert you to any dental problems you are at risk of in the future and provide preventative care. If you don’t have any problems, you can visit the dentist once every one to two years. And if you do have current dental problems, every six months is ideal.
3. Floss Your Teeth Often
No one likes flossing, but it is so important for your dental health. Flossing removes food, plaque, and bacteria from those hard-to-reach places so you do not develop gum disease.
You should floss before you brush so that your toothbrush and toothpaste can be more effective. If you remove a piece of food after you brush, that part of your mouth won’t receive the benefits of the toothpaste. Floss at least once a day, at night is preferable.
Use whichever type of floss works best for your teeth. You can use normal dental tape floss, floss on a stick (it looks like a slingshot), or interdental brushes.
4. Use a Mouthwash
Mouthwash may not be essential for good dental hygiene, but it helps as long as you use it in the right way.
Mouthwash is good for addressing a specific concern you have about your teeth or mouth in general. If you have bad breath, yellowing teeth, or bleeding gums you can choose a mouthwash that targets this problem.
Or if you are quite happy with the current state of your teeth, opt for one that contains fluoride for extra protection. It will help kill bacteria from your mouth which is always a good thing.
Never use mouthwash straight after brushing as it will strip your mouth of that toothpaste protection. Instead, use it once a day, like after lunch, for example.
5. Do Not Neglect Your Tongue
So, you might have healthy teeth, but what about your tongue? It can store bad bacteria too, so it is best not to ignore it.
Invest in a tongue scraper and use it every time you brush your teeth. Don’t press down too hard and rinse and repeat as necessary. Start at the back of your mouth (but not so hard you will trigger your gag reflex) and bring it forward.
Drinking lots of water will also help remove the plaque build-up on your tongue, too.
6. Cut Down on Sugar, Caffeine, and Smoking
Smoking causes hundreds of health problems including oral-related ones. It can weaken your gums, color your teeth, give you bad breath, and even cause mouth cancer. So, if you are a current smoker, the best way for you to get healthy teeth is to stop smoking.
Dark-colored drinks like coffee and red wine can stain your teeth which you can only reverse with tooth whitening treatments. Though yellow, stained teeth do not always equal unhealthy teeth.
But caffeine can wear down the enamel on your teeth which is the main cause of tooth decay. Try to drink coffee less or drink it through a straw so less of the acid in caffeine touches your teeth.
Sugar is also one of the worst causes of cavities. Why? Because the harmful bacteria in your mouth which weakens your enamel feeds off sugar.
Avoid the raw sugar found in candy, chocolate, soda drinks, and desserts as much as possible. Opt for foods with natural sugars like fruit.
Care for Your Healthy Teeth With These Tips
Healthy teeth are essential for chewing, eating, talking, and smiling with confidence. Now you have all the information you need to look after your oral health so you can enjoy your dazzling white grills for years to come.
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