Most people are aware that exercising and eating healthily are good for your body, but have you ever stopped to think about your dental health? If you’re eager to enjoy a beautiful, bright smile and keep dental diseases at bay, follow these top tips.
1. Learn how to brush properly
Brushing is your best weapon against harmful oral bacteria. Regular brushing helps to prevent the buildup of plaque, a sticky substance made from bacteria and food debris. Plaque is the main cause of gum disease and tooth decay. When you brush, it’s essential to do a thorough job. Angle the head of your brush to cover the gum line and clean every individual tooth. Take not to brush too vigorously, as this can damage your enamel. You should devote at least two minutes every morning and evening to cleaning your teeth. If you struggle to keep track of time, set an alarm or buy a brush with a built-in timer. Many dentists recommend using fluoride toothpaste. If you have any questions about brushing, ask your dentist or dental hygienist for advice.
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Flossing often gets overlooked, but it should be an integral part of your oral health regime. After brushing, take several pieces of floss. Gently guide the floss through the gaps between your teeth. Never pull at dental floss, as this can damage your gums. It’s normal to notice bleeding if you are flossing for the first time or you haven’t flossed in a while. However, if your gums continue to bleed, see your family dentist. Bleeding gums can be a sign of gum disease.
3. Chew sugar-free gum
Chewing sugar-free gum after eating can help to neutralize acids in the mouth by stimulating saliva production. It can also help to give you fresh breath and wash away any leftover bits of food.
4. Moderate your sugar intake
Excessive sugar consumption contributes to an increased risk of dental decay and gum disease. When you eat sugary foods, bacteria in your mouth feed on the sugars. They then release acids, known as plaque acids. These substances weaken the enamel coating of the teeth. As the enamel becomes worn and delicate, the chances of decay and infection increase. It is particularly important to avoid eating sugary treats or drinking soda between meals when your enamel is soft. If you are treating yourself, have a chocolate bar or some candy straight after your main meal. Easy ways to reduce your sugar intake include using artificial sweeteners in hot drinks and replacing soda with milk or water.
5. Give up smoking
Quitting smoking is no easy feat, but it will do your oral health the world of good. Smoking stains the teeth and it also slows the natural healing process. Smoking also affects the function of cells within the gums and increases the risk of gum disease. Many smokers also suffer from bad breath. If you want to give up, your local dental team can help. Other benefits of giving up smoking include reduced risk of cancer, heart disease and respiratory problems. You will also save a significant amount of money and improve the health of those around you.
6. Eat well
A healthy diet can boost your dental health, as well as your general health. Calcium and vitamin D are very important for healthy teeth and bones. Good sources of calcium include milk, yoghurts, leafy green vegetables and cheese. Other foods that are good for your teeth include berries, nuts, oily fish and avocados.
7. Keep up to date with dental checks
It’s essential to see your dentist regularly to keep your smile in shape. Most dentists recommend checkups every 6-9 months. Routine checks only last a few minutes and they are not painful. Your dentist will simply have a good look around your teeth and gums and check for any signs of decay or infection. They will also inspect your tongue and lips and have a look inside your throat. If you do need further treatment, such as a filling, your dentist will encourage you to book another appointment in the near future. If you’re worried or anxious about seeing the dentist, let your dentist know. Modern dental teams have training in looking after anxious patients. They can use treatments and techniques to help you feel more comfortable.
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8. Book a hygiene session
Many people assume that you only need to see a dental hygienist if you’ve got gum disease. However, booking an annual hygiene session has benefits for everyone. Hygienists are experts in oral hygiene and they offer powerful cleaning treatments. These techniques remove stubborn plaque and tartar. Your mouth will feel lovely and fresh afterwards and your teeth will look noticeably whiter.
9. Learn to be mouth aware
It’s always wise to be aware of potential warning signs of health issues. Keep an eye out for traces of blood when you are brushing your teeth and see your dentist if you have tooth pain. Sensitivity can be a side-effect of decay or weakened enamel. If you do experience oral symptoms, don’t wait for your next checkup. Call and arrange to visit your dentist. If there are issues, your dentist will be able to intervene before the situation gets any more serious. Mild gum disease is relatively easy to treat. However, advanced gum disease causes irreversible damage to your gums and may result in tooth loss.
10. Invest in a mouth guard
If you play sport, it’s essential to invest in a good quality mouth guard. Whether you kick a football around in the back garden from time to time or you’re an elite lacrosse player, it’s important to protect your teeth. Mouth guards provide a barrier between hard objects and surfaces and your teeth. They could make the difference between you keeping and losing your precious pearly whites. Dentist-made guards tend to last longer and they provide a much better fit than those you mold at home.
Your oral health should be a priority. Follow these simple tips if you wish to enjoy a stunning, healthy smile for years to come.