Habits for a Healthy Mouth
- September 15, 2017
You may think that cavities, gum disease, and even losing our teeth are inevitable as we age. And, with all the advanced dental treatments and tooth replacement options available now, dental problems are not a big deal, right?
Well, it’s true that current dental technology and techniques enable practitioners to treat oral diseases better than ever before. It’s also true that we are able to craft a gorgeous, realistic-looking smile on just about anyone.
That said, it’s always preferable to keep one’s own teeth and gums healthy and strong. This will save you money that would otherwise go to procedures and restorations, it will save you pain, and it will save you lots of hours in the dentist’s chair.
And dental problems are not inevitable. You have to know how to take care of your teeth. You have to be meticulous and consistent about it. But, with good oral care habits at home and regular professional visits, you can keep your mouth healthy for life.
If you live in or around Peabody, MA, call Contemporary Dentistry & Implantology at (978) 278-1760 to request an appointment.
How to Brush
This one may seem like a no-brainer. After all, you’ve been brushing your teeth every day since you were a child. But did you ever learn how to brush correctly? To keep bacteria and sticky plaque from building up on your teeth and gumline, technique is important.
The toothbrush should be held at a 45° angle toward the gums and gently moved in short back-and-forth or circular motions. Be sure to reach all surfaces of the teeth: fronts, chewing surfaces, and even the backs. Also, don’t ignore the gumline. You should brush for two minutes at least twice a day — after every meal is even better. Your toothbrush should be replaced every few months or when the bristles become frayed.
While we love enthusiastic oral care, do not brush too hard. Brushing too vigorously (or using anything other than a soft-bristled toothbrush) can wear away tooth enamel and damage gums.
Don’t Forget to Floss
Floss at least once a day, but preferable after each meal. You should use 18” of floss at a time, wrapping most of it around your middle fingers and keeping the string taut. When you bring the floss between the teeth, you should rub it against each tooth. Remember, you are not just removing stuck food. You are also scraping away bacteria and plaque. At the gumline, curve the floss around the tooth. You should use a fresh section of floss for each tooth.
Visit Your Friendly Dentist
To maintain optimum oral health, you must come to see us twice a year. Even if your oral hygiene routine at home is impeccable, dentist visits are essential. The doctor will thoroughly examine your teeth and gums, and be able to spot issues even before you are experiencing symptoms. Digital X-rays and other advanced technology enable us to diagnose problems even before they are visible to the doctor! With dentistry, as with many things, early detection almost always means easier and less invasive treatment.
Our professional cleaning will remove disease-causing plaque and tartar that you just can’t reach at home.
Adopt a Mouth-Healthy Diet
Minimize sugar and other carbs, which attract bacteria and promote tooth decay. Generally, foods rich in nutrients are good for your body and good for your teeth. A few superstars include:
Dairy products. Milk, cheese, and yogurt are packed with calcium and protein, which both boost the strength of your tooth enamel. Cheese in particular seems to lower the risk of tooth decay by raising the pH in people’s mouths. One caveat: avoid dairy products that are high in sugar, like sweetened yogurt and chocolate milk.
Leafy green vegetables. Go ahead and load up on kale, collards, spinach, and other leafy greens. These contain enamel-boosting calcium and folic acid, which helps fight gum disease.
Crunchy produce. Carrots, apples and other crunchy, fiber-rich fruits and veggies increase saliva production in your mouth, which helps keep it clean.
Nuts. Nuts are an excellent low-sugar snack. They are filled with nutrients and they help keep the saliva flowing.
Sugarless gum. Yes, gum — as long as it’s sugarless — is a good way to keep your mouth clean throughout the day. The act of chewing stimulates saliva production.
What you drink makes an enormous impact on your oral health. Sweetened drinks — soda, juice, sports drinks — coat your teeth in sugar and give harmful bacteria lots of fuel. When you drink water, on the other hand, you are in effect rinsing out your mouth. This helps wash away food and keep your teeth and gums clean between brushings.
Follow these habits, and you have the best chance of maintaining a healthy mouth for life. If you live in the Peabody, MA area, call Contemporary Dentistry & Implantology at (978) 278-1760 to schedule your next checkup. You may also get in touch online.