Keep Your Teeth Healthy! Great Tips For Dental Success!

Brush Your Teeth

Okay, this one is obvious, right? But if you read our last blog, not only do many Americans not brush regularly, they aren’t brushing right! A soft bristled toothbrush, held at a 45 degree angle near the gum line, will help you keep your teeth clean. Brush in a gentle circular motion and make sure that you get every tooth surface. Be sure you are replacing your brush every three to four months, or when the bristles appear worn. Brush at least twice a day to prevent plaque buildup and to keep your teeth white, your breath fresh, and prevent cavities!

Floss

Again, you know this—right? Your toothbrush can’t fit in the tight space between teeth, so it is necessary to use floss to get food particles out. Flossing at least once a day is crucial to great dental health, and helps prevent cavities that form in the spaces between teeth. Brushing and flossing go hand in hand—make sure you are doing both!

Clean Your Tongue

We sometimes spend so much time cleaning our teeth and gums, only to leave the tongue completely forgotten! Cleaning your tongue daily, with either your toothbrush or a dedicated tongue scraper, removes bacteria and can eliminate bad breath. Keeping your tongue clean impacts your overall dental health.

Limit Soda, Coffee, and Alcohol

Both soda and alcohol contain phosphorus which can deplete the body of calcium levels and lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Sugary sodas can help plaque bacteria produce acids that eat away at your tooth enamel and leave you susceptible to decay. Many carbonated drinks are acidic and can damage the teeth, and coffee and caffeinated teas can dry out the mouth. Coffee, tea, soda, and wine can also stain your teeth, so if you want pearly whites stick to drinking water the majority of the time.

Don’t Smoke

Everyone knows how bad smoking is for your health, but did you know it is also detrimental to your teeth? Smoking, and chewing tobacco, can lead to stained teeth, bad breath, and even a diminished sense of taste. Smoking is correlated with an increased risk of gum disease, which can lead to tooth and even bone loss if untreated. Chewing tobacco increases your risk of oral cancer, in part due to the number of blood vessels and lymph nodes in the head and neck. If you are smoking or chewing tobacco, quitting can be one of the best things you can do for your dental, and overall, health.

Don’t Chew Ice!

Yes, it can be fun, but chewing ice can wreak havoc on your teeth. Chewing on hard ice can damage your tooth enamel (which will not naturally be restored) and can leave your teeth sensitive and vulnerable to decay. Chewing ice also increases the risk of broken or chipped teeth, so leave the ice in the glass!

Eat Right

What you eat really has an impact on your teeth, and there are many common snacks that aren’t very tooth-friendly. Eating a large amount of citrus fruits can be damaging to your tooth enamel, and can irritate mouth sores and gums. Sticky foods are especially bad for teeth, like raisins and other dried fruits, because they stay on your teeth for extended periods of time. If you do eat sticky foods, you should be sure to rinse your mouth afterward, or better yet, brush, to keep your teeth healthy. Apples, cheese, vegetables, and nuts are all great choices for dental-friendly snacks.

Get Enough Calcium

Calcium is essential for healthy teeth and gums, and is found in many healthy foods. Milk, fortified orange juice, cheese, yogurt, and broccoli are all good sources of calcium. Vitamin D and vitamin B are also crucial for the health of your gums and teeth, so make sure you are taking supplements if you don’t get enough through diet alone.

Drink Water

Water helps cleanse the mouth and remove particles of food that stick to your teeth and lead to decay. Water also helps clean the tongue and neutralize acids in the mouth. Plus, water is great for your overall health, so pour yourself a big glass and drink up! If you have a bad habit of drinking soda throughout the day, swapping even a few glasses out with water can have big benefits!

Fluoride

Using fluoride toothpaste helps to strengthen tooth enamel and make it less susceptible to decay. Many people drink fluoridated water, but if yours is not talk to your dentist about your fluoride intake. Many toothpastes and mouthwashes contain fluoride, but if you have young children watch that they don’t ingest too much—no more than a pea-sized dab on the toothbrush. Too much fluoride can cause white spots on the teeth, and is toxic in large quantities.

Chew Gum

Wait, what? Didn’t we just say that sticky foods aren’t good for you? Sugar-free gum can actually be good for your teeth when chewed after meals. Chewing gum increases saliva production which can wash away bacteria in your mouth and neutralize acid. Rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash can also help in between brushings to keep your teeth clean.

Protect Your Teeth

If you play sports, you need to invest in a mouthguard. Blows to the teeth can be major dental emergencies, and can cause chips, cracks, or even complete loss of the tooth. Wearing a mouthguard protects the teeth, especially in children, from impact that can come from soccer, football, basketball, skateboarding, rollerblading, and almost any sport! Just think of the caricature of a hockey player’s teeth and you will realize how much a missing tooth can impact your overall appearance! If you are playing contact sports, protect your teeth with a mouthguard.

Don’t Ignore a Toothache

If you are having pain or sensitivity, don’t just live with it! That pain is your body telling you that something is not right with your mouth, and you should get it checked out. Sensitivity to heat or cold can be an early indication of a cavity or crack in the tooth, and if they can be caught early often you can avoid bigger dental problems.

Go to the Dentist!

This leads us to the last important step you can take to ensure great dental health—keep regular dental appointments with a dentist you trust! We have written a whole blog about why your dental visits are so important, and how they are the key to preventative maintenance for your teeth. You will get a thorough cleaning and exam, x-rays to look for any underlying problems, and your dentist will look for early signs of oral cancer. Going regularly to the dentist also helps catch decay when it is small, avoiding costly dental procedures and possible pain. If you haven’t been to the dentist in awhile, call our Meadowbrook office to make an appointment!

Author
Dr. Miguel Casanas, Jr. Dr. Casañas has worked and trained extensively to build a practice that exceeds your expectations of trusted, personalized dental care. He consistently brings his patients only the best that modern dentistry has to offer by keeping himself and his staff informed on the latest advances and available techniques.

You Might Also Enjoy...

What to Expect During a Comprehensive Dental Exam

Believe it or not, routine dental exams aren’t a way to get you into the dental chair — they’re designed to keep you out. Here’s how dental exams preserve the health of your teeth and what you should expect while you’re here.

Periodontal Disease Symptoms You Don’t Want to Ignore

The good news? Periodontal (gum) disease can be stopped. Want even better news? The quicker you see your dentist, the easier the treatment for periodontal disease. Learn the signs and symptoms of gum disease that you should never ignore.

What Is the Cause of White Spots on Teeth?

Those splotchy white marks on your teeth may be an early warning sign that all is not right with your smile. Take a few moments to find out more about what they are and what the experts at Meadowbrook Dental Care can do to help.

7 Reasons to Have Your Teeth Whitened

If you’re still wondering whether teeth whitening is right for you, take a minute to explore seven benefits of having a whiter, brighter smile — and why it’s best done through the dentist.

5 Reasons Veneers May Be Right for You

If Mother Nature didn’t give you the smile you want, or an accident or sports injury has wiped the smile off your face, today’s cosmetic dentistry can transform it. Porcelain veneers are a nonsurgical way to give your smile a makeover.

Your Headache May Be the Result of TMJ

Getting headaches but don’t know why? They could be the result of TMJ, a syndrome that impacts your jaw joint and can mimic tension headaches and migraines. To learn more about these headaches and how to stop them, keep reading!