Oral Health

Oral Health: 13 Best Practices for a Sparkling Smile

While we don’t doubt you’re striving to stay on top of your oral health, every routine could use a little upgrade or minor tweaks for better results.

There are a few adjustments you can make, outside of brushing your teeth twice a day and going to the dentist now and then. Experts agree that many people think of oral hygiene as a burden because many healthcare problems can be traced back to poor oral hygiene.

It’s true – lack of oral hygiene has been linked to an array of health issues such as diabetes, strokes, Alzheimer’s, and even cardiovascular disease. There’s a reason why many experts treat oral health as ‘the window to your overall health,’ as described here.

We’ve rounded up a few of the best practices to take care of your teeth and prevent problems.

Do This If You’ve Eaten Citrus Fruits

Don’t brush your teeth immediately after consuming acidic foods such as orange juice. This is because low pH can soften the enamel on your teeth for a short period. Brushing your teeth in this state could wash out the enamel as well as any bacteria, which could make your teeth more vulnerable to decay over time.

As a rule, experts suggest waiting at least one hour after drinking soda to brush their teeth. Doing it any sooner could wear out your teeth.

Oral Health
Image by Natalia Ovcharenko from Pixabay

Use a Soft-Bristled Brush for Improved Oral Health

Doctors will often tell you to change your toothbrush every two to three months. Your toothbrush will harden over the two to three months of usage. This means they can act as an abrasive to your teeth and cause damage over time.

This is why it is highly recommended to switch over to a soft-bristled brush. The hard bristles can actually damage the gums, tooth enamel, and root surface as well.

But if you must use hard-bristled toothbrush, make sure to apply mild pressure and brushing the teeth in a short, circular motion. 

Hint: Do not brush aggressively. It can damage the gums and tooth enamel, which can lead to tooth sensitivity and irreversible damage to the protective layer of enamel over the teeth and gum erosion.

Add an Antibacterial Mouthwash to Your Routine

An antibacterial mouthwash can significantly upgrade your oral hygiene protocol by soundly killing harmful bacteria and plaque buildup. Experts suggest that mouthwash can prevent periodontal disease and reduce cavities when used correctly.

Mouthwash can also reach areas of the mouth that your toothbrush may not reach, such as the dental crevices and gums. The bottom line is that mouthwash is highly efficient and should be used for 30 seconds twice a day.

Flossing is Really Important

It isn’t uncommon for people to avoid flossing their teeth – and that’s a really bad idea. Flossing doesn’t just get rid of the small pieces of food that may have found their way into your teeth. It can stimulate the gums, reduce inflammation, and lower the overall amount of plaques in the area.

The good news is that you don’t have to floss twice a day. Do it once a day to get all the benefits of flossing.

Hint: Flossing can be difficult for some people, especially younger children and adults with arthritis. But don’t give up. Try to look for products that can help you floss your teeth. You can easily find dental flossers from a drugstore near you. 

Eating Sugar-Free Chewing Gum

Chewing gum is a good habit, especially if you do it in between meals when it may be inconvenient to brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste.

As mentioned above, exposure to low pH foods can make your enamel more vulnerable to erosion in the 40 minutes after you’ve eaten. You can avoid this by eating sugar-free gum because it can stimulate the production of more saliva – the mouth’s natural defense mechanism against acid. Moreover, the flow of saliva can fill the teeth with phosphate ions and calcium to replenish the tooth enamel.

How effective is chewing gum? The mouth’s normal pH level can plummet from 7 to 4 – allowing the enamel to soften over time. Chewing sugar-free gum for only 20 minutes can restore the pH levels back to pre-meal levels.

Make sure it’s sugar-free gum, though.

Cheese is Really Good for Your Oral Health

Cheese should be high on your list of foods because it can strengthen the enamel and make the teeth look whiter. Moreover, cheese is a natural reservoir of calcium and vitamins – which is exceptionally good for your teeth. The whiter the cheese, the better. Don’t go for softer cheeses such as blue brie cheese because they don’t have the same effect as cheddar.

Add Strawberries to Your Diet

Despite the red color, which may be mildly annoying to some people, strawberries are known for giving teeth an overall whitening effect. In fact, strawberry juice is particularly effective if your teeth have been stained with coffee. The malic acid in strawberries can whiten teeth.

In general, anything with a high content of malic acid is good for your oral health. You can introduce fruits that are rich in malic acid such as apples, celery, and carrot – all of which have a great cleansing effect on your teeth.

Avoid Smoking

Smoking is bad for your oral health and increases your likelihood of developing periodontal disease. Even smokeless tobacco, touted as a healthier alternative, can cause gums to pull away from the teeth by creating gaps. This can damage your teeth over time and make them extremely vulnerable to bacterial settlements and infections.

If you are in the habit of smoking, consider quitting. Advise your children to stay from smoking.

Brush Your Teeth with a Video Selfie

Selfies can actually help you brush your teeth properly. The mere act of catching yourself in the act can improve any bad habits that you previously didn’t know of. Do this long enough and you’ll create new muscle memories. Since you’re more aware of your brushing motions, you’ll be able to correct yourself knowing that you’ve got an audience (you!).

A small pilot study published in the Indian Journal of Dental Research found a marked improvement in the accuracy and number of brush strokes.

In fact, many medical professionals are using selfies to monitor the progression of diseases and the efficacy of their treatments. Selfie videos have provided a new research tool in medical science. 

Drink More Water

Water is the best beverage for your oral health. Experts recommend drinking water after every meal. It washes away any leftover food and residue that bacteria thrive on. This bacteria can produce acid that wears away the enamel on the outer shell of your teeth. Water dilutes the acids produced by bacteria in your mouth.

Sugary beverages don’t count. In fact, juices, soda, and energy drinks can leave unwanted sugar behind.

Work Out More Often

Studies show that working out more often can improve oral health conditions and lowers your risk of developing periodontal disease. 75 minutes of rigorous cardiovascular exercise or 150 minutes of moderate cardiovascular health can boost oral health. Resistance training that targets major muscle groups can also contribute to good oral health.

Eat Raw, Fibrous Fruits

Some foods such as cucumbers and carrots are naturally good at giving you pearly white teeth. The fiber in fruits can scrub tooth surfaces to remove the plaque that has been accumulated, which can cause the appearance of yellow teeth. Try to avoid processed foods because they don’t involve our jaws as much as fresh fruits do.

Visit Your Dentist – At Least Twice a Year

It is important to get a dental check-up twice a year – every six months. The more dentist appointments you miss, the greater your likelihood of developing gum disease. A routine exam will reveal problems that can be prevented before they turn into real issues. In fact, most cases of oral cancer can be treated if they are diagnosed early enough.

If left untreated, oral cancer can spread to other areas of the body and become much harder to treat. Generally, almost all gum disease and tooth decay can be prevented with good oral hygiene. You’re only giving up a few minutes of your time in exchange for a lifetime of healthy gums and teeth. 

Signs You Should See a Dentist

And if you notice any of the following signs with your teeth or gums, you should contact your dentist as early as you can:

  • Swollen or red gums
  • Gums bleed after brushing or flossing
  • Pain when chewing or swallowing
  • Gums pulling away from the teeth
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold foods
  • Bad breath that won’t go away
  • Loose teeth
  • Dry mouth
  • Frequent pain in the neck or headache throughout the day

Find a professional dentist in Alabama. At Austin Family Dentist, we can help patients achieve their best smiles. Contact now for comprehensive dentistry services and advanced dental care.

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