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7 Tips To Help You Care For Your Teeth
Our teeth help us chew and enjoy the food we like to eat. Teeth are also important when it comes to speaking, since our tongue uses our teeth to help make sounds.
Keeping your teeth healthy is important to making sure that you don’t damage or lose them as you age. Here are 7 teeth care tips to help you keep your pearly whites healthy.
7 Tips to Take Better Care of Your Teeth
Brush Your Teeth Twice a Day
Brushing your teeth twice a day is important to maintaining the health of your teeth.
Dentists commonly advise that their patients brush in the morning and before bed. The reason for these times is to remove the bacteria build-up your teeth have from overnight and during the day.
Brushing your teeth incorrectly can also encourage bacterial growth in the spots you miss. Plaque will build up over time, so it’s important to practice proper techniques to ensure that you brush all sides of each tooth.
Here are a few teeth brushing tips, according to the American Dental Association:1
- Brush for two minutes to ensure you remove all harmful bacteria and plaque
- Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months
- Use a toothbrush with soft bristles that complement the size and shape of your mouth
- Make sure to brush the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces
Floss Once Per Day
Flossing is another important way to maintain a healthy mouth. After brushing your teeth, there’s still bacteria left over in some of the harder-to-reach spaces between your teeth.
When you floss, you should make sure that you clean both teeth. One mistake people make is inserting the floss and pushing out what’s between, but your aim should be to clean the sides of each tooth.
There are different types of floss depending on the shape of your mouth. For example, if you have teeth closer together, wax floss might help you reach some of the harder areas in the back. There is also floss available that works best for people with braces.
You can also purchase dental flossers that have floss attached to a plastic handle, which can allow you to reach the back of your mouth with one hand.
If you’re new to flossing or picking it up again after a long period of time, your gums might bleed. The reason for this is you’re cleaning out bacterial build-up on the gums. This bleeding should stop after two weeks, but if it doesn’t you will need to see a dentist.2
Use Products with Fluoride
Fluoride is a mineral that is found primarily in our bones and teeth. Fluoride is used to strengthen our tooth enamel, which can help prevent cavities.
There are many dental hygiene products that contain fluoride (such as toothpastes and mouthwash), however there are many other products with it as well. Make sure to check the labels of the products you’re using to make sure that they contain fluoride.
One benefit of using products with fluoride include rebuilding weak tooth enamel and reversing some of the effects of early tooth decay. The bacteria from the food we eat can slowly erode away your tooth enamel through demineralization, which is the loss of minerals in your teeth. Fluoride strengthens your enamel and prevents this mineral loss, which protects you from cavities.3
Many dental offices can also perform fluoride treatments with gel or foam to help protect your teeth against cavities. Consider incorporating a fluoride treatment into your next dental visit to help add an extra layer of protection to your teeth.
Regularly See Your Dentist
Going to your dentist every six months is one best practice to ensuring that you’re taking proper care of your teeth.
During your checkup, a dentist will be able to check your mouth and inform you if they notice any signs of oral diseases. Dentists have equipment such as x-rays that can help them search for things such as cavities and other health problems.
Furthermore, dentists offer teeth cleanings that will allow them to remove any plaque build-up with special tools.
Dentists are also trained to help give you hygiene tips when it comes to brushing and flossing your teeth properly. Your dentist can be a great resource when it comes to helping you find out where your teeth cleaning routine might be lacking.
If you notice a change in your mouth or feel any abnormal pain or sensations, you should immediately book a dental appointment.
Avoid Sugary Food and Drinks
You may have heard that desserts and unhealthy foods can cause cavities, and there is science that proves it. Avoiding sugary foods and drinks is another way to help keep your teeth healthy.
Our mouths naturally have bacteria that can be found inside the plaque build-up on our teeth. When the bacteria encounters sugar, it produces an acid that dissolves the tooth enamel. Over time, this can lead to tooth decay and cavities.4
A 2003 academic paper published in The American Journal of Nutrition studied the relation between sugars and our oral health. The paper suggests that fluoride can help minimize the risk of bacteria damaging our teeth. The participants who used toothpaste with fluoride combined with good oral hygiene were significantly less likely to experience tooth decay and demineralization of their teeth.5
The researchers also concluded that the type of diet matters as well, and one filled with fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods is best for the health of our mouths.
What you eat can make an impact on the health of your teeth. Consider changing your diet to be healthier to prevent sugar from damaging your tooth enamel.
There are many reasons why you shouldn’t smoke, and keeping your teeth healthy is one of them.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking damages your lungs because it weakens your immune system. Smokers are twice as likely to experience gum disease than someone who doesn’t smoke because their body is unable to fight off the harmful bacteria.6
Smoking also damages your teeth by exposing them to nicotine and tobacco. The nicotine hinders the amount of saliva your mouth produces, which promotes bacterial growth. This creates an environment where plaque can develop on the teeth and gums, which can lead to cavities and oral cancer.7
Other oral diseases such as mouth sores, oral cancer, and gum recession are more likely to happen if you smoke. Keep your teeth healthy by avoiding smoking.
Use Mouthwash To Protect Teeth
Adding mouthwash as part of your oral hygiene routine can help protect your teeth. Many mouthwash brands contain fluoride, and one benefit of mouthwash is it has the potential to reach places your toothbrush may have missed.
Mouthwash is also able to help flush away any food you may have missed with your toothbrush. It’s best to avoid eating or drinking for 30 minutes after using mouthwash.8 This can help prevent plaque and build-up in your mouth, which can reduce your chances of gum diseases.
Mouthwash should always be used with brushing and flossing and is not a replacement for it. It is important to add it as part of your routine to ensure that your teeth stay healthy.
Another added benefit of mouthwash is it can help freshen your breath and mouth.
Common Oral Diseases
If you don’t take proper care of your teeth, there are a few health issues that can arise. Here are some oral diseases that you may be at risk for if you don’t practice proper teeth cleaning at home.
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is caused by bacteria that infects your gum tissue. The early stages are called gingivitis, which is when the gums appear swollen and can occasionally bleed.
The later stages, periodontitis, can cause the teeth to fall out and for bone to be lost in the tooth if it goes untreated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 47.2% of adults over 30 have a version of periodontitis.9
Some symptoms of gum disease, according to the Mayo Clinic, are:10
- Red or purple gums
- Bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth
- Difficulty chewing
- Spitting out blood after brushing or flossing
- New spaces in-between teeth
The good news is that gum disease is preventable, and good oral hygiene habits are one way to protect your teeth against it. If you notice any signs of gum disease, contact your dentist straight away to seek treatment early.
Cavities, also known as tooth decay, are holes that form inside of the tooth. Many cavities are undetectable at first, however they will become bigger without proper treatment.
Cavities are caused by the plaque that builds up on your teeth. Plaque is a colorless or yellow film that is created by saliva mixing with foods and fluids, which in turn creates an environment where bacteria can live and grow. If plaque is not removed, it can turn into tarter, which can lead to more serious oral diseases such as gum diseases.11
Everyone is at risk for cavities, but some people might have a higher risk than others. Some of the risk factors for developing cavities, according to Healthline Media, include:12
- Improper oral hygiene
- Lack of fluoride in hygiene
- Consuming sugary foods and drinks
- Acid reflux, which can cause stomach acid wearing down your teeth’s enamel
- Eating disorders
- Dry mouth
Luckily, cavities are treatable. Regular check-ups at your dentist can help you catch cavities early before they cause irreversible damage to your teeth.
Dentists also can perform fillings to remove the decayed tooth and replace it with another substance. Dentists are also trained to perform root canals and replace crowns on more series cases.
Saber Healthcare Encourage Good Oral Hygiene
Here at Saber Healthcare, we believe that everyone should work to take steps to keep their body healthy. Our staff works to help our residents receive the care that they need each day to live happy, fulfilling lives.
To learn more about our company, click here.
Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.
- “Brush Your Teeth.” American Dental Association, Mouth Healthy. Accessed July 7th, 2021. Link: https://www.ada.org/sitecore/content/home-mouthhealthy/az-topics/b/brushing-your-teeth
- Donovan, John. Wyatt, Alfred D, ed. “Lame Excuses for Not Flossing and How to Beat Them.” WebMD, WebMD.com. Published December 16th, 2016. Accessed July 7th, 2021. Link: https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/features/flossing-excuses
- Cafasso, Jacquelyn. Christine, Frank, ed. “What Is Fluoride, and Is It Safe?” Red Ventures Company, Healthline Media. Last Updated July 3rd Accessed July 8th 2021. Link: https://www.healthline.com/health/what-is-fluoride#benefits
- “Sugars and tooth decay.” Queen Mary University of London, Action On Sugar. Accessed July 8th, 2021. Link: http://www.actiononsugar.org/sugar-and-health/sugars-and-tooth-decay/
- Riva Touger-Decker and Cor van Loveran. “Sugars and Dental Caries.” Oxford Academic, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Published October 1st, 2003. Accessed July 8th, 2021. Link: https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/78/4/881S/4690063
- “Smoking, Gum Disease, and Tooth Loss.” U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last reviewed February 15th, 2021. Accessed July 8th, 2021. Link: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/diseases/periodontal-gum-disease.html
- “4 Ways Smoking affects Teeth and Gums.” Ameritas Mutual Holding Company, ameritasinsight.com. Published August 24th, 2015. Accessed July 8th, 2021. Link: https://www.ameritasinsight.com/wellness/dental/4-ways-smoking-affects-teeth-and-gums
- “What Does Mouthwash Do? Does it Actually Work?” Lewis Estates Dental Care, lewisestatesdental.com. Accessed July 8th, 2021. Link: https://lewisestatesdental.com/blog/what-does-mouthwash-really-do/
- “Periodontal Disease.” U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last Updated July 10th, 2013. Accessed July 8th, 2021. Link: https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/conditions/periodontal-disease.html
- “Periodontitis.” Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER), mayoclinic.com. Published February 14th, 2020. Accessed July 8th, 2021. Link: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/periodontitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354473
- “What is plaque?” Crest, dentalcare.com. Accessed July 8th, 2021. Link: https://www.dentalcare.com/en-us/patient-education/patient-materials/what-is-plaque
- Higuera, Valencia. Frank, Christine, ed. “Tooth Cavities.” Red Ventures, Healthline Media. Last updated November 15th, 2017. Accessed July 8th, 2021. Link: https://www.healthline.com/find-care/articles/dentists/tooth-cavities#treatment