While there are some medical conditions that have a detrimental effect upon your teeth and gums which unfortunately may not be avoided; for most of us, keeping our teeth and gums healthy is a relatively easy process.
We have put together 8 Best Practices for Healthy Teeth, which will aid in the prevention of cavities and gum disease and will improve your health overall.
1. Good Oral Hygiene
Proper daily care of your teeth and gums will keep your mouth healthy and help prevent the build-up of plaque and bacteria which contribute to cavities, gum disease and tooth decay.
Cleaning your teeth at least twice every day will help remove the plaque and also pieces of food which are captured between your teeth and around your teeth. It doesn’t matter whether you use a manual or electric toothbrush if you are giving your teeth and gums a good thorough clean, both are effective.
Your toothbrush or toothbrush head should be replaced every three months to maintain efficiency and to prevent any scratching to your gums by bent or broken bristles.
Flossing removes the more stubborn bits of plaque and food between the teeth and gums in the areas that your toothbrush can’t reach. Your dentist can advise you on flossing procedures and products.
2. Regular Visits to your Dentist
Regular visits to your dentist keep the health of your mouth in check. Your dentist will clean and check your mouth for plaque build-up, cavities and any irregularities or early signs of gum disease.
X-rays will reveal any hidden cavities which may lead to future problems and these can then be dealt with easily.
Your dental health has benefits for your general health and well-being, regular visits to the dentist contributes to keeping your overall health in good shape.
3. Good Nutrition
Maintaining a healthy diet not only improves your general health but contributes greatly to your oral health. Bacteria from the mouth converts carbohydrates and sugars in meals to acids that attack the enamel on your teeth and result in tooth decay.
Healthy food choices help to maintain your oral health, these include fruit, vegetables, whole grains lean meats and dairy foods. Crunchy fruits and vegetables which have a high water content, such as apples and pears, stimulate the flow of saliva which helps to wash away food particles and protect against decay.
Avoid sugary drink and foods, such as fruit juices, sports drinks, and foods that are high in refined sugars and/or starches such as cakes, lollies and chips as these all contribute to tooth decay. If you are going to consume drinks or foods containing sugars and starches, these are best done at mealtimes and in small quantities so that the more healthy food options help to minimize the detrimental effects.
4. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
The balance between work, exercise, sleep and relaxation along with good nutrition have been proven to promote and maintain overall health, bone density and stronger teeth. To maintain a healthy lifestyle, it is advisable to drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
Avoid sweet and sugary foods or limit them to mealtimes and limit your intake of coffee and alcohol.
5. Quit Smoking
Smoking is well known to have detrimental effects upon your health and is one of the main risk factors for oral cancers. By quitting or reducing your smoking habits you will not only improve your oral health but your general health too.
6. Fluoride toothpaste and Mouthwashes
Brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste helps remove plaque from your teeth and to fight tooth decay. Fluoride slows the breakdown of tooth enamel, thus avoiding cavities and helps to keep your teeth clean and healthy.
Fluoride and non-alcohol based mouthwashes can also reduce the level of bacteria and help prevent early stages of gum disease.
Mouthwashes containing alcohol should be avoided, particularly for children, as they can leave your mouth feeling dry and lead to cracked lips.
7. Chewing Gum
Sugar-free chewing gum helps dislodge food particles that have become stuck in your teeth and around your gums and increases the saliva flow which neutralizes mouth acids. Some chewing gums can aid in the reduction of cavities and ease sensitive gums. Your dentist will be able to recommend what types of chewing gums may be suitable, as sometimes chewing gum is not recommended for those with jaw pain or similar issues.
8. Water and Hydration
Sipping on a bottle of water throughout the day will help to improve your water intake and keep dehydration at bay.
Water is the best option to stay hydrated; sports drinks are acidic and contain sugar which contribute to tooth decay. If you are using sports drinks for more intense sports activities, then modify your intake and alternate with water to wash out your mouth.