There is a heavy price to be paid when we neglect our teeth. Inadequate oral care is responsible for most dental issues, including periodontal disease and tooth loss. Here are ten things you can do to improve your oral health today.
1. Brush after every meal. It might sound like overkill, but brushing after breakfast, lunch, and dinner can work wonders for your smile. The reason? Certain foods and drinks contain sugars that attack tooth enamel for up to twenty hours after they enter your mouth. Brushing can eliminate these offenders before they harm your pearly whites.
2. Use toothpaste with fluoride. There's a reason they've been putting fluoride in the drinking water since the 1930s. The chemical compound has been proven to reduce the risk of cavities and gum disease. Adding a fluoridated toothpaste to the mix can reduce those risks even further. Ask your dentist to recommend one that best meets your needs.
3. Floss often. As simple as it may be, removing food trapped between your teeth can prevent the plaque that causes gum disease.
4. Limit acid intake. Acidic foods and drinks can do damage to tooth enamel over time. In severe cases, the damage may result in holes (cavities) that cannot be repaired. When the food or beverage is also sugary, it can be even more harmful to your teeth.
5. Reduce sugary snacks. As we mentioned, sugar attacks the enamel of our teeth, causing serious damage. Although acceptable in small doses, frequent snacking on sweets will result in an almost nonstop assault.
6. Wear a mouthguard. If you engage in a contact sport, such as football, hockey, or wrestling, it is imperative that you wear a mouthguard. Tooth injuries are surprisingly common in these activities and may be difficult to repair.
7. Avoid tongue piercings. It may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but placing a metal stud in your tongue can do serious damage to your oral health. Because these piercings are also magnets for bacteria, they may result in serious, frequent tongue infections. Make sure you ask your dentist before considering this potentially dangerous decorative addition.
8. Use teeth responsibly. When we use our chompers for anything other than chewing food, there's an excellent chance we may chip, even break them. For example, using them to crack nuts, remove bottle tops, or even to chew ice can harm them. Trust us; your teeth aren't nearly as tough as they seem. In fact, on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, they're only rate as a 5-which is about as fragile as some types of glass.
9. See your dentist regularly. To prevent oral issues from doing major damage, it is important to visit your dentist for a checkup every six months.
10. Use mouthwash. While it may not be as important as brushing or flossing, gargling mouthwash should be included in your oral care routine. Countless studies have shown that a mouthwash fights bacterial plaque and bad breath at the same time.
Use these simple tips to reduce your risk of dental caries, gum disease, and other oral issues.