Many folks tend to treat their teeth like luxury bones, while in reality, they’re crucial to your overall health. When you lose the ability to chew, you struggle to get adequate nutrition, but that isn’t the only complication that poor oral health can pose. Therefore, taking care of your teeth and gums is very important.
Periodontal disease can let bacteria from your mouth travel to your brain and heart, where they can cause severe adverse health effects. You need to take care of your dental needs — here are eight ways to enhance your oral health this year.
1. Brush Twice a Day
Failing to brush your teeth is one of the biggest bad oral health habits that you have to avoid. Sadly, many people don’t know how to brush properly.
It might surprise you to learn that you shouldn’t brush your teeth after meals. Doing so can strip away the protective enamel, so try to wait at least 30 minutes and polish your pearlies only twice each day.
Additionally, the tools you use matter. You should swap your toothbrush every three months — otherwise, germs can build up on the bristles, and you introduce them back into your mouth when you brush.
Unfortunately, less than a third of American adults floss every day as they should. When you don’t get out the silly string, food particles can linger between your teeth, where they provide rich fodder for bacteria. It doesn’t take long for you to develop bad breath even if you brush — although odor is the least of your problems.
Failing to floss can lead to gum disease, which increases your risk of developing conditions like heart trouble and Alzheimer’s. Watch out for signs like loose and sensitive teeth and gums that bleed when you brush. The pain you feel when you floss could result from bacterial infection, although switching to tape or a water flosser could help if discomfort makes you less likely to get out the string.
3. See Your Dentist
It doesn’t matter whether you put off the visit out of phobia, lack of cash or both. You should prioritize seeing your dentist every six months.
While you may think that your trip gets you nothing but recommendations for even pricier treatments, checkups can prevent minor problems from becoming severe headaches. It’s far less expensive to pay for a filling than a dental implant, but letting a cavity grow to the point where you lose a tooth can necessitate the latter.
4. Get a Fluoride Treatment
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps to replace those that your tooth enamel loses over time. You can request this treatment at your dentist’s office or buy over-the-counter kits on Amazon.
Be aware that excess fluoride may cause negative health impacts. Therefore, when in doubt, it’s best to leave this treatment to the pros who can precisely apply the right dose.
5. Rinse and Repeat
Although you shouldn’t brush your teeth immediately after meals, what can you do when you just ate garlic-rich lasagna on date night? Why not use a mouth rinse?
Rinsing your mouth after meals can eliminate some of the food particles that cavity-causing bacteria need to feast. If you use a brand containing fluoride, you also help protect your enamel minerals from acidic foods and beverages.
6. Eat Some Hard Cheese
Bacteria isn’t the only enemy your teeth have. Excess acid can erode your tooth enamel, making them prone to breakage and decay.
Hard cheeses like cheddar help to neutralize the acids in your mouth. Having some for your dessert course might give your enamel a little added protection.
7. Add More Crudites to Your Diet
When looking for the ideal way to end a meal, you can’t go wrong with some cheddar and apple slices. The apple’s pectin fiber and crunchiness works as a natural toothbrush to scrub away food particles and the cheese strengthens enamel.
Strive to eat more crudites — any hard, crunchy vegetable also removes particles from tooth surfaces. Plus, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower are all low in calories, making them the ideal snack if you made a new year’s resolution to shed some excess pounds. Both your mouth and your waistline will thank you for choosing celery and hummus over chips.
8. Keep Yourself Hydrated
Your teeth probably aren’t your first concern when you find yourself parched and wandering in the desert, but dehydration can affect your oral health, too. Without adequate water levels, your body can’t produce saliva, a crucial substance for washing acids and food particles away from tooth surfaces.
Carry a water bottle with you and sip on it frequently. You might already be dehydrated by the time you feel thirsty, so don’t rely on your body — set an alert on your phone if you must to remind you to drink up.
Another way to tell you need more fluids is to observe your urine. It should be pale yellow, and darker hues indicate that you need to take more than a sip.
Enhance Your Oral Health These 8 Ways This Year
Your mouth influences your overall well-being. Take the eight steps above to enhance your oral health in 2021.