Children learn how to take care of their teeth early on, but it’s equally important to protect teeth in adulthood. Strong teeth are attractive, promote good health and can even save you money. Here are some ways to have healthy teeth for years to come.
Floss First, Then Brush
Flossing and brushing are daily rituals, but it is important that they be done in the right order. Always floss first, to keep debris from re-settling on freshly brushed teeth. Use a soft brush and replace it every three months. Don’t brush too hard: You’re trying to remove plaque, not enamel!
You don’t have to rinse after you brush. Simply spit out any excess toothpaste. This leaves a film of fluoride in place to help strengthen your teeth. Avoid eating sticky foods if you won’t be able to brush immediately afterward.
A Better Diet for a Healthy Mouth
You already know to avoid sweets, especially between meals. Did you know that some foods are actually good for your teeth? Crunchy fruits and vegetables scrape film off teeth and stimulate the production of saliva, which reduces plaque buildup. Both green and black teas contain compounds that help reduce bacterial growth, as does red wine.
A diet rich in calcium is important for strong teeth. If you want to avoid dairy products, calcium is also found in sunflower seeds, dark leafy greens, and some types of molasses.
Protect Your Oral Assets
Teeth are made from minerals, notably calcium. In addition to needing calcium in the diet, you also need to protect the calcium that is already in your teeth. Fluoride toothpaste helps by making it easier for your body to replace calcium that might be lost from the enamel. Your diet can also come into play.
Acidic foods and drinks, such as carbonated sodas, erode enamel by creating an acid environment in the mouth. You can protect teeth by following your tangy treat with a glass of water. Milk, cheese and other dairy products also reduce acid.
Tooth grinding leads to excessive wear and even fractures in the teeth. If you find yourself clenching your teeth frequently or wake up with sore jaw muscles, it’s a good idea to talk to your dentist.
Your Smile and Your Wallet
Wanting an attractive smile is not just a matter of vanity. Stained, damaged or missing teeth make a bad impression that can hurt your career. It’s difficult to interact with coworkers when you’re afraid to smile or laugh because you don’t have healthy teeth. Yet many people avoid going to the dentist because they’re afraid of the cost.
One way to solve this problem is to include dental care in your annual budget. Another solution is a good dental insurance plan. These plans often cover routine exams and cleanings, along with fillings and other types of restoration. A dental budget combined with the right insurance can protect you from pain in your mouth and in your wallet.
You and Your Dentist: A Partnership for Health
A healthy mouth is more than just a pretty smile. It’s the key to preventing many health issues. Digestion begins in the mouth. The mechanical action of chewing, along with the enzymes in saliva, reduces food to the proper consistency for the rest of the digestive tract to process. Gum disease or abscesses put strain on the immune system and can even lead to an increased risk of stroke or heart disease.
Regular dental checkups help keep tooth trouble at bay and give you a chance to have any problems corrected before they lead to tooth loss or the need for crowns or other restorations.