Having healthy teeth and gums is integral in living a healthy and happy life. Numerous studies have linked oral health to overall health and have suggested that oral bacteria and periodontitis may lead to a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, respiratory problems and lowered immune function. So, what can we do to ensure that both our oral and overall health is in check? It’s simple – follow our list of dental do’s and don’ts to find out everything you need to maintain the health of your gorgeous smile. Read on to find out more!
We like starting off with positivity, so here is a list of dental do’s that are sure to help you get on top of your dental/oral health.
Brushing Twice A Day
This one probably doesn’t come as news to anyone, but brushing twice a day is by far one of the most effective ways of keeping your teeth clean and preventing tooth decay, gum disease and other dental related issues. Dentists recommend brushing for a minimum of 2 minutes every morning and evening, along with the use of a high quality fluoride toothpaste that can help prevent tooth decay.
Choosing The Right Orthodontic Treatment
Since we’re on the topic of brushing your teeth, we thought we’d briefly mention orthodontic treatment. If you happen to have braces or aligners, it is extra important that you practice good dental hygiene habits. Food is notorious for getting stuck in braces, making it really important to brush after each and every meal. If this is something that you think you may struggle to maintain, have a look at other alignment options in this comparison of aligners vs braces.
No, we’re not talking about the dance. A fair amount of bacteria and food can still remain stuck between your teeth after brushing, which is why regular flossing is always encouraged to prevent the build up of gum disease causing bacteria and plaque.
Schedule Regular Checkups
You know the drill — you should schedule a checkup with your dentist at least twice a year. This will allow your dentist to give your teeth and gums a thorough cleaning and scaling that help to lower the chances of infection and more complicated issues. Regular check ups will also allow your dentist to spot potential dental problems sooner rather than later.
Eat A Healthy Diet
The food and drink you consume can have a huge impact on your overall oral health. Food and drink high in sugar have a direct connection to tooth decay and can lead to plaque buildup which dissolves tooth enamel. Reducing the amount of sugary foods you consume can greatly benefit both your dental and overall health. Limiting acidic food and drink is also encouraged to reduce the chances of your tooth enamel wearing away and causing infection.
Replace Your Toothbrush Regularly
As a general rule of thumb, you should replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months or as soon as its bristles start to fray. The same should be done after recovering from an illness in order to ensure that harmful bacteria are not reintroduced through your mouth.
Now, let’s take a dive into some of the things you should definitely try to avoid when it comes to taking care of your oral health.
Avoid Brushing Too Hard
Brushing your teeth is great, but brushing them too hard can have adverse consequences. Hard or aggressive brushing can damage tooth enamel and gums which can affect your overall oral health and smile. Always brush gently and choose a soft to medium bristled toothbrush that isn’t too rough on your gums.
Don’t Open Packages With Your Teeth
Are you guilty of ripping packages, bottle caps and other random items with your mouth? As much as it may seem the easy thing to do, using your teeth for anything other than chewing food can result in cracked or chipped teeth. In more serious cases, it can even lead to poor jaw alignment and jaw pain.
Don’t Consume Soda, Tea and Coffee
Okay, so maybe this one can’t be eliminated entirely…afterall, the vast majority of adults rely on coffee and tea most days. Unfortunately, coffee, tea and carbonated drinks can often stain teeth and give them a yellow-brown appearance which is less than appealing. If you really have to drink these beverages, we recommend using a straw and limiting your intake as much as possible.
Aside from the myriad of side effects that can take its toll on your body due to smoking, another one you can add to the list is your oral health. Smoking causes tooth discolouration and worsens the overall health of your gums, thus leading to a higher risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Furthermore, smoking increases your risk of oral cancer and is linked to 20% of deaths in the US each year.
Don’t Grind Your Teeth
Grinding your teeth may seem like a harmless habit, but it’s definitely a habit that you should kick. Grinding, also known as Bruxism, can cause chips and cracks to form on your teeth which are sure to affect your smile and your confidence.
Don’t Wait Till It’s Too Late
Last but not least, if you happen to notice changes in your gums, teeth or mouth, it is imperative that you book an appointment with your dentist immediately. The same applies for toothaches, jaw pain, headaches or inflamed lymph nodes in your neck that may all be signs of a serious infection. The longer you wait, the higher the chances of you losing your tooth, so be sure to remain as vigilant as possible.
And there you have it — everything you need to do (and not do) to maintain the health of your smile. Remember — prevention is always better than cure, so getting on top of your dental health sooner rather than later will save you an incredible amount of worry, frustration and money in the long run.