One of the most attractive physical features a person can possess is a healthy, bright smile. Most people seem to agree with this: according to an American Dental Association (ADA) survey, 82% of American adults believe nice looking teeth can help you get ahead in life.
Even if you think you have good oral care habits, are you doing all you can to keep your mouth healthy? Here are six dental hygiene tips that everyone should be following to flash a winning smile.
1. Brush Your Teeth Properly Twice Daily
The key word here is “properly” as most of us do brush our teeth every day. But do you know that you should brush them for at least two minutes at a time to make sure you’re reaching all surfaces? Set your phone’s timer and be sure to clean the inside surfaces as well as your back molars thoroughly.
You should also use a soft-bristled toothbrush and hold it at a 45-degree angle to gently clean your gums’ surface as well. An electric toothbrush can help take the drudgery out of daily oral hygiene by doing most of the work for you.
Use a fluoride toothpaste and clean the surfaces of your teeth by brushing in circular motions, taking care not to brush too hard. When you’re done, brush your tongue as well or use a tongue scraper. This will help remove odorous bacteria to keep your breath fresher.
While you’re at it, you can also gently brush the insides of your cheeks and the roof of your mouth to help eliminate more bacteria, or use a mouthwash.
2. Floss Every Day
Flossing is still the best way to minimize the risk of developing gum disease, which has been linked to several health conditions and if left untreated, can eventually cause tooth loss. Flossing also helps prevents decay from forming in between teeth. It should be done at least once a day, ideally at night before you brush.
Don’t like to floss? Consider investing in a Waterpik or other cordless flosser that can help dislodge food debris from between your teeth.
3. Avoid Sugary, Hard and Sticky Foods
We all know that sugar can cause cavities, but sticky foods can wreak havoc on our pearly whites as well. Dried fruit, crackers, chips, and even bread can lead to tooth decay as they cling to crevices on our teeth.
Try to avoid eating too many sweets (including soda and other sweetened beverages) and sticky foods. Brushing and flossing regularly will help remove any debris before it can start to cause damage.
Take care when eating hard foods such as candy brittle, nuts, and popcorn and avoid biting down on ice cubes, hard candy, and other foods that can damage teeth. Eating very hard foods can cause cracks and chips that may require an emergency dentist visit.
4. Drink Lots of Water
Water not only hydrates your body for zero calories, but it’s our mouth’s best friend. Drinking water helps neutralize the surfaces of our teeth in between brushing and flossing and can rinse away bacteria that cause bad breath.
Water also keeps our mouth hydrated, which is essential for good oral health. A chronic dry mouth can lead to bad breath and cavities.
Chewing sugarless gum also neutralizes acids in our mouth and increases saliva, which helps prevent decay from forming.
5. Eat a Balanced Diet
In addition to staying away from sweet foods and drinks, you want to make sure you’re eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and lean protein. The vitamins and minerals in many foods can help keep your teeth strong and prevent gums from inflammation.
Yogurt and other foods that contain probiotics may be valuable for our gums since they help keep more harmful bacteria at bay. Salmon is another great superfood to consume, as its calcium and vitamin D content are great for our teeth and gum health.
Coconut oil is also gaining notoriety as an oral health-friendly food. The saturated fat contains lauric acid which kills a few forms of oral bacteria that can cause plaque and bad breath.
6. Visit Your Dentist Regularly
It’s true that not many of us are not fans of the dentist chair. However, visiting your dental office every six months for a cleaning and check-up is one of the best ways to help prevent minor dental problems from turning into larger, costlier, and painful ones. Consider that having a small cavity filled is a quicker and less costly dental restoration procedure when compared to having a root canal and crown done.
A dentist will also check your current dental work to make sure it’s still functioning properly or if it needs to be replaced. They can also access the condition of your gums and make recommendations for your at-home oral care routine.
A good dentist is your ally in helping you maintain a winning smile. Many dentists also know how to perform a dental implant procedure to replace missing teeth and help give you back your confidence. Find a dentist you’re comfortable with and you’ll have healthy teeth for life.
Brush Up on Your Dental Hygiene
Good dental hygiene does require commitment, but taking a few minutes out of each day to take care of your teeth is worth it when you can flash a fantastic smile. Keep an extra toothbrush, a tube of toothpaste, and dental floss at work to stay on top of dental hygiene and keep your breath fresh during the day.
Looking for more ways to keep your oral and overall health in tiptop shape? Read up on our latest health posts so you’ll always look and feel your best!