It is no secret that keeping good oral hygiene is critical to maintaining a great smile and overall good health. Although brushing and flossing are very important habits, many people overlook the health of their gums. In fact, gum disease is a major contributor to serious conditions such as heart disease. Pay special attention to your gums while brushing and flossing and take notice of any changes. If you see anything that looks different, bring it to discussion with your dentist.
1. Brush your teeth! Twice a day! Everyday!
This is an obvious one. But you’d be surprised at how many people skip the brushing in the evening because they are too tired or, in the morning because they are running late. Take the two minutes and brush. Brushing is the single most important action you can do to maintain healthy gums and teeth. This daily routine removes bacteria that causes bad breath and limits plaque build up along the gums.
2. Floss daily!
Flossing your teeth at least once a day helps remove the food that gets stuck in between your teeth. It also helps remove plaque which prevents the buildup of tartar. Gum disease continues to be a big problem. And not just for older people. Teenagers are notorious for not flossing. Get into the habit of flossing early. Carry floss with you in your purse and/or in your car. This way, if you ever need to floss when you are out you have it available. If you have an apple on the go, or have steak for lunch, food will get stuck in between the teeth. It’s easy to go to the washroom and floss right away.
3. Go for regular cleanings and checkups!
I know what you are thinking. Here comes the sales pitch. However, just like going to a doctor for your physical checkups regularly, it is imperative to go for regular dental checkups. Most experts recommend a dental cleaning every six month, or more often if you have gum disease. During your routine exam your dentist or dental hygienist will remove plaque build up that you cannot brush or floss, and they will look for signs of decay.
4. Eat smart!
A well-balanced diet is not only good for your waistline but also for your teeth and gums. A diet of whole foods such as grains, vegetables, fruits, and dairy products will provide all the nutrients you need. Some researchers believe that omega-3 fats, the ones found in fish, may also reduce inflammation, thereby lowering risk of gum disease. Calcium in dairy products also helps protect your teeth against gum disease and keeps the bones and teeth strong.
5. Avoid sugary foods!
When bacteria in the mouth break down simple sugars, they produce acids that can erode tooth enamel. Sugary drinks such as soft drinks, even the sugar free ones, contain acid that erodes tooth enamel. If you must, drink them quickly and use a straw to avoid extended contact with your teeth.
Almost all tooth decay and most gum disease can be prevented with good oral care. So, let’s make the effort and enjoy a lifetime of healthy teeth, gums, and beautiful smiles!