With all the health advice available online now, it’s hard to know what’s actually important to your oral health and what’s not. Dr. Becker and his team at Howard County Smiles in Columbia, MD want to make you aware of 10 dental care tips so that you can have a healthier smile.
1.Brush your teeth every day
You’ve been told this since your very first dental visit as a child: brush your teeth twice a day. Brushing removes leftover food particles that can bond with saliva to form plaque. These particles feed the bacteria that naturally live in our mouths. Their digestive acids can eat through our tooth enamel, causing tooth decay.
2. Flossing is as important as brushing
Flossing is important because it removes plaque from places that your toothbrush alone can’t reach. If plaque is allowed to remain in these hard-to-reach areas, you could find yourself dealing with tooth decay or even gum disease, which research has linked to increased risk of cardiovascular problems and Alzheimer’s.
3. Use toothpaste with fluoride
Fluoride helps strengthen tooth enamel, making it an important additive to toothpaste. Using toothpaste and/or mouthwash with fluoride can reverse tooth decay at early stages, reducing the need for fillings.
4. Limit sugar intake, including sugary drinks
The bacteria in our mouths thrive on sugar which makes sugary drinks a major contributor to tooth decay. Reducing the amount of sugar in your diet combined with regular brushing and flossing can help keep the bacteria under control.
5. See your dentist twice a year
Regular dental examinations are necessary to preserving your oral health. Your dentist is trained to recognize early signs of tooth decay and gum disease before they turn severe. This can help you avoid complicated and expensive dental procedures. Most exams include X-rays to inspect your teeth for decay and root stability.
6. Maintain a healthy diet
A healthy diet is important not just for overall health, but is important for your teeth in ways you might not expect. In addition to good nutrition provided by healthy foods that help your bones and teeth grow and stay healthy, a lot of fruits and vegetables are crunchy and chewy, which promotes the production of saliva. Foods that require a lot of chewing are good for the teeth because more saliva means the mouth is naturally washed out more often.
7. Stay hydrated
Again: Keeping your body hydrated helps your mouth produce enough saliva to keep your mouth and teeth clean. Saliva naturally washes out the mouth, removing oral bacteria and the food particles that they feed upon.
8. Don’t forget your tongue
When you brush your teeth, don’t forget to run over your tongue over the white or yellow area at the back of your tongue to remove foul-smelling bacterial waste that causes bad breath.
9. Don’t chew on hard items
This may seem like common sense but… try not to bite down on hard candies or non-food items like pen caps or fingernails. These items aren’t designed to be chewed and can damage teeth.
10. Take care of your toothbrush
Your toothbrush doesn’t need any special cleaning, but make sure it dries after each use and there is no leftover toothpaste. Store it upright and exposed to air and your toothbrush will be good to go!
Dr. Becker’s Howard County Smiles team in Columbia, MD is here to help you maintain your oral health. Schedule an appointment today by calling 410.415.9013 or contact us online to keep your smile healthy!