3 Habits to Keep Your Smile Healthy
Keeping your teeth and gums healthy and in good shape is not difficult, but it is a commitment. And it’s a commitment that more than pays off with a smile that remains free of disease and decay for a lifetime. That’s less time spent nursing toothaches and mouth pain, less money spent on restorative dental procedures, and fewer hours spent at our dental office getting problems fixed.
Here are three habits that are well worth picking up for the sake of your oral health. Try to incorporate them as part of your preventive dentistry routine, and call Gilbart Dental Care of Frederick and Hagerstown MD at 240-513-7523 or 240-347-0910 to schedule your next cleaning and exam.
#1: Make Oral Hygiene a Priority
You only see us twice a year, so it’s extremely important to be vigilant about how you take care of your pearly whites at home. Here’s a rundown of the basics:
- Brush at least twice a day for two minutes using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Apply gentle pressure, as scrubbing too hard damages your enamel and gums. Reach all surfaces of the teeth, including the backs and at the gumline. Replace your toothbrush every few months or when bristles become worn and frayed.
- Brush your tongue. Bacteria love to congregate there, causing bad breath and other problems.
- Floss daily. It doesn’t really matter when, but lots of people like to do the job at night to remove any debris and bits of food left over from the day.
- If you haven’t incorporated mouthwash into your routine, consider doing so. When you swish it around in your mouth, it dislodges food particles and cleans areas inaccessible by your toothbrush and floss. Some mouthwashes give you an extra dose of enamel-strengthening fluoride to boot.
#2: Don’t Let Dental Visits Fall Through the Cracks
We know that between work, your kids’ school, activities, lessons, and other medical appointments, you may feel stretched thin. And especially if your teeth and gums feel healthy, it can be tempting to let a dental visit here and there fall through the cracks.
Don’t let this happen. For one thing, it’s just a really bad habit to get into. And just because you aren’t in pain, that doesn’t mean problems aren’t brewing. Through visual examination and digital X-rays, we can detect early gum disease, tooth decay, and other issues and promptly begin treatment. Plus, our professional hygienists have special tools and skills to remove plaque and tartar that you can’t get to at home. And that helps prevent problems down the road.
#3: Adopt a Tooth-Friendly Diet
It shouldn’t be surprising that what you eat affects the health of your mouth. As it turns out, tooth-friendly foods tend to align with generally healthy foods. Here are a few guidelines on what you should eat with gusto and what’s best avoided.
- Cheese gets an enthusiastic green light from us. Like all dairy products, it is high in tooth-strengthening calcium. Plus it’s been shown to increase the pH of your mouth, which makes for an unfriendly environment for bacteria.
- Leafy greens are good for you and good for your mouth. They are an excellent source of calcium, plus contain folic acid for gum health.
- Craving something sweet? Apples do contain sugar, but that’s outweighed by their benefits for your dental health. Their fibrous texture stimulates the gums and increases the production of cleansing saliva in your mouth.
- Sticky and gummy sweets are a dental-health no-no. They are packed with sugar, of course, but what makes them especially insidious is their texture, which makes them get lodged in the grooves of the teeth. And there they stay, promoting the growth of bacteria, which churn out acids that eat away at your enamel. So keep your house free of gummy snacks and candies, fruit roll-ups, chewy granola bars, and even raisins and other dried fruits.
- Hard candies are double trouble. If you suck on them, you create a slurry of sugar and saliva that coats your mouth and teeth, seeping into all of the nooks and crannies. If you chew your hard candy, you risk breaking a tooth. Ouch!
- Soft drinks, juices, and sports drinks are sugar bombs that have little benefit for you, but provide lots of nourishment for harmful bacteria. Choose water instead. Good old H2O keeps your body hydrated and your mouth clean by rinsing away food particles and bacteria and neutralizing acids. And a word about diet soft drinks: these do not contain sugar, but they are high in acids, which make them a poor choice for your dental health.
Follow these preventive dentistry guidelines, and you have a great chance of a lifelong healthy smile. If you live in or around Frederick or Hagerstown, MD, book your next checkup at Gilbart Dental Care. You may reach us via our online form or call 240-513-7523 or 240-347-0910.