Do you immediately cover your mouth with your hand when you laugh? Or find yourself holding back a smile when you’re out in public? Is it your teeth that you’re conscious about? Perhaps they are not as white as you wish, or you have a chip or gap in one of your front teeth. Tooth decay, bad breath, gum disease, and other dental problems can also make you feel less confident and shy away from smiling fully.
With some care and attention, you can have a healthy, beautiful smile that you’ll be proud to show off. Good oral hygiene isn’t just about making your teeth look good; it’s also essential for overall health. It keeps your mouth free of bacteria that can cause infections and ensures your teeth and gums are healthy.
Poor oral health is linked to severe chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. It also increases inflammation in the body, contributes to poor diet quality, and negatively impacts the quality of life. So, how can you care for your teeth and ensure good oral health? Below are seven steps to help you get started.
Examine Your Teeth For Irregularities
Look closely at your teeth in the mirror for overbites, underbites, open bites, gaps between your teeth, or crowded teeth that overlap. These are all signs that you may need to re-align your teeth.
What to do?
Start by looking up teeth alignment services in your area. Suppose you live in Cary, North Carolina. In that case, if you look up services like “Invisalign near me in Cary, North Carolina,” you will be able to find the best source. Invisalign is a discreet orthodontist treatment that uses clear aligners to shift your teeth into place over time. It’s similar to braces, but they are invisible and more comfortable.
Get Yourself a Good Toothbrush
When toothbrush shopping, do you also pick the first one on the shelf, or do you take time to read reviews and find the best one for your needs? A good toothbrush is gentle on your gums and effective at removing plaque. It also feels comfortable in your hand and is easy to use.
- Look for soft bristles and a small head.
- Check the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
- You can also use powered toothbrushes, which can be more effective at removing plaque and tarter than manual toothbrushes.
- Replace your toothbrush every three months or sooner if the bristles fray.
- Do not share your toothbrush with anyone.
Don’t Forget to Floss
Flossing is an as important part of oral care as brushing. It removes plaque and bacteria from areas between your teeth and under your gumline that your toothbrush can’t reach.
How To Floss Your Teeth:
- Break a piece of floss about 18-24 inches long.
- Leave an inch or two of floss and wrap the remaining around each middle finger.
- While holding the floss firmly between your thumbs and index fingers, slide it up and down against the side of each tooth.
- Be sure to floss under the gumline as well.
Rinse Your Mouth With Water Or Mouthwash
Mouth rinsing is not only for keeping your mouth moist and fresh; it can help keep your teeth healthy. When you eat something, bacteria begin immediately to attack any sugar and starch in your mouth. These bacteria turn the sugar into acid, which eats away at tooth enamel (the hard outer layer of the tooth).
You can help remove food particles and decrease the acid attack by rinsing your mouth with water right after eating. If you want to use mouthwash, choose the best one for your needs. Some mouthwashes have fluoride, which helps fight cavities. However, don’t use it right after brushing because it will wash away the fluoride from toothpaste.
Scrape Your Tongue
Most people brush their teeth twice daily, but few scrape their tongues. Your tongue can harbor just as much bacteria as your teeth. Therefore, it’s vital to give it a good cleaning once in a while. You can use a tongue scraper, which is a small, metal device that you can find at most drugstores, or you can use your toothbrush.
Keeping your tongue clean will help freshen your breath, keep your smile healthy, and help you avoid other oral health problems. You’ll also protect your taste buds, which can help you enjoy your food more.
Avoid Sugary Foods And Drinks
You already know that sugary foods are bad for your teeth, but you may not know that they can also contribute to other oral health problems. Sugary foods can feed the bacteria in your mouth, leading to cavities and gum disease. They can also cause issues like dry mouth, which can lead to bad breath.
The ADA recommends that people limit their sugar intake to less than 10% of their daily calories. So, if you’re eating 2,000 calories a day, that’s 200 calories from sugar or about 50 grams.
Reduce the amount of sugar you eat by:
- Reading food labels and choosing products with less sugar.
- Replacing sugary drinks with water or unsweetened beverages.
- Eating less candy, cookies, cake, and other sweets.
- Limiting your portion sizes of sugary foods.
Quit Smoking And Limit Alcohol Consumption
Smoking is one of the worst enemies of your teeth and gums. Nicotine in tobacco products stains your teeth, causes bad breath, and leads to gum disease. It also increases your risk for oral cancer and other health problems.
On the other hand, alcohol is a drying agent. It dries your mouth, providing an ideal environment for growing bacteria, leading to tooth decay and gum disease. If you consume alcohol regularly, do so in moderation. Anything consumed in excess can harm your health, including your oral health.
Oral hygiene might be the least of your concerns when you think about your health, but it’s crucial for your overall health. Take care of your teeth by brushing and flossing regularly, avoiding sugary and acidic drinks, and rinsing your mouth after eating to remove food particles. These are a few practical ways to prevent cavities, gum disease, and other oral health problems. You deserve a bright, healthy smile that reflects your overall health. So, start taking care of your teeth today!