It may not seem obvious at first, but your teeth are actually living tissue. Taking care of your teeth, cleaning them regularly, and getting proper medical attention helps to keep your teeth and gums healthy, just like the rest of your body. Let’s take a look at the best tips to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
6 Tips to Keep Your Teeth and Gums Healthy
Brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste is the best way to keep your teeth and gums healthy long-term. Brushing your teeth once in the morning and once at night scrubs away the bacteria that accumulate on teeth throughout the day and night.
Throughout the day, bacteria that live on teeth and gums form sticky colonies called biofilm. If the biofilm isn’t brushed away, it forms a tougher substance called plaque, which is harder for a toothbrush to scrub away. These colonies of bacteria produce acid, which eats away at tooth enamel and creates small holes. These holes become cavities. If they aren’t treated, they can kill the living structures in the tooth.
Regular flossing is another important tip to keep your teeth and gums healthy. While brushing removes biofilm on the exposed surfaces of teeth, a toothbrush can’t reach the tight spaces between teeth. Floss, however, does.
If you don’t like regular spools of floss, there are many alternatives to floss that can be just as effective. You might try a water flosser, or floss picks. All of these types of floss can remove bacteria between teeth. This will prevent bacteria from building up in spaces between teeth and in the tight spaces between the teeth and the gums. This, especially, will help to keep your gums healthy.
3. Visit the Dentist
While regular brushing and flossing will help to remove bacteria and prevent tooth decay, it’s also important to regularly visit your dentist. Your dentist can uncover any problems with your teeth or gums, such as cavities that might be damaging your teeth. Your dentist can also detect more serious problems, such as signs of mouth cancer. Or, if you are grinding your teeth or having other issues with your teeth, your dentist can help.
4. Avoid Tobacco and Vaping
It’s no mystery that tobacco, including cigarettes, chewing tobacco, cigars, and also electronic cigarettes and vape pens, are bad for your health. Tobacco has negative effects on your cardiovascular health, including your lungs and heart, and also increases your risks of cancer. If you use tobacco products, it’s a good idea to quit, or at least reduce your use. Your body will thank you, and so will your teeth and gums!
Tobacco and vaping increases your risk of mouth and throat cancer substantially. This can put your long-term health and way of life in serious jeopardy. Tobacco and vaping also gives you dry mouth, which contributes to chronic bad breath and makes it easier for bacteria to build up, since they aren’t washed away by saliva.
5. Balanced Diet
By now, the benefits of a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and healthy protein is well-known. The dangers of a diet with too much sugars has also been discussed at length. But did you know that your diet also affects your teeth?
Bacteria thrive on sugars and starches. And, while sugars and starches are found in almost every food, they’re highly concentrated in candy, soda, chocolates, and chips. This makes it very easy for bacteria to thrive, especially if they aren’t regularly brushed and flossed away. These starchy and sugary treats are fun to enjoy sometimes, but they increase your risk of cavities if they become a regular habit.
The vitamins, minerals, and fiber found in healthy foods can also help your body produce more saliva, which will help prevent bacteria from sticking to teeth. Healthy foods also help to keep your bones and body strong overall, which means your body can fight off bacteria and infections better.
Fun fact: Certain cheeses are great for your teeth! Cheese, especially sharp, aged varieties, contain cultures that introduce good bacteria to your mouth and body. These cheeses also cause your mouth to water when your taste buds interact with them and the significant saliva production helps keep teeth free from the bad bacteria that can harm your teeth. So next time you’re looking for a mouth-healthy snack, grab some cheese – the sharper the better.
6. Avoid Teeth-Grinding
Many people are not aware of the damage that habitual teeth-grinding can do to their teeth. Teeth-grinding, also called bruxism, usually occurs at night, and it’s usually caused by stress. Many people who grind their teeth don’t even realize they’re doing it, until they start to experience tooth sensitivity or pain in their jaw.
Teeth-grinding puts sustained, intense force on teeth, and this puts excessive strain on the area where the gums meet the teeth. This can expose the softer areas of the teeth underneath. When hot or cold foods touch these areas, it can cause pain, which is often called tooth sensitivity.
The best way to avoid teeth-grinding is to reduce excessive stress in your life. While we all have some stress, habitual teeth-grinding is an indication that your mind and body are under too much stress, and it’s time to make a change. It might be time to consider therapy, meditation, or lifestyle changes. If this isn’t realistic at this time, a mouthguard for teeth-grinding can also help.
These are a few of the best ways to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Though it may seem like a lot, remember that investing time and energy into your health is always time well-spent. If you haven’t taken the time to visit the dentist recently, now is a great time to make an appointment. Contact your nearest BDG dental office to make an appointment today.