Good oral health is vital to overall well-being and can significantly impact confidence, appearance and overall well-being.
Avoid harmful habits that could damage your oral health, such as smoking, chewing gum use and tongue piercing. There are various strategies available that can improve and protect against tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath issues.
1. Go to the Dentist Regularly
Although twice-a-year visits may provide a good general rule, each situation varies. For instance, those living with specific health conditions have an increased risk of oral problems that need to be addressed more urgently.
Your dental appointment hygienist can identify issues you might not notice yourself, such as red or white patches in the mouth, gum disease and jaw damage.
Dentists are specially trained to identify early warning signs of oral cancer, head and neck cancer, osteoporosis and other serious medical conditions that are easily treatable if caught early. Delaying treatment allows these issues to develop further, impacting nutrition, socialization and overall quality of life.
2. Brush Your Teeth Daily
Brushing twice daily, flossing daily and using mouthwash along with limiting sugary food and beverages are the cornerstones of oral health. Doing these activities regularly will keep your mouth healthy while decreasing risk for cavities and gum disease – plus brushing regularly prevents bad breath while adding an attractive smile!
To maximize the efficacy of daily brushing, it’s best to opt for a soft bristled toothbrush and replace it every three to four months. Brush gently while remembering all surfaces of your teeth including chewing surfaces and hard to reach places. Furthermore, wait at least 15-20 minutes after eating before brushing so as to not damage the enamel of your teeth with acidity.
Most people understand the significance of brushing their teeth regularly to maintain good oral health, but some might not realize all its advantages.
3. Floss Daily
Flossing helps remove plaque, the sticky film that accumulates on teeth and gumline, as well as food debris which could contribute to bad breath.
Additionally, flossing can help prevent respiratory illnesses like bronchitis by eliminating bacteria that accumulates in the mouth from traveling into the respiratory system and spreading further afield.
Make sure that when flossing, you follow the correct technique. To do so, take an 18 inch piece of dental floss and tie it into a loop, placing all but your thumb into it before pulling the floss through each tooth without snapping. Unwind new sections from your loop as needed before repeating this process with the opposite side of your teeth.
4. See Your Dentist for Regular Cleanings
Our mouths contain more than 700 species of bacteria, many of which thrive on our teeth and can lead to bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease without proper care and management. If not taken care of appropriately these infections could become serious problems resulting in bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease if left unattended.
Regular visits to Dr. Mulder’s team at WestSide Dental for cleanings can help improve your oral health by preventing gum disease, decreasing tooth loss and even decreasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Studies have also linked poor dental hygiene with conditions like diabetes, heart disease and increased pregnancy complications.
At a dental cleaning appointment, your dentist will remove plaque and tartar from both above and below your gum line, polish your teeth to give them a brighter shine and fresher breath, floss to remove any leftover debris, as well as inspect for early signs of oral cancer or any health concerns that need to be addressed immediately before they worsen.
5. Eat a Healthy Diet
As soon as you eat, bacteria in your mouth convert sugars and carbohydrates into acids which attack tooth enamel. Saliva neutralizes these acids after about half an hour, so the more often you eat sugary foods or beverages, the greater their impact on tooth enamel damage will be.
Cheese, raw vegetables or yogurt are nutritious snacks that contain low levels of sugar and carbohydrates; chewing these foods stimulates saliva, helping wash away food particles while mitigating acid production.
Limit the consumption of sugary or carb-rich food between meals, favoring more nutrient-rich choices like cheese, yoghurt, whole-grain bread and muesli as nutritious snack choices. Leafy greens contain nitrates which reduce acid in your mouth and strengthen teeth; nuts provide calcium, phosphorus and other important nutrients as additional options.
6. Avoid Tobacco
Smoking tobacco products is linked with lung and mouth cancer, weakened immunity systems, discolored and decayed teeth as well as increasing your risk for gum disease and leading to complications with diabetes.
Smoking leaves behind a sticky film of bacteria called plaque that slowly wears away your teeth and leads to tooth decay and gum disease. If you’re currently a smoker, make an effort to kick the habit.
Find ways to manage stress or cravings without turning to tobacco, like looking for alternative strategies when talking on the phone or drinking coffee – such as journaling, exercising and meditation – instead. Seek support from friends or family, dentists or smoking cessation programs – you could even use an app or online community as additional means of stopping smoking altogether.
7. Avoid Chewing Gum
Gum can freshen breath and help food pass more easily through your mouth, but overdoing it could actually do damage. Most gums contain sugar which contributes to tooth decay as well as leading to bacteria accumulation in your mouth.
Sugarless gums made with xylitol or other safe sweeteners are less damaging. They can increase saliva flow while decreasing plaque and acid build-up – decreasing your risk for cavities and increasing saliva flow.
Gum should not replace brushing and flossing twice daily or drinking sufficient fluids throughout the day. Chewing gum requires jaw movement that may cause strain to the temporomandibular joints (TMJs), leading to discomfort and wear on these TMJs; this may result in jaw ache as well as exacerbating existing conditions like TMD or TMJ disorder.