How to Improve Your Dental Health
The health of your teeth and gums plays an integral part of your overall health. Making sure to keep up with a proper dental hygiene regimen can not only keep your smile bright but also reduce your risks of developing conditions such as heart disease and respiratory problems.
If you’re looking to improve your health this year, use these tips to make sure your dental health is on the list.
10 Healthy Dental Habits
1. Consume Less Sugar
This easy task can not only improve your overall health but can also help keep your teeth strong and bright. Foods that are high in sugar content such as soda, alcoholic beverages, and desserts put you at a higher risk of cavities and tooth decay.
When you eat large amounts of sugar, your mouth’s harmful bacteria feed off of it. Cavities are bacterial infections, created by the acids in your mouth that can result from eating sugar.
2. Limit Coffee Intake
Most of us are guilty of over-indulging in coffee to get us through the day, but it can also cause severe tooth discoloration. Dark-colored drinks such as coffee and red wine become embedded in the ridges of your enamel, causing yellowish stains on your teeth — and can be cause for tooth decay further down the line.
While this can sometimes be reversed by teeth-whitening, it’s best to be proactive and limit yourself to one or two cups a day and drink your coffee through a straw to reduce direct exposure to your teeth.
3. Eat a Nutritious Diet
There are certain vitamins and minerals that help to strengthen our teeth and fight disease, there are also some foods that simply act as natural floss, such as apples and celery. Some choices that are great for not only your overall health but specifically for your dental health include:
- Calcium-rich foods help to strengthen your teeth.
- Phosphorus-rich foods protect your teeth from cavity-causing acids.
- Foods rich in vitamin C fortify your smile and ward off disease.
- Foods rich in folic acid promote the growth of new cells.
If you’re looking to make a tooth-friendly shopping list, here are some of our favorites:
- Dark greens such as broccoli, kale, and spinach
- Citrus fruits
- Lean meats
Taking vitamin supplements can help enhance your dental health, but there are several foods where these vitamins naturally exist, and all of these are great contributions to overall nutrition and healthy diets.
Fluoride is essential for fighting plaque and acidic effects of food and our saliva. Drinking tap water is an excellent source of fluoride, as well as walnuts and fish.
Iron deficiency can cause enough problems for the gums to cause inflammation. Great sources of iron can be found in red meat, liver, beans, and apples.
Calcium can be found in broccoli, soy, sesame, and figs as well as dairy products.
Phosphorus plays two important roles: aids in the proper digestion of calcium and improves the strength and durability of the enamel. Fish, eggs, dairy products, and beef all contain phosphorus.
Vitamin D also aids in digesting calcium and phosphorus. Our bodies can create Vitamin D on their own if they receive sufficient amounts of sunlight. Other natural sources include eggs, fish, dairy products, and mushrooms.
Vitamin C practically guarantees a healthy gum condition. Citrus fruits, such as oranges and lemons, are most well known for containing Vitamin C, but it can also be found in onions, carrots, and sugar beets.
4. Choose Your Toothbrush Wisely, and Replace it Often
There are a variety of toothbrushes on the market, and all of the choices can be confusing. Most patients assume any toothbrush will do when it comes to keeping their teeth clean. However, soft-bristled and electronic toothbrushes are your best bet.
Both of these choices allow for the gentle cleansing of your smile without harsh scrubbing and possible long-term damage such as receding gums and enamel loss.
5. Brush Your Teeth Three Times Daily
You’ve probably set out to get a new toothbrush — so use it! Brushing your teeth often, especially after eating, removes all debris from your mouth and ensures that your teeth are being properly cleaned. Regular brushing can also help combat bad breath and gum disease. You should brush your teeth:
- In the morning
- After every meal
- At night before bed
Be sure to brush correctly, brushing 2-3 minutes per session, and spending 30 seconds in each area of your mouth. Focus on brushing your teeth individually, not the general area.
6. Floss Regularly
We don’t tell you to floss for our health — we tell you for yours. Flossing is an essential part of your dental hygiene routine; it helps to rid your teeth of food before it turns to plaque.
Floss at least once daily, or after every meal, to keep your gums healthy and prevent cavities. Many patients avoid flossing because they’ve experienced bleeding gums. This is due to gingivitis or sensitivity due to poor gum health, so not to worry — the more you floss, the better your gum health will be, decreasing your chances of bloody gums over time.
7. Use an Antibacterial Mouthwash
Adding an antibacterial mouthwash to your regiment will increase your defense against harmful bacteria that reside in your mouth. Mouthwash gets into the crevices and soft tissue of your smile that can’t always be accessed with a brush.
Be sure to choose a mouthwash that has an ADA Seal of Acceptance. This seal is earned by products that provide scientific evidence that demonstrates the safety and efficacy of the product.
8. Watch Your Tongue
Like your gums and teeth, your tongue can play host to a variety of bacteria if it is left uncleaned. Kick germs to the curb by purchasing a tongue scraper, or a toothbrush with a scraper on the back. Not only can this small tool help remove bacteria, but it can also help improve your breath for a more in-depth hygiene routine.
9. Stop Smoking
Smoking can not only cause severe health issues such as mouth and lung cancer, but it can also cause discoloration and bath breath. Smokers are at a higher risk of developing infected gums, weakened teeth, and may also have a lower success rate of dental implants.
10. Visit Your Dentist Regularly
Many of our patients only visit the dentist when something hurts or feels wrong — but one of the most vital parts of your dental health care is going to the dentist regularly. This includes receiving routine x-rays and regular cleanings. Preventative dental care can help indicate minor issues early on before they become more severe.
Not only that, but visiting the dentist regularly will help you build a healthy and trustworthy dentist/patient relationship. Discussing your concerns will become easier the more you visit and trust your dentist.
It’s important to see your dentist regularly to keep your smile shining bright. When you choose Frisco's Dentists, we treat you like family. Contact us today to set up an appointment.