Having nice teeth is a matter of taking care of your oral health. Having bad teeth is as much about your habits as it is about your genetics. Good oral hygiene is important for overall health. Research has linked poor dental health with heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Maintaining good oral health isn’t just about having nice teeth; it’s also about preventing other conditions that can cause serious problems. Here are some ways you can achieve healthy teeth for life:
Acknowledge your own needs
Nobody else can know how you feel about your mouth and your teeth, what’s important to you, or how you want to maintain a healthy mouth. By educating yourself, you’ll be able to make the best decisions for your unique situation. For example, if you develop medical conditions like diabetes or heart disease, work with a dentist who understands these conditions and knows how they affect dental health and the way oral care should be provided. Also, let your dentist know if you’ve had any recent changes in medications or general health since your last appointment.
Establish new, healthier habits
It is important to have a daily and healthy oral health routine. This routine should include brushing your teeth, using an electric tongue cleaner, flossing, and using an antibacterial mouth rinse. The goal of this routine is to help maintain the oral environment and reduce the risk for dental diseases and tooth decay. To develop this routine, some people may need to adjust their previous habits. Altering your daily activities can be difficult and stressful, but maintaining good oral health is worth the effort.
Brush and rinse twice daily
Brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes, each session is an absolute must for achieving a healthy smile. If you want to get serious about maintaining your oral health, consider using an electric toothbrush. These brushes do a better job at cleaning your teeth and they can be programmed to turn off after the two minutes are up so you don’t hurt yourself by over-brushing.
Floss once daily
Even if you have veneers or braces, flossing at least once a day will give you the best results in terms of achieving healthy teeth and gums. Flossing allows you to remove food particles that brushing misses and reduces the chances of plaque buildup.
Utilize the proper tools for your mouth shape
There are many types of oral care products on the market today, so choose the ones that are best for your mouth type and hygiene needs. Make sure you’re using a soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head size, which will help you reach all areas of your mouth easily. For those who have dental work or sensitive teeth, try using a specialized electric toothbrush designed to help protect against gum recession and sensitivity.
Know your gums and keep them healthy
Healthy gums carry out an important role in maintaining good oral health because they help keep your teeth clean by trapping plaque and food particles between brushing sessions.
Go to the dentist regularly
A dental checkup is not just about teeth. Your mouth is home to many problems that affect your overall health, such as an upset stomach caused by poorly fitting dentures or a sore throat from an inflamed tonsil. Your dentist will be looking at all of those things — plus any medical problems you may have related to your mouth or teeth — during each visit.
If you have a denture for straightening your teeth, you should regularly go to an orthodontist to see the results of wearing the denture and to get the right tips you need for dental and gum care.
Choosing the right toothpaste
Choosing the right toothpaste can be a tricky affair, as there are so many options to choose from—from color to flavor to ingredients. However, you want to ensure that when you are making your choice, you are not swayed by gimmicks. Instead, focus on the most important aspects of toothpaste essentially, if it will clean your teeth and make them healthy. The most important thing to look for when choosing toothpaste is fluoride. This substance naturally exists in water and soil. It strengthens teeth and helps prevent decay by causing the outer layer of teeth to be more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria.
Brush after meals
Every time you eat, brush your teeth first. That will help reduce the acid-producing bacteria on the teeth that come from eating. This is extremely important if you consume acidic foods or drinks (for example, soft drinks, fruit juices, or acidic foods such as oranges, lemons, limes).
Snacking between meals adds more sugars to your mouth. Sugars left on the teeth are food for cavity-causing bacteria. If snacks are not possible to avoid (such as at work), rinse your mouth with water or over-the-counter fluoride mouthwash after eating or drinking anything sugary or acidic.
If you use tobacco products, quit
Smoking and tobacco products also accelerate age-related changes of the mouth, lips and cheeks, causing wrinkles, lines and creases. Cigarette smoking can cause bad breath even when you are not actually smoking. Smoking cigarettes and unbelievably using smokeless tobacco products put you at a high risk of getting oral cancer, cancers of the larynx, pharynx and esophagus tooth discoloration; gum disease; bad breath; and other oral and general health problems. The best thing you can do to keep your overall health is quitting. Talk to your doctor about how to stop using tobacco.