Keeping teeth and gums healthy isn’t just about having a beautiful smile. Tooth decay and gum disease can also have a dramatic negative impact on other aspects of a person’s health, which is why everyone should focus on adopting good habits. To that effect, this article will offer some insight into how people can keep their teeth and gums healthy throughout their lives.
Don’t Put Off Visits to the Dentist
One of the most important aspects of maintaining good oral hygiene is attending regular dental exams and routine professional teeth cleanings. Most people should be visiting the dentist every six months, although those with preexisting gum disease may need to have cleanings more often until they can get it under control.
Dental patients can see all services online before heading in for a visit, as well. Local family dentists offer not just preventative services but also restorative and cosmetic dentistry procedures that can restore the functionality and appearance of any smile.
Brush Correctly Twice a Day
Everyone has heard the advice that they should be brushing their teeth twice a day, so let’s get more specific. Dentists recommend using fluoride toothpaste, for example, which can help to reduce cavities. Unfortunately, many natural toothpastes lack this essential mineral. Switching to one that has it can help people who struggle with tooth decay.
People also need to brush for at least two minutes every morning and night. Trying to rush the process often leaves plaque on the back teeth where it’s hard to reach, which can lead to cavity formation and gum disease. Experts now recommend against rinsing after brushing, as well.
Don’t Forget to Floss
Dentists also recommend flossing once each day to remove plaque hidden along the gum line and between the teeth. Removing plaque from hard-to-reach places can help to prevent cavity formation. Flossing also helps people avoid gingivitis by reducing plaque and tartar-causing bacteria that cause gum inflammation.
Some dentists also recommend using a mouth rinse every day. Try to avoid the ones that contain alcohol, though, because they can dry out the mouth. Instead, choose a fluoride mouth rinse that will both wash away residual plaque and help strengthen the tooth enamel. When in doubt about what brand to choose, ask a dentist.
Cut Back on Sugar
Dental plaque loves to eat sugar, using it to produce the acid that causes cavities. Most people can even feel the plaque on their teeth after eating or drinking something extremely sugary. Take that as a sign it’s time to fit in an extra session of brushing and flossing.
Avoiding sugary foods and drinks entirely is an even better plan. Adopting a healthier diet that contains less sugar isn’t just about cutting out candy and sugary baked goods, though. There’s hidden sugar in many supposedly healthy foods, including sports drinks, juices, and some flavors of yogurt. Limiting them can help to keep teeth and gums healthy.
Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices
Sugar isn’t the only thing that has a severe negative impact on oral health, although it’s one of the most common contributing factors. Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol are also bad for the gums and teeth. Smoking causes tartar buildup, contributes to gum disease, and makes it harder for the mouth to heal, which can contribute to eventual tooth loss. Using chewing tobacco also increases the chances of getting oral cancer.
Like smoking, alcohol can have a devastating effect on oral health. Alcoholic drinks tend to be sugary and acidic, and even less sugary types of alcohol dry out people’s mouths, reducing saliva production and encouraging the growth of plaque-causing bacteria. Researchers believe that alcohol consumption may also contribute to higher oral cancer risk.
Schedule an Appointment Today
The tips above can help dental patients of any age improve their dental hygiene, and there’s no better time than now to start focusing on oral health. Whether that means quitting smoking or drinking, cutting out sugary drinks, or improving home oral hygiene routines, there’s no time to lose for people who want to maintain healthy, beautiful smiles.
Just keep in mind that no amount of home care can replace regular visits to the dentist. If it has been more than six months since that last cleaning, call a local dentist to schedule an appointment today.
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