Healthy teeth and gums are something most of us take for granted. But unless we look after our oral health on a regular basis, starting now, there may be problems in store later on.
Whether you want to maintain your dazzling smile or prevent a toothache, gum disease or other dental problems, oral hygiene is paramount. And did you know that healthy digestion starts in the mouth, with proper chewing? It’s not hard to see that lips, teeth, and gums are not just aesthetic body parts, but that essential processes take part here that can affect your health in many different ways.
Luckily, maintaining healthy teeth and gums is not difficult to do. Here are 5 tips that the whole family can follow, to achieve your goal in oral health.
5 Tips for Healthy Teeth and Gums
1. Brush and floss regularly
It has been shown that brushing your teeth twice a day – and ideally after every meal – is the most effective way of preventing tooth decay and gum disease.
American research figures conclude that 75% of teenagers have bleeding gums after brushing teeth, which could indicate gum disease.
Regular brushing and flossing help to get rid of plaque and food leftovers from around your teeth. Do keep in mind that acids in foods can cause tooth erosion, especially when brushing.
Dentists routinely recommend flossing as an excellent way to remove food debris from between your teeth where the toothbrush won’t reach. If you are one of the many people who ignore their dentist’s advice, think again and make flossing part of your dental hygiene routine.
Make sure you change your toothbrush regularly – every 3 months is a good rule of thumb. Bristles wear down and become less effective, and bacteria may build up around the brush head after time.
Electric toothbrushes are more effective than manual ones, so you may wish to spend a little more.
2. Cut down on sugar
Bacteria in the mouth are essential to break down food to be digested by the body. However, during the breakdown of simple sugars that are consumed in the form of food or drink, acids are produced that can erode tooth enamel and lead to tooth decay.
Soft drinks, sodas, and fruit drinks are a major problem, especially if they are sipped slowly and are present in the mouth for a long time.
The same goes for sugary sweets that stick to the surface of your teeth. It’s a good idea to help children adopt healthy eating habits by limiting their exposure to sugary snacks, drinks and high-sugar foods from early on in life.
3. Use a fluoride toothpaste
Fluoride is a natural mineral that’s used widely in oral health as it strengthens tooth enamel and can prevent tooth decay in the future. It also reduces the amount of acid on your teeth. Fluoride is now routinely added to most toothpaste formulations but not all, so do check.
You can also obtain fluorinated mouthwashes and rinses.
4. Have regular dental check-ups
Even if you have no issues with your teeth, it’s important to go and see your dentist at regular intervals for a check-up, every 6 months being the recommended frequency.
If your oral hygiene is exemplary and there are no obvious concerns, you may only need a routine visit every year or so.
Your dentist will conduct a full examination of your mouth, including the inside, tongue, and lips as well as outside on the neck and jaw. Often, dentists can spot things that the untrained eye cannot see.
Sores and ulcers that refuse to heal or unexplained lumps could be an early warning sign of mouth cancer. If anything unusual is found you may be referred to a specialist consultant for an in-depth investigation.
5. Stop smoking
No doubt you are already aware of the health risks of smoking, but it’s always good to reinforce the message.
Tobacco will not only stain your teeth yellow over time – not an attractive look – but tobacco consumption is also linked to gum disease and mouth cancer. If you are a regular smoker, think carefully about giving up.
The same goes for other family members, including children and teenagers who look to you to set a good example.
Follow these simple rules and maintain healthy teeth and gums!