Do you practice healthy habits for good teeth? When polled, 56.8% of American women and 49% of American men said that they brush at least twice a day. Even less floss daily. In fact, 18.5% of the American population admitted that they never floss at all! But new research suggests that the health of your teeth and gums can reflect the health of your body overall. Poor oral hygiene can even lead to problems like oral and facial pain, problems with your heart and other major organs, and digestion issues. If you’ve been slacking off when it comes to your oral health, schedule an appointment with your dentist and start using our healthy habits for good teeth, listed below. Your mouth will thank you.
Brush and Floss the Right Way
Brushing and flossing are the cornerstones of healthy habits for good teeth. If you’re not already, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing twice a day for two minutes with an ADA-accepted, fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush. Make sure your toothbrush is appropriately sized to fit all corners of your mouth, and replace the brush every three or four months for optimal cleaning. Both manual and powered toothbrushes effectively clean teeth.
Using an interdental cleaner like floss, dental picks, tiny brushes that reach between the teeth, or water flossers, can also help prevent cavities and gum disease. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states that flossing is “an important oral hygiene practice,” and therefore should be considered an essential component of your daily dental regimen.
Eat and Drink Healthy Food
Replenishing minerals through a healthy diet is one of the most important healthy habits for good teeth. You know that certain foods (those containing sugar or starches) can increase the amount of acid-producing bacteria in your mouth, leading to cavities and tooth decay. But did you know that eating healthy foods can reintroduce beneficial minerals to your mouth and help protect your teeth against plaque? Eat and drink more of these foods to boost your oral health.
Fruits and Veggies
Fruits and veggies high in fiber, like apples, carrots, and celery, physically scrub the teeth and stimulate saliva flow. According to the Huffington Post, “Saliva is the mouth’s first line of defense, because it neutralizes tooth-damaging acids, and contains calcium and phosphates that help rebuild minerals leached away by bacterial acids.” These fruits and veggies may also help you eliminate bad breath.
Water helps fight dry mouth and is the key component in saliva, your mouth’s first defense against plaque. It helps rinse away larger pieces of food stuck between the teeth without leaving behind a sugary residue. Some tap water even contains trace amounts of fluoride. So drink up! It’s good for your mouth and your overall health.
Milk, cheese, and other foods high in calcium, phosphates, and vitamin D help replenish these minerals, build up resistance, and lower your risk for developing tooth decay. If you’re vegan, no worries. Milk alternatives like soy and almond milk have just as much calcium and vitamin D as the real stuff.
Green and Black Tea
Green and black teas contain compounds called polyphenols. These compounds help prevent plaque from growing and producing acids that break down your enamel. However, large quantities of black tea can stain your teeth, so it’s a good idea to wash your tea down with water or brush your teeth immediately after.
Nuts provide numerous vitamins and minerals that help your teeth. In fact, WebMD says that nuts and dairy products are the best foods for your mouth. These include “peanuts (calcium and vitamin D), almonds (high levels of calcium that help both teeth and gums), cashews (stimulate saliva and help clean teeth) and walnuts (fiber, folic acid, iron, thiamine, magnesium, iron, niacin, vitamin E, vitamin B6, potassium, and zinc)” (source).
Teach Your Children Healthy Habits for Good Teeth
In the United States, tooth decay is the most common chronic condition during childhood. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that “untreated tooth decay can cause pain and infections that may lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing, and learning.” Starting healthy habits for good teeth early can set your child up for success in school and help keep them healthy throughout their lives.
In addition to brushing and flossing, using toothpaste that contains fluoride, and eating healthy, the CDC recommends talking to your dentist about dental sealants for your child. Sealants are thin coatings painted on your child’s teeth to protect chewing surfaces from cavities. Sealants block out germs and food during your child’s formative years and can be applied as soon as a tooth erupts, before it has time to decay. Permanent molars benefit most from this treatment. Your child will develop his or her first molar around six years old, so take action early!
Schedule Regular Checkups with Your Dentist
Visiting your dentist regularly helps keep your mouth in tip-top shape. It involves a thorough cleaning, and it allows your dentist to watch for developments that may point to other health issues. Plus, an oral exam can detect early signs of poor nutrition, development problems, improper jaw alignment, and more. At Wilkinson Dental, we provide an array of general and cosmetic dental services, including regular cleanings, crowns, dentures, teeth whitening services, and more. Call us today at 417-708-0556 to schedule your next appointment.