Basic Care for Healthy Teeth

Keeping your teeth healthy can be as simple as following a few simple tips. However, even the easiest tips can go by the way side every once and a while causing bacteria and acid in the mouth to run rampant and cause cavities. The best way to keep your teeth healthy is by following the basic principles of brushing and flossing. Most people weren’t taught proper techniques on how to care for their teeth. By lacking this basic knowledge you can be doing a disservice to the health of your teeth. Follow these basic guidelines to proper care for your teeth and you will be smiling wider from this day forward.

1. Throw away your toothbrush- Toothbrushes, believe or not are a breeding ground for bacteria. Even though you rinse your toothbrush after you use it small amounts that aren’t even discernable to the eye may be left to flourish. Or bacteria from the surrounding counter or sink can come into contact with your toothbrush as certain points in time. Additionally, after using your toothbrush for 12 weeks in a row the stiffness of the bristles begin to wear down. Therefore you aren’t getting the same pressure to remove plaque and bacteria from your teeth as you were when you first bought your toothbrush. Therefore, it’s best to recycle your toothbrush every 3-4 months. This way you continue to get a clean, strong tooth brushing experience.

2. Visit your dentist at least twice a year- Dentists are the most knowledgeable people in regards to your teeth. Although, most people hate going to the dentist, it can actually be a great learning experience. Even though the dentist is there to tell you if you have been treating your teeth badly, they can also encourage you to have healthier, whiter teeth as well. Dentists can teach you how to more effectively brush and floss without making it a difficult process. Therefore go for a checkup at least twice a year and don’t hesitate to ask your dentist the really hard questions either!

3. Electronic toothbrushes- Much like many of our other gadgets, even toothbrushes have gotten an upgrade to electronic versions. In actuality, electronic toothbrushes are better than the regular manual toothbrushes. The reason- not everyone brushes with the same intensity. Some people brush too hard and some brush too soft. In the case of brush too hard, you can actually brush the enamel right off the top layer of your teeth. If you brush too soft you risk leaving bacteria and plague on your teeth, which can eat away at the enamel and cause cavities. With an electronic toothbrush it moves on its own so you don’t need to apply any extra pressure, just let the bristles move on their own. This ensures that you are getting all the bacteria off of your teeth, leaving you with a happy, healthy smile.

4. Flossing- Flossing is one of those things that everyone should do, but only a small percentage of the population actually does it. With the new flossing aids in the market now a days it makes flossing much easier. The old flossing methods made it hard to reach to the very back teeth. Floss picks can reach far in the back of the mouth and behind teeth. Make sure to properly floss by gently getting in between each tooth, going around each tooth and reaching behind the teeth.

5. Stop snacking and chew on gum- Snacking causes sugar to sit on your teeth. Bacteria in the mouth come to the teeth to feed on the sugar, which creates acid that causes tooth decay. By chewing gum, you stimulate saliva production. Saliva flushes food and bacteria off of the surface of the teeth. It is preferable to chew sugarless gum or gum containing xylitol, a sugar alcohol. Rather than attract bacteria, xylitol fights it making a good ingredient for gum chewers.

6. Toothbrush to go- With the advent of new flossing aids and electronic toothbrushes, there is also a new way to bring a toothbrush with you where ever you go. New mini on the go toothbrushes are the size of a tube of lipstick, easily storable in your purse and are a toothbrush, toothpick and breath freshener all in one. These disposable toothbrushes are great for after lunch, coffee or just as a breath freshener during the day.

7. Drink more water- Water is one of the consistent ways to continually keep bacteria and germs from resting on your teeth. Water flushes left over food particles and bacteria out of your mouth. Not to mention that water neutralizes the pH balance in the mouth making it less likely for acid to form. This means less cavities and a healthier smile.

Sarah Labdar, “Basic Care For Healthy Teeth”, Everyday Health