Let’s start with an assumption that maintains the family history is the harbinger of what’s to come. Just because your parents and grandparents had to wear dentures, why does this mean that you will also have to wear dentures? Did you know that it is actually possible to preserve your own natural teeth throughout your lifetime? To help explain how this is possible, here are eight habits to develop for ensuring healthy dental hygiene:
1. Brush your teeth regularly and without fail.
We have all been nagged to death as kids growing up, “Did you remember to brush your teeth?” Some of us have even gone so far as to pretend to have done the deed just so we could answer that question in the affirmative. When you go for days without brushing your teeth, you will begin to be bothered by the material that is accumulating on them. The bacteria that form on our teeth from what we eat and drink feeds off the acids that remain until they eventually start to eat right through tooth enamel. Your first best defense against mouth bacteria is to brush your teeth regularly and without fail.
2. Include your tongue in your brushing regimen.
After you have spent a good two minutes carefully brushing your teeth, remember to include your tongue. Yes, it seems odd to go from the hard surfaces of teeth to the soft, squishiness of the tongue, but that is one place where plaque and bacteria love to linger. Therefore, the tongue can be the source of foul breath. You can be gentle when you brush your tongue.
3. Use a rinse or mouthwash.
It is easy to disregard the use of mouthwash particularly when there is little understanding of how they work. However, using a mouthwash is one of the simplest ways to:
- Combat acid accumulation
- Clean those hard-to-reach areas around the gums
- Help to re-mineralize the teeth
There are countless brands and versions of mouthwash available on the market. While some are best for children, others are targeted for those with sensitive teeth, and you also have prescription mouthwash available to you.
4. Drink water more often.
The debate rages on about fluoride in the water. Alternatively, many bottled waters do not contain fluoride. Where oral health is concerned, drinking water following a meal is a clean way to flush any remaining food particles without depositing more dangerous elements, such as sugars and caffeine. Rinsing or drinking water following every meal is a superior way to wash away the effects of acids and sticky foods between brushing.
5. Eat fruits and vegetables; the crunchier, the better.
Convenience foods are not as convenient for maintaining the best oral hygiene. Fresh, crunchy fruits and vegetables, on the other hand, provide fiber, which is excellent for digestion. Moreover, eating them works the jaw as well as stimulates salivation, which also serves very well to help keep the teeth clean. That is why after eating an apple you may often feel as though you have had a cleaning.
6. Keep the sugary snacks and beverages to a minimum.
Commercial marketing has done wonders for driving customers to consume copious amounts of their sugary products. You should know that sugar converts to acid within the mouth, and now we are back to bacteria feeding off the residue, which acts to erode tooth enamel. This is what leads to cavities. By no means does this serve to warn you against consuming them at all, but it is useful to understand how limiting consumption is better for your overall oral health.
7. Visit your dentist bi-annually.
If your visits to the dentist continue to prove you don’t need any work done aside from a regular check-up, clean and scrape, then you are doing exactly what you need to be doing. Your first best defense for issues that can show up at the microscopic level is your dentist. Your dentist can spot them and offer treatment solutions before they have a chance to take hold and do any damage.
Flossing happens to be one of the most useful actions you can take to get particles dislodged from between the teeth without having to see the dentist to do it. This is especially important where teeth fit more tightly together. There are numerous flossing products on the market to help in such cases. Flossing serves to stimulate the gums and reduce plaque accumulation. It also helps reduce inflammation.
There are misconceptions regarding dental hygiene that continue to impact each generation despite all the medical and technological advances occurring nearly daily. Partly due to historical fears or apprehensions and partly since it is easy to take our teeth for granted, it serves us all to understand the nature of what makes these bones vulnerable to destruction, often seemingly without notice.