As we embark on a new year, let’s make 2015 the year that we vow to take better care of our teeth — and actually follow through on it. Unlike most resolutions we might make, taking better care of our mouth is not that difficult. It just requires a few really simple changes and relatively inexpensive “tools”.
Healthy Oral Habit #1 – Drink more water
This is usually a no-brainer when it comes to losing weight and being healthier overall, but there’s more to water than promoting digestive regularity and hydration. Water is also one of the easiest ways of keeping bacteria from forming on your teeth because it rinses food particles, and thus any bacteria lingering in your mouth away. It doesn’t replace the need to brush or floss, but it is part of an overall, thorough mouth-cleaning regimen.
Healthy Oral Habit #2 – Flossing
I’m sure we’re all tired of hearing our hygienist tell us how important it is to floss. The problem is, if our dentist and hygienist keep telling us to do it, why do we tell ourselves, “Oh, it’s not that important, I can get away without it.” By the way, it’s no secret to your dentist or hygienist that you haven’t been flossing. They can tell. Truth is, if you’re brushing only, you’re only getting your mouth 60 to 75 percent clean. The rest of the food particles and cavity-causing bacteria are in between teeth and potentially beneath the gumline where toothbrushes can’t reach and only dental floss can go. Most spools of dental floss can be purchased for less than $3 — a really small investment that can make a lifetime of difference.
Healthy Oral Habit #3 – Use teeth ONLY for chewing food
Our teeth are really strong. The enamel is actually stronger than bone, but that doesn’t mean our teeth are indestructible. Your teeth and mouth structures were designed for chewing food only, not crunching on ice cubes, fruit pits, popcorn kernels, pencils, pens, finger nails or anything else you might put in your mouth. Your teeth and mouth were also not designed to be used to open packages, parcels and plastic clothing tag ties. All these things can not only damage our teeth, but they can also do irreparable damage to your jaw joints, muscles and tendons.
Healthy Oral Habit #4 – Change your toothbrush at least every three to four months
If you don’t remember the last time you changed your toothbrush, it’s probably time. The general rule of thumb is at least every three to four months. Some toothbrushes even indicate when it’s time to buy a new one. If the bristles on your toothbrush start to “splay” — that is, they start spreading apart and don’t look like they did when you bought it, it’s time for a new one even if you haven’t used it for three months yet. It may also be a sign that you’re brushing too hard. Also, it’s a good idea to change your toothbrush after an illness. You can leave behind cold, flu and other germs on your toothbrush and you certainly don’t want to be putting that back in your mouth.
Healthy Oral Habit #5 – Eat more teeth friendly fruits and vegetables
What you’re looking for is fleshy fruit such as apples, strawberries and pears. These three in particular are natural toothbrushes, and strawberries have teeth whitening properties. Crunchy vegetables such as celery and carrots help clean teeth and stimulate gums. Broccoli and brussel sprouts have good doses of calcium and iron. Both these nutrients are crucial for healthy teeth and bones. You can follow up these veggies with some fruit. The vitamin C in the fruit helps your body absorb the iron, but stay away from citrus fruit since the acid can actually harm your enamel.
Five easy healthy oral habits to get you started on the year you finally take control of your oral health. Of course, these habits won’t do it on their own. You will also need to visit Choice Dental and Implant Center for regular check ups and instructions on proper flossing and brushing techniques, and any other questions or concerns you might have.