Our teeth serve many purposes. They enable us to chew our food, they help us form words when we talk, and they can be part of a beautiful smile. But those are not the only reasons to take good care of your teeth and gums. According to the Canadian Dental Association, untreated gingivitis – inflammation and infection of the gums – can result in bacteria making their way into the bloodstream. From there, they can cause all kinds of problems, including heart disease. Studies show that people with poor oral health are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes and pneumonia than those with healthy teeth and gums.
So how do we make sure our pearly whites and the tissues that hold them in place are healthy? Read on for our top eight tips.
Tip #1: Brush Your Teeth Twice A Day
Most of us already know this one: brush your teeth twice a day, preferably after meals. Why twice a day? Well, whenever we eat, the residue from your food combines with your saliva to form plaque, a sticky substance that builds up on your teeth. If you don’t brush frequently enough, the bacteria in plaque will attack the enamel on your teeth, causing dental decay. The plaque can also harden into tartar, which is one of the main culprits of gum disease. By brushing twice a day, you do not give the plaque the opportunity to build up or harden.
Tip #2: Floss Before You Brush
Brushing and flossing should always go hand in hand – but which one should happen first? Flossing serves two purposes: it dislodges food that has become wedged between your teeth, and it gets rid of any plaque that may have started accumulating along your gum line. It is best to start your dental care routine by flossing, then give the inside of your mouth a quick rinse with water before your brush. That way, you can be sure to get rid of everything.
Tip #3: Use The Right Toothbrush
If you’ve shopped for a toothbrush recently, you have no doubt seen the sheer volume of choice. It can be difficult to tell which one to get. Hard or soft bristles? Angled or straight? Electric or manual? The most important factor to consider is the bristles: for most people, soft bristles are the best choice. If you brush your teeth vigorously, hard or medium bristles could damage your gums and tooth enamel. Some people find that toothbrushes with a slightly angled head are better for reaching all parts of the teeth. The age of the toothbrush also matters: buy a new toothbrush – or a new toothbrush head, if you’re using an electric toothbrush – every 3-4 months.
Tip #4: Use The Right Toothpaste
Almost as overwhelming as the choice of toothbrushes is the choice of toothpaste. For most adults, a simple fluoride toothpaste does the trick. When the fluoride hits your teeth, it replenishes the calcium and phosphorus, keeping your teeth strong. For children, use a specially formulated children’s toothpaste with low or no fluoride, fewer abrasive agents, and softer flavours that children prefer.
Tip #5: Watch Out For Sugary Or Acidic Foods And Drinks
If you’ve ever complained that the best-tasting foods have the worst effects, you’re not entirely wrong. Ingredients containing sugar and acids can cause a lot of harm by weakening the enamel on your teeth. But a complete ban on chocolate and soft drinks can take the fun out of life, so if you do enjoy these things, consume them in moderation. Avoid brushing your teeth immediately after having a sweet snack, since your enamel will be soft and prone to damage. Instead, wait an hour or so to give that enamel some time to harden.
Tip #6: Protect Your Teeth From Injury
If you are engaging in an activity that carries an inherent risk of impact to the face, such as contact sports, wear a properly fitted mouthguard or helmet. In the event that a tooth is knocked out, give it a quick rinse and try to replace it in the socket. If this is not possible, store it in milk. In either case, immediately seek emergency dental care.
Tip #7: Only Use Your Teeth For Their Intended Purpose
The primary function of your teeth is to break down your food. Your teeth should never be used to open bottles, crack nuts, remove stubborn packaging, or untie tough knots. Doing these things can result in your teeth becoming damaged or broken.
Tip #8: See A Dentist Regularly
We have saved one of the most important tips for last: schedule regular visits with your dentist for checkups and cleanings. It costs far less to prevent problems than it does to fix problems that arise. At Art Of Dentistry, we offer full preventative dental services, including cleaning and polishing, in-depth dental examinations, and screening for early-stage oral cancers.
To find out more, call us at 416-927-7677.