Whatever your age, whatever your current state of dental health, it’s never too late to educate yourself about the importance of good oral hygiene habits.
Preventive dentistry is about keeping your teeth, gums, and mouth in good condition and averting serious dental problems. By following excellent oral hygiene practices at home and visiting Texas Grins for regular checkups, you will reduce the need for invasive (and expensive!) procedures down the road.
At Texas Grins Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry, we will be your partner in maintaining strong teeth and healthy gums. Call our Willow Park, TX office for your next appointment at 817-779-7111.
A Beautiful Smile Is In Your Hands
How you take care of your teeth day in and day out is vital to keeping tooth decay and gum disease at bay. After all, you likely visit the dentist only twice per year.
How to Brush Your Teeth
We know what you’re thinking: you’ve been brushing your teeth your entire life. What more could you possibly have to learn? Well, a lot. Brushing effectively is not just about going through the motions. Timing and technique are important.
- Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush (not hard or even medium) and fluoride toothpaste.
- Brush at least twice per day for two minutes at a time.
- Hold toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and take care to reach all surfaces of the teeth: fronts, chewing surfaces, backs. Don’t forget the gumline.
- Use short back-and-forth or circular motions.
- Brush your tongue, which may harbor damaging bacteria.
- Be thorough but gentle. Brushing too hard may damage your enamel, injure your gums, and lead to decay and gum recession.
- Replace your toothbrush every few months or when bristles begin to fray (whichever comes first).
Floss Like You Mean It
Flossing is important because it removes food stuck between the teeth, it stimulates the gums, and helps clean the teeth of decay-causing bacteria and plaque.
- Use about 18 inches of dental floss. Wrap it around your middle fingers and leave about two inches in the middle.
- Hold the string taut. Move it up and down between the teeth, rubbing it against the tooth surfaces.
- Curve the floss in a “C” shape around the base of each tooth.
- When you move to a new tooth, use a fresh section of floss.
Eat a Healthy Diet
What you eat and drink can have a huge impact on the state of your overall health and oral health specifically. Certain foods provide essential nutrients and help keep teeth clean, while others encourage the growth of harmful bacteria.
Dairy products are dental health superfoods. They provide your body with calcium, which a mineral that’s stored almost entirely in your bones and teeth and is essential for keeping them strong. They also contain caseins, which form a coating over your teeth that protect them from bacteria. Cheese has been shown to raise the pH level in the mouth — the higher the pH, the less likely you are to get cavities. Yogurt has good bacteria called probiotics. These may actually push out the harmful, decay-causing bacteria.
Eat your leafy greens. You can eat lots of them, as they are low in calories. They are an excellent source of calcium. They also contain folic acid, which has been shown to reduce gum inflammation and help fight periodontal disease.
Nuts are an excellent low-sugar, protein-rich snack. The act of eating them stimulates saliva production, which helps rinse the mouth of food particles and damaging bacteria.
If you are craving something sweet, reach for an apple. Apples (and other raw, crunchy fruits and vegetables) have high fiber and water contents. Eating them increases the flow of saliva in your mouth, keeping it nice and clean between brushings.
Drink lots of plain water throughout the day. Water rinses food particles and bacteria out of your mouth. Tap water is best. Most municipal water supplies are fortified with fluoride, a mineral that keeps tooth enamel strong and that must be continuously replenished. Invest in a reusable bottle so you can keep a supply of tap water with you wherever you go.
The bacteria that produce decay-causing acids just love to feast on carbs and sugar. Keep these foods to a minimum. Especially dangerous are sweets that are sticky or chewy in texture. These tend to get stuck in the grooves of the teeth, where bacteria will flourish and start wearing down the enamel.
Also avoid sweet drinks like juices, sodas, sports drinks, and flavored milks. These coat your teeth in sugar, which is difficult to remove completely. And diet soda drinkers aren’t off the hook. While diet soda does not contain sugar, it does contain high levels of acids, which will damage the tooth enamel.