You’ve probably made New Year’s resolutions about losing weight, saving more, and spending more time with your family, but have you thought about resolving to take better care of your teeth?
Achieving healthy teeth requires lifelong care. Even if there’s nothing wrong with your teeth and gums, it’s still necessary to adhere to proper oral care habits every day to keep problems at bay. These habits include using the right oral care products and being conscious of your daily habits.
If you want to start your journey to healthier teeth this year, you might want to consider making a 180-degree turn from the following habits:
1. Keeping Your Toothbrush Too Long
Do you tend to form sentimental value with objects like your toothbrush? Holding on to them for months can be risky for your health, as old toothbrushes are home to about 100 million bacteria like E. coli and staphylococci bacteria, according to research from the University of Manchester in England.
Dentists recommend changing your toothbrush every three to four months and sooner if you’ve been sick. Frayed and broken bristles are a sign that you need a new brush. Children may need a toothbrush replacement more often than adults, as children brush more rigorously.
Avoid storing your toothbrush in a closed container as this causes bacteria buildup. Allow the bristles to dry fully after every use before storage, or replacing the cap regularly.
2. Skipping Brushing Before Bedtime
Brushing at least twice a day may be common knowledge, but many of us neglect to brush our teeth before hitting the sack. Brushing before bedtime is essential in flushing out germs and plaque that accumulate during the day.
It’s a crucial step in dental hygiene that prevents tooth decay and gum disease. When you fail to brush at night, the bacteria stays in your mouth and creates plaque. It takes 24 hours for bacteria to produce plaque in the mouth.
Brush your teeth before bed and when you wake up in the morning. Do it for two minutes. Make sure to brush toward your gum lines and reach behind the back of your teeth. Afterwards, floss your teeth to remove all food debris before going to bed.
3. Not Brushing Properly
If you don’t brush your teeth long enough, chances are you’re not cleaning your teeth sufficiently. You may leave behind bacteria that might cause serious gum problems, including gingivitis and periodontitis.
Proper brushing outweighs timing. While it’s important to ensure you’re brushing long enough, what’s more important is that you make all surfaces of your mouth clean. When you brush, use short strokes, move back and forth against your teeth and gums, and around every tooth surface. Reach behind every front tooth (on the top and bottom) by holding your brush on the tip.
Avoid using too much pressure when brushing. Excessive pressure can cause abrasion of the enamel and gum tissue, resulting in tooth sensitivity.
4. Brushing Too Soon After Eating
While cleaning your mouth after each meal is obviously good, brushing too soon can harm your tooth enamel. It’s best to wait at least 30 minutes after eating before brushing your teeth, especially if you’ve had food or drink that’s acidic.
Food and drinks that are rich in carbohydrates and sugars can encourage the growth of oral bacteria that can harm the tooth enamel. Foods high in citric acid, including oranges, lemons, and grapefruit, can soften tooth enamel. Brushing immediately after meals may cause damage to an already weakened enamel.
Choose a toothpaste that contains fluoride (to protect your teeth from decay) and triclosan (to minimize plaque and prevent gingivitis). But before using fluoride toothpaste, consult with your dentist to ensure it’s right for your teeth.
5. Not Drinking Enough Water
Water remains to be the healthiest beverage for your overall health, and that also applies to your oral health. Drink a glass or two of water after each meal. In addition to hydrating your body, drinking plenty of water also helps in getting rid of sticky and acidic substances from food and drinks that can damage your teeth.
6. Not Eating Enough Fruits And Vegetables
Proper and adequate nutrition is vital in warding off diseases and it’s also an important part of preventive dentistry. A regular diet of fruits and vegetables can have a positive effect on your oral health, as their nutritional composition boosts your teeth’s protection against decay.
Research shows that fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes are a potent source of antioxidants and other nutrients that strengthens the body’s capacity to fight bacteria and inflammation. This mechanism improves your teeth and gum’s defence against damage and diseases.
Below are some foods and dietary habits that are good for your oral health:
- Crunchy fruits and raw vegetables including apples, celery, and carrots that keep your teeth clean and your breath fresh
- Antioxidant vitamins like vitamin C and nutrients from fruits and vegetables that strengthen gums and protect tissues from bacterial infection and damage
- Calcium-rich juices and dairy products fortified with calcium and vitamin D that promote teeth and bone health (to minimize the risk of tooth loss)
- Cheese to release calcium that combines with plaque. When this sticks to the teeth, it protects them from acid that triggers decay. Calcium also helps rebuild the tooth enamel.
- Fresh cranberries destroy the bond of oral bacteria to prevent them from causing plaque buildup.
- Green leafy vegetables contain folic acid, which keeps the mouth healthy and encourages cell growth in the body.
7. Bingeing on sugary and acidic foods
When it enters the mouth, sugar becomes acid which can damage your tooth enamel. An abundance of acids in the mouth leads to the formation of cavities. As much as possible, try to lessen your consumption of acidic fruits, coffee, and tea as these can wear down the enamel.
8. Not seeing your dentist regularly
Your daily habits all contribute to your oral health. But even those who are diligent in brushing and flossing their teeth and in eating healthy must visit their dentist now and then. Ideally, you should check in with your dentist for checkups and cleanings at least twice a year.
Your dentist can help you spot cavities and detect potential problems before they could turn into a dental emergency. They can also provide you with the best treatments and solutions to keep your teeth and gums healthy all year round. It’s best to visit your dentist more often if you have a history of dental issues like cavities or gingivitis.
For comprehensive dental care services in London, Ontario, visit Cosmo Dental Care. Our team of dentists specialize in creating personalized treatment plans for our patients and bring to the table the latest dental technology and accurate diagnosis for any dental issues you may have.
Call us today at (519) 659-2767 for inquiries. You can also visit our contact page to send us a quick message or book an instant appointment.