10 dental tips for healthy teeth and gums

With a new year comes new beginnings, and for many it is the perfect reason to kickstart healthier habits. Whether you’re hitting the gym or incorporating more fruit and vegetables into your diet, make sure one of your new year resolutions is to improve your dental health.

1.      Brush twice a day

Using a fluoride toothpaste and brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day is key to keeping your mouth healthy. Brushing once in the morning and last thing at night removes plaque, which is the leading contributor to tooth decay and gum disease. A lot of us might slack with brushing twice a day because of a busy lifestyle, but brushing is a crucial part of dental health and should be our first priority for healthy teeth.

2.      Interdental cleaning

Cleaning between the teeth is fundamental in maintaining good oral hygiene. Contrary to popular belief that we should floss after brushing, recent research has concluded that interdental cleaning prior to brushing is the best way to effectively clean our teeth. Flossing before brushing loosens any food debris and bacteria from the teeth, meaning the actual teeth brushing is much more successful in removing stubborn plaque.

3.      Limit sugary foods

It is fairly common knowledge that sugar is bad for our teeth, leading to tooth decay and even tooth loss. The mouth is full of bacteria and this bacteria feeds on the sugar we eat, creating acids that destroy the tooth enamel as a result. Cavities are a bacterial infection as a consequence of these acids, which can cause tooth loss if left untreated. To keep your mouth healthy, cut back on the sugary foods you eat, fizzy drinks, and fruit juices.

4.      Don’t rinse

After brushing our teeth, the next step is to spit out the toothpaste. It is important not to then rinse your mouth out with water, as the fluoride in the toothpaste will continue to protect your teeth even after brushing. Fluoride is the most important ingredient in toothpaste. It helps to strengthen the enamel and make it more resistant against decay. By not rinsing, the fluoride will remain on the teeth and continue to be effective in protecting the teeth.

5.      Tongue brushing

Plaque not only builds up around the teeth and gums, but also on the tongue, which can lead to bad mouth odour and other oral health issues. Brushing your tongue will help to fight bacteria and plaque, helping to avoid bad breath and prevent dental health problems.

6.      Cut the tobacco

Smoking is not only bad for your overall health but also for your teeth. As the leading cause of mouth cancer, smoking stains teeth and those who smoke are more likely to produce bacterial plaque than non-smokers, which is the leading cause of gum disease. Smoking also affects oxygen flow in the bloodstream, affecting the healing process of infected gums. To keep your teeth and gums healthy, cut down on smoking or even kick the habit altogether.

7.      Just use your teeth for chewing

For many of us it can be tempting to cut corners and use our teeth to crack nuts, open a bottle top or rip packaging. Although this might seem harmless, you’re risking chipping or even breaking your teeth.

8.      Don’t ignore toothache

If you’re anxious about heading to the dentist but you’re suffering with toothache or mouth pain, it is really important not to ignore it. It’s best to see a dentist as soon as possible, as the longer you wait the worse the problem could become.

9.      Don’t over-brush your teeth

Keen teeth cleaners might think the harder they brush their teeth the better, however, brushing too hard can wear down the tooth enamel. The tooth enamel serves as a protective barrier to your teeth, shielding them against decay. Particularly sensitive to acidic foods, wait up to an hour before brushing after eating sweets or citrus fruits, as the combination of acid and brushing may damage your tooth enamel.

10. Visit your dentist twice a year

Although many of us may not love going to the dentist, it is crucial to have two check-ups a year. A preventative measure, even the best flossers and brushers need to see a dentist regularly. A dentist can remove hardened plaque and flag up any problems that could become an issue in the future.

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