Taking care of your teeth is one of the most important things you can do. Oral health is directly related to overall medical health for several reasons. The two primary ways good oral health helps you is in eating. Having functional teeth helps you maintain a good diet and that helps you in your health.
The other way maintaining tooth health helps you is by reducing bacteria. Oral bacteria is related to chronic problems like heart disease so reducing it helps the rest of your body.
Preventing Gum Disease
Gum disease is the number one reason for tooth loss. Gum disease doesn’t just show up one day. It develops over time when plaque builds up along the gum line. Eventually, it goes underneath the gum.
This develops into an infection that affects both your gums and the bone that holds your teeth in the right place. Gums may grow red and tender. Sometimes, they bleed. This is gingivitis.
Periodontitis is a more severe form of gum disease. This can cause severe bleeding gums, pain while chewing, and tooth decay with tooth loss.
How to Maintain Oral Health
The overall key to maintaining oral health is to develop good habits that protect your teeth. That also means reducing or eliminating bad habits that harm your teeth. However, there are five specific things you can do to improve your oral health and prevent things like gum disease.
5 Ways to Take Care of Your Teeth
There are five specific things you can do to take care of your teeth. They are all simple habits you can develop.
Brush your teeth.
This may seem obvious but brushing your teeth twice a day is the most important thing you can do to prevent gum disease and help maintain happy, healthy teeth. Pick a good fluoride toothpaste to use. That is crucial and you should use one recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA).
Even those who brush their teeth twice or three times a day do it wrong. You should use a soft bristle brush to gently brush teeth on all sides. Use short back-and-forth strokes along with small circular motions in brushing your teeth.
Be sure to brush along your gum line because that’s where plague and tartar start. Don’t forget to brush your tongue!
Flossing is where most people fall short. Many think flossing is tedious and a pain to do so they forego it. Everyone should floss daily as a habit but should also floss after eating certain foods that can get in between teeth like corn on the cob or meats like ribs.
The purpose of flossing is to remove plaque and leftover food that a toothbrush can’t reach. This leftover material leads to bacteria growth, which will result in cavities.
Using regular dental floss is the cheapest way to get the flossing done. All you have to do is clean between your teeth with the floss. You can also use the floss-picker product available in most drug stores. This is a plastic product where the floss is stretched and threaded between two points and the other end is a pick. The flossing portion is convenient because you can floss with one hand rather than use both.
There are other flossing products out there that work well. These include a pre-threaded variety of flossers and a water flosser. All of these will remove leftover food and plaque.
Eat a nutritious diet
This is a key component to good oral health as well as excellent medical health. It includes the obvious like limiting sugar but also includes adding some teeth-friendly foods to your diet. Things like apples, pears, carrots, and other fibrous foods can naturally brush your teeth as well as add nutrients to your diet.
You should avoid sugary drinks and that means looking at labels to find naturally sweet beverages without a ton of added sugar. Many people think fruit juices are perfectly healthy but some are nothing but sugar so look at the label.
You should also watch acidic foods as they can damage teeth. Tomato products, wine, and even orange juice carry a certain amount of acid. It’s not that you can never consume these but don’t over consume. Using straws for orange and tomato juice helps protect your teeth.
Smoking is terrible for your teeth. It causes stains as well as contributes to gum disease risk. It causes other health issues too so it’s something you should eliminate from your life.
Make routine dental visits
It’s important to keep up with your twice-a-year dental checkup and cleanings. Cleanings remove plaque and tartar that lead to gum disease. Regular exams will help catch dental problems early so they can be remedied before causing major problems.
You should also inform your dentists of your other ongoing medical conditions and medications you take. Medical conditions and oral health are closely intertwined so your dentist needs to know. Also, some medications can affect your teeth by causing stains and even teeth deterioration.
You don’t have to endure tooth problems because many can be prevented by simply following these five methods of maintaining tooth health. They are all simple and easy to do so there isn’t an excuse to forego them. Those who haven’t seen a dentist in a while should call and make an appointment for an evaluation right away. This can uncover any hidden issues that you don’t know about.
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