Besides the dreaded cavity, neglecting or not properly caring for your dental health can lead to other health problems. One very serious concern is cardiovascular disease. Some research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke could be linked to the inflammation and infections that excessive oral bacteria can cause. Certain health conditions can also impact oral health, including diabetes, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and more. For these reasons, speak to your dentist about any health concerns you may have.
Fortunately, achieving a healthy smile and happy mouth is fairly easy, and it can make a big impact on your overall health!
Tips for a Healthy Mouth
- Thoroughly brush, don’t rush. Most dentists recommend that you spend at least 2 minutes brushing your teeth. Some even say that doing a poor job of brushing is nearly as bad as not brushing at all – so take your time! Use gentle, circular motions to best remove plaque.
- Prioritize flossing. Many of us neglect regular flossing, but it is an important aspect of complete dental hygiene. Flossing not only removes food particles that brushing can’t reach, but it also stimulates the gums and helps reduce plaque.
- Brush your tongue. Often overlooked, plaque can also build up on your tongue. This can lead to not only bad breath, but other oral health problems. To remove it, gently brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth.
- Always brush your teeth before bed. While dentists often recommend brushing after every meal, brushing before bed is an absolute must. This way, all the food, germs, and plaque that accumulated throughout the day are eliminated.
- Drink more water. Dry mouth is not only uncomfortable, but it can put you at risk for problems such as tooth decay and gingivitis, so be sure to drink adequate water throughout the day. In addition, drinking water can help eliminate sticky and acidic foods and beverages in between brushes.
- Limit sugary and acidic foods. Acidic foods are often the cause of cavities, since sugar converts into acid in the mouth, which can lead to the erosion of teeth enamel. Tea and coffee can also wear down tooth enamel, so limit consumption.
- Eat certain foods for healthy teeth and gums. Calcium and phosphorous are the building blocks of tooth enamel, and therefore consuming foods rich in these minerals can help restore any loss. Good sources of calcium include yogurt, cheese, seafood, milk, tofu, and almonds. Good sources of phosphorous include pumpkin seeds, fish, eggs, and broth. Firm, crunchy foods high in water are great for a healthy mouth, as they help to gently scrub and clean teeth surfaces, removing plaque and food particles. Some top picks include celery, apples, cucumbers, and carrots. Foods rich in vitamin C are ideal for boosting gum health, as vitamin C can strengthen blood vessels and reduce inflammation. Good choices include bell peppers, oranges, kiwi, strawberries, broccoli, and kale.
- Visit your dentist twice a year. Even when practicing the best oral health habits, make sure to see your dentist for cleanings and checkups twice a year. Dentists can do deeper cleanings than you can at home to remove calculus, plus they can check for cavities and other potential issues.
So you see, achieving good dental health really isn’t all that hard after all!