Dental Hygiene Basics Everyone Needs to Know
Happy National Dental Hygiene Month! Many individuals refrain from visiting the dentist for a wide variety of different reasons. If you're among these thousands of people who don’t enjoy seeing the dentist, it would be wise to spare yourself the stress of frequent dental visits by taking better care of your teeth. When you have good dental hygiene, you can confidently visit your dentist for the biannual checkup without much hassle at all.
Here are four valuable ways to improve your dental health:
1. See The Whole Picture
When it comes to good health, you need to evaluate your dental health as part of the whole picture. Most people consider taking care of their teeth as a way to avoid toothaches and ugly teeth, but it's much more significant than that. If you're only evaluating your dental health for cosmetic reasons, you're missing the big picture.
Your mouth is the gateway to a number of other potential issues in your body. Many health ailments revolve around your diet, with a strong correlation between poor dental hygiene and obesity. Many people with diabetes also have a deficiency in dental care. If you're at risk of heart issues, you should prioritize taking better care of your teeth. An infection that starts in your gums can travel elsewhere throughout your body. One of the most serious health complications it can spur is heart disease. System-wide infections in your body are difficult to fight and if you already have an autoimmune deficiency, it can be deadly. Crowded or crooked teeth often lay the groundwork for gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss or infections.
2. Brush Your Tongue
While some people give their tongue a swipe while they're brushing, many individuals will avoid their tongue altogether. However, most of the bacteria that causes bad breath lives and breeds on the surface of this fleshy, muscular organ in the middle of your mouth.
If you don't like the feeling of using a brush, it is wise to try out a tongue scraping tool. You can always opt for the more advanced, professional tool or find a commercially available one at your local pharmacy. If you're struggling deciding which tool to use, ask your dentist for recommendations. The bacteria that live on the top of your tongue can be removed by the millions with a rough well-designed brush. Removing these bacteria will help you avoid halitosis and make your breath more pleasurable for people around you. You'll also find that your dental health will dramatically improve when there's less bad bacteria breeding in your mouth.
Combined with flossing, this can freshen your breath in ways you never thought were possible!
3. Drop Sugary Drinks, Coffee, and Alcohol
If you are really serious about improving the health of your teeth, you'll stop drinking beverages that have a negative impact on your dental health. Your oral hygiene depends on how often you flood your mouth with liquids that are bad for it. While a few elements of coffee can be good for your body, most sugary drinks and alcohol have a negative effect on your oral health.
If you enjoy drinking soda and can't stop yourself, you might want to consider trying out some sugar-free options. Considering most sugar substitutes are bad if you're trying to stay fit and lose weight, you might need to consider another alternative altogether. If this is the case, a flavored seltzer or club soda could be a good option.
For coffee fans out there, letting go of your favorite beverage might sound extremely challenging. However, if you're willing to consider no longer drinking coffee, you'll also have the added benefit of no longer having to deal with stained teeth. If you can’t eliminate coffee entirely, it is wise to at least consider drinking your coffee through a straw.
Alcohol consumers may be happy to know that you’re adding phosphorous to your mouth, which is actually a very beneficial mineral for health. However, alcohol can burn the edges of your gums and cause them to recede over time. The consumption of beer, wine, and sugar based alcohols represent common ways that teeth can decay without any sugary intervention.
4. Think About Vitamins
Like many children are led to believe, eating vegetables on a regular basis is very good for your teeth. Not only do hearty greens like kale and cabbage clean and strengthen your teeth, but you also ingest valuable vitamins when you consume them. You'll be cleaning your teeth while you increase the calcium and iron in your body.
In addition, it is in your best interest to drink more milk and calcium-fortified drinks to build up calcium in your body. Yogurt is another great option for strengthening your teeth. If you're diet is adding calcium and Vitamin D on a consistent basis, you'll be providing your body what it needs to build strong bones and teeth.
Vitamin B is another important vitamin to help protect your gums and teeth. If you have trouble while flossing or see cracking/bleeding, try adding more Vitamin B to your diet. This will improve the health of your teeth.
Other important vitamins and minerals include potassium, copper, zinc, and iron. All of these substances can help you maintain better dental health and cover the important nutrients you receive from vegetables. Whether you include a salad for lunch most days or you load up your dinner plate with veggies, if you’re willing to consistently eat your greens, you'll build strong, durable teeth to last a lifetime.
Dental Hygiene Can Be Easy
The more time and effort you put into your dental hygiene, the better oral health results you will see! As you're willing to take better care of your teeth, you'll visit the dentist less frequently and lower your dental care bills. In the long run, taking care of your teeth is a win-win.
If you have any questions about dental hygiene or would like to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced dental hygienists, contact Christopher Mucci, DMD & Meghan Campfield, DMD at (724) 539-3313.