You just can’t say you’re living a healthy life with cavities all over your teeth. That’s because they’re part of your overall health. If you don’t have any cavities or gum diseases, maybe you’re far from getting treatment of any sort, at least for now.
But you shouldn’t slack on your oral health routine, prevention is still the best medicine any day. There are reports from the American Heart Association linking gum diseases to certain heart diseases.
Maintaining those sparkling teeth brightens your smile and gives you the strength to chew more delicious and healthy foods.
Here’s how to get your teeth stronger and whiter
- Follow The 2-2-2 Rule
Don’t know what it means? Okay, visit the dentist at least 2 times a year, brush and floss twice daily, and do it for 2 minutes. This advice is coming right from the American Dental Association (ADA).
And don’t say you don’t have the time. You have the time to chit-chat about the day’s news, and you have the time to binge-watch your favorite series, so you definitely can squeeze in 2 minutes to keep your teeth healthy.
2 minutes is the sweet spot because you may injure your gums if you try 5 minutes. When it comes to oral health, you should watch for the amount of pressure you’re applying.
- Use a Fluoride Toothpaste
There’s a reason why many of the popular toothpaste brands include fluoride in their products, it’s nature’s cavity fighter.
Fluoride strengthens your enamel (that white outer covering of your tooth), increasing its resistance to tooth decay. Still don’t understand? The plaque that sticks to your teeth in a process called demineralization produces acids that break down the minerals in your enamel. If this goes unchecked, you’d get tooth decay.
So fluoride serves as a cavity guard by introducing these minerals that strengthen the enamel. This is called remineralization.
- Brush Gently
When it comes to brushing, adopting a good technique is more important than scrubbing hard on the surface of your teeth.
I know you think over-brushing keeps your mouth clean but what you’re actually doing is washing away the enamel. Receding gums and cavities on the roots of the teeth are more signs you’re overbrushing.
Do this instead- get a brush with soft bristles, and be gentle while going up and down on those two rows of yours. It’s hard to manually track the amount of pressure you’re applying on your teeth but some electric brushes do come with pressure sensors so you can get one if that’d work for you.
- Replace Your Toothbrush
…At least once in 3 months. Seriously, assuming you’re following the 2-2-2 rule (and there’s no reason not to), you’d be using that brush 14 times a week and 168 times in 3 months. That’s a lot of use and since you’re dealing with oral bacteria, there are lots of reasons to get a new toothbrush after that count.
Firstly, the bristles get worn out after repeated use so they can’t effectively clean those hidden surfaces.
Those worn-out bristles can become sharp and pointed and that’s not what you want running through your gums.
And bacteria. Yep, there are over 70 types of bacteria living in your mouth and these guys can get deposited on your brush head leaving you vulnerable to gum diseases like gingivitis. In addition to replacing your toothbrush, flossing with bamboo dental floss may also reduce gum disease and prevent bad breath by removing plaque that forms along the gum line.
- Rinse and Gargle With Water After Every Meal
It’s not too hard to get the logic behind this. Once you’re done eating, they’d be a few food particles stuck somewhere in your teeth.
Bacteria begins to act on food that’s stayed in your mouth for a long time because they also need food to survive.
This continues and then plaque is formed, if it’s not removed you get tartar (hard yellowish deposits on the teeth) and then gum diseases.
Rinsing after every meal ensures that you’re one step ahead of oral bacteria, so they don’t have a lot to play with anymore.
- Cut Down On Sugar
Sugar doesn’t exactly cause tooth decay or cavities, but if you understand what goes on in your mouth when you take in those sugary snacks, you’d say it kick-starts the process.
Here’s how it works: bacteria feed on sugars to produce acid as a byproduct, so see the sugar as the fuel that drives the process, it’s actually called fermentation. These acids now attack your enamel producing those holes (cavities) in your tooth.
And that’s why you don’t need lots of sugar.
- Chew a Sugar-Free Gum After Meals
Except you have some sort of jaw pain, then there’s nothing wrong in trying out sugar-free gums.
The ADA says that the action of chewing itself increases salivary flow that can hasten remineralization. Remember, the acid-producing bacteria demineralizes the enamel. Now saliva contains minerals like calcium and when you start chewing, there’s an increased saliva production so your teeth get soaked in these minerals and the acid is neutralized.
And there’s also fresh breath coming your way with these gums.
- Quit Smoking
I know it’s difficult, but if you want your pearly whites to stay healthy (and if you’re an adult you only have one set to last you a lifetime), then it’s time to stop.
The use of tobacco increases your risk of oral cancer and causes tooth discoloration, so there’s no way you’re having that sparkling smile by smoking.
Smoking also causes inflammation around the gums, increased loss of bone within the jaw, and bad breath.
You can join various support groups to help you quit smoking and even ask a dentist for any medications and information that may help.
- Go On A Teeth-Whitening Diet
You need food to stay alive. So you can’t escape getting things in your mouth. But you can eat only foods that improve your oral health. Look at some ideas.
They contain an enzyme called malic acid that whitens your teeth.
- Apples and Carrots
They’d get you chewing, increasing salivary production in the process so those harmful acids get neutralized.
Beware of what products you use. There are many articles on sites like Pinterest giving all sorts of advice on how to whiten your teeth. Many of these so-called “proven methods” would make your dentist shudder! Often they involve the use of acidic fruits and abrasive minerals which can actually be detrimental to the enamel of your tooth. Always speak to your dentist first. If you are opting to use an at-home teeth whitening kit, always choose one that has been FDA-approved and follow the instructions carefully.
You can ignore your oral health. But you shouldn’t. Now you have 9 practical tips that work. So, get to work!