You’ve been told all your life that brushing every day and avoiding excessive sweets are essential to keeping your teeth healthy. Perhaps you already follow this advice. However, these are not the only steps you can take to protect your teeth.
Doing everything you can to keep your teeth in the best shape possible is important—after all, you rely on them every day. While an oral surgeon can typically replace a missing tooth if you lose it due to injury, decay, or another reason, you want to avoid losing a tooth in the first place.
Read on for some essential tips (in addition to brushing every day) for keeping your teeth healthy.
Flossing is a step many people skip when brushing their teeth, which is understandable—flossing takes time, and it isn’t always the most enjoyable experience.
However, it’s absolutely necessary. A toothbrush simply can’t reach all the surfaces of your teeth and gums. To thoroughly clean away bacteria, you also need to floss. Along with visiting your dentist every six months, flossing and brushing on a daily basis will help you to maintain the health of your teeth throughout life.
Dental decay occurs when sweet foods leave behind sugars on your teeth and other oral surfaces. These sugars can attract bacteria that eat away at dental tissue and gums. This is why it’s so important to brush and floss; doing so removes sugar and bacteria before major damage can occur. If you don’t consistently remove bacteria, it will continue to eat at your teeth and gums, which can potentially lead to tooth loss.
Luckily, brushing and flossing aren’t the only ways to remove leftover sugar from your teeth—drinking water also helps to rinse your mouth out. Staying hydrated, which is key to your overall health, is just an additional reason to drink more water on a regular basis. If you struggle with remembering to drink water throughout the day, buy a refillable water bottle that you can take with you anywhere. Having it on hand will serve as a constant reminder to drink.
Wear a Mouthguard During Sports
Even people who vigilantly maintain their oral hygiene can still lose teeth. A collision or a fall during a sports game is enough to knock a tooth out. Although it may be possible to save the tooth when this happens, it’s best to limit the possibility of this occurring in the first place.
A simple way to do so is to wear a mouthguard when playing sports. This minor investment could save you a lot of money on dental and oral surgery bills in the future. If you have children who play sports, make sure they are also wearing mouthguards.
Limit Caffeine and Other Stimulants
Remember: staying on top of oral hygiene isn’t enough to protect your teeth. You still need to see your dentist every six months. They’re simply better-equipped to identify problems you might not be aware of.
Teeth grinding is one of these issues. People who grind their teeth often aren’t aware they’re doing so. Unfortunately, over time, frequent grinding can cause major damage to teeth.
It’s best to heed your dentist’s or oral surgeon’s advice if they find signs that you’ve been grinding your teeth. Depending on the cause, they may suggest a range of treatment methods.
Also, some people who grind their teeth do so because they consume large amounts of caffeine or other stimulants. If you’re one of these people, make an attempt to cut back. You can start slow by opting for tea instead of coffee. While you may not need to give up caffeine entirely, you don’t want to consume so much that you put your teeth at risk. (It’s also worth noting that consuming too much caffeine is bad for your cardiovascular health, as well.)
Check Nutrition Labels
Though you may be limiting your intake of candy and sweets, you may not realize that you still could be consuming a large amount of sugar through your other favorite foods. For instance, many juices and similar beverages contain substantial amounts of sugar, as do many “health” bars and snacks. Because these items are often associated with wellness and health, many people are surprised to learn how much sugar they contain.
Keep this in mind when grocery shopping. You should always check the nutrition labels of any items you’re thinking about buying before making a purchase.
Most importantly, coordinate with your dentist and oral surgeon as necessary. Taking care of your teeth should be a team effort. By keeping these tips in mind and consulting with dental professionals, you’ll keep your teeth in the best shape possible for as long as possible.