Achieving healthy teeth takes a lifetime of care. Even if you’ve been told that you have nice teeth, it’s still possible to have them ruined once you start lowering down your guard. To make sure your teeth stay in perfect condition, it’s crucial to take the right steps every day to take care of them and prevent any future problems. Steps of getting healthy teeth involve getting the right oral care products, as well as being mindful of your daily habits regarding mouth hygiene.
In Indonesia, we have this saying that goes “lebih baik sakit hati dibanding sakit gigi,” meaning that a heartbreak is better than a toothache. If you have experienced a bad toothache, you will agree to this. When your head feels like it’s going to explode and all you want is to take a plier and get the bad tooth out of your mouth once and for all, the pain is almost comparable to giving birth (which I have done naturally and unmedicated, twice.)
Below are the steps you need to start incorporating into your daily routine if you want to keep your teeth healthy:
- Brush your teeth every night before bed. It’s no secret that the general recommendation is to brush at least twice a day. Still, many of us continue to neglect brushing our teeth at night. But brushing before bed gets rid of the germs and plaque that accumulate throughout the day.
- Brush your teeth properly. The way you brush is equally important — in fact, doing a poor job of brushing your teeth is almost as bad as not brushing at all. Take your time, moving the toothbrush in gentle, circular motions to remove plaque. Unremoved plaque can harden, leading to calculus buildup and gingivitis (early gum disease).
- Brush your tongue. Plaque can also build up on your tongue. Not only can this lead to bad mouth odor, but it can lead to other oral health problems. Gently brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth.
- Use toothpaste that has fluoride in it. While fluoride has come under scrutiny by those worried about how it impacts other areas of health, this substance remains a mainstay in oral health. This is because fluoride is a leading defense against tooth decay. It works by fighting germs that can lead to decay, as well as providing a protective barrier for your teeth.
- Floss every day. Many who brush regularly skip the dental floss. Flossing is not just for getting little pieces of food or broccoli that may be getting stuck in between your teeth, as Jonathan Schwartz, DDS. points out. “It’s really a way to stimulate the gums, reduce plaque, and help lower inflammation in the area.” Flossing once a day is usually enough to reap these benefits.
- Use the right tools. Flossing can be difficult, especially for young children and older adults with arthritis. Rather than give up, look for tools that can help you brush or floss your teeth more easily. Electric brush and ready-to-use dental flossers from the drugstore can make a huge difference in your healthy teeth regime.
- Use mouthwash. Advertisements make mouthwash seem necessary for good oral health, but many people skip them because they don’t know how they work. Schwartz says mouthwash helps in three ways: It reduces the amount of acid in the mouth, cleans hard-to-brush areas in and around the gums, and re-mineralizes the teeth. “Mouthwashes are useful as an adjunct tool to help bring things into balance,” he explains. “I think in children and older people, where the ability to brush and floss may not be ideal, a mouthwash is particularly helpful.”
If you have a sensitive teeth or want to purchase one for your kids, ask your dentist for recommendations. Certain brands are best for children, and those with sensitive teeth. Prescription mouthwash is also available for a more troubled teeth and gums problem.
- Drink more water. Water continues to be the best beverage for your overall health — including oral health. Also, as a rule of thumb, Schwartz recommends drinking water after every meal. This can help wash out some of the negative effects of sticky and acidic foods and beverages in between brushes.
- Eat more fresh and crunchy food. Ready-to-eat foods are convenient, but perhaps not so much when it comes to your teeth. Eating fresh, crunchy produce not only contains more healthy fiber, but it’s also the best choice for your teeth. “I tell parents to get their kids on harder-to-eat and chew foods at a younger age,” says Schwartz. “So try to avoid the overly mushy processed stuff, stop cutting things into tiny pieces, and get those jaws working!”
- Limit your sugar and acidic food intake. In case you didn’t realize before, sugar converts into acid in the mouth, which can then erode the enamel of your teeth. These acids are what lead to cavities. Acidic fruits, teas, and coffee can also wear down tooth enamel. While you don’t necessarily have to avoid such foods altogether, it will help your teeth if you start being mindful of what you put in your mouth.
- See your dentist regularly. While your everyday habits are crucial to your overall oral health, even the most dutiful brushers and flossers still need to see a dentist regularly. At minimum, you should see your dentist for cleanings and checkups twice a year. Not only can a dentist remove calculus and look for cavities, but they will also be able to spot potential issues and offer treatment solutions.
Some dental insurance companies even cover more frequent dental checkups. If this is the case for you, take advantage of it. Doing so is especially helpful if you have a history of dental issues, such as gingivitis or frequent cavities.
How many of the steps above have you incorporated in your daily routine? We hope this article will help you reach your oral health goals, and if you ever need any help getting in the direction, we’re always here for you. Get professional help at the nearest clinic and get those pearly whites in mint condition, once and for all. See you at our next article, and until then, stay safe and healthy.