Your mouth’s health is an important part of your overall health. Seeing the dentist regularly can help you keep your mouth and teeth healthy. And prioritizing oral hygiene can help you prevent serious problems like gum disease, tooth loss, cavities, and even oral cancer. So between visits to the dentist, where you get that professional clean, it’s important to stay on top of your teeth’s wellbeing. Here are a few ways to keep your teeth healthy between cleanings.
You may have heard that sugar rots your teeth. But that’s not quite true. Sugar is food for bacteria living in your mouth. That bacteria forms plaque, which then produces acids that can eat away at your tooth enamel. But no matter how you look at it, it’s still better for your teeth if you cut back on sugar a little.
We’ve all heard that it’s important to brush our teeth regularly. But twice a day brushing is one of the top ways to keep your teeth healthy. Timing is everything with toothbrushing. You want to brush for at least two minutes each time you brush. And time of day is important too.
It’s best to brush the last thing at night before bed. This gets rid of all the residue from the day, making it harder for plaque to build up overnight. And then in the morning, brushing before breakfast is your best bet, unless you can wait an hour to brush your teeth afterward. That’s because acidic food and drink (like coffee) will soften your enamel. That can make brushing rougher on your teeth than you want it to be. But whenever you brush, take your time to get all surfaces of your teeth.
If tooth enamel is the fortress wall protecting your teeth, fluoride is the mortar holding together the bricks. Your teeth use the minerals calcium and phosphate to build up tooth enamel. When you get fluoride from your drinking water or toothpaste, it adds an extra layer of protection that keeps your teeth healthy. Choose a toothpaste with fluoride—your dentist might recommend a mouthwash too.
It’s clear that plaque and gum disease get in the way of a healthy mouth. And smoking can make both a whole lot worse. Smoking reduces the oxygen in your bloodstream, so infected gums have a harder time healing. And it increases plaque. Smoking also is a leading cause of mouth cancer. By staying away from cigarettes, you can help keep your mouth healthier.
Flossing might seem like a chore, but it’s well worth the effort to protect your teeth from plaque. Brushing just can’t get all the plaque buildup between your teeth and under your gum line. So flossing is key to having healthy gums. It’s also the only way to remove all food residue from between your teeth. When you floss, it’s important not to just jam some floss in there and call it done. Take the time to scrape the side of each tooth and up under your gum line to get rid of the most plaque.
Sugar might have a bad impact on your oral health, but there are good guys in your diet too. Foods rich in fiber like fruits and vegetables can actually help clean your teeth while increasing saliva production. Saliva has an important job to keep our teeth healthy, delivering essential minerals that keep our tooth enamel strong. And a healthy diet helps set you up for whole-body health.
CHP is here to help make all sides of healthcare affordable and convenient, from toes to teeth. Make an appointment for your next cleaning at the Bozeman or Livingston dental clinic. Or take advantage of the emergency morning walk-in clinic for first come, first served care, right when you need it.