Our Top 8 Dental Care Tips

By now, you surely know that’s it’s important to brush at least twice each day and floss once a day. But you may not hear as much about the following important dental care tips:

1. Limit your consumption of acidic foods and drinks

Acidic foods and drinks can cause tooth enamel to wear away, causing your teeth to become more sensitive and look more yellow. It’s best to reduce or eliminate carbonated drinks altogether, since they all contain acid. If you do drink soda, or other acidic drinks such as juices, use a straw. Consume acidic foods like fruit and pickles with meals whenever possible instead of snacking on them throughout the day. It also helps to rinse your mouth with water after consuming acidic foods or drinks.

2. Select—and protect—the right toothbrush

For most people, a soft-bristled toothbrush is the best choice. Medium- and hard-bristled toothbrushes can damage your gums and cause your protective tooth enamel to be worn away.

Replace your toothbrush at least every three to four months. If the bristles become frayed or worn, they won’t be as effective at cleaning your teeth. Rinse it thoroughly after brushing, and store it upright in a cup or rack. Cover the top with a cover that lets air circulate. That way, it can thoroughly dry.

3. Protect your teeth and gums with the right foods and drinks

Some foods and drinks can help you maintain good oral health. Your teeth and gums will benefit from foods and drinks that are high in calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin C.

Calcium and vitamin D help build healthy teeth and bones, and vitamin C helps protect your gums from infection. Dairy products such as milk and calcium-fortified juices are also good choices. The calcium in cheese will stick to your teeth, forming a barrier against decay-causing acid.

4. Chew sugarless gum

You probably know that chewing gum that contains sugar is bad for your teeth. But did you know that sugarless gum can actually be good for your oral health?

Chewing a stick of gum increases the flow of saliva in your mouth, which has a variety of benefits. It helps clear out food remnants and neutralize acids that can cause tooth enamel to erode. It washes away bacteria that can cause tooth decay. Saliva also carries calcium and phosphate to your teeth, helping to strength enamel. Especially if you can’t brush immediately after a meal, chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after eating can help reduce tooth decay.

5. Examine your mouth every week or two

Seeing your dentist several times a year is essential for good dental health, but in between visits, examine your mouth for any signs of problems every week or two. If you see any issues, the sooner they can be addressed, the better.

Look for any changes that might be cause for concern, such as sores or lesions, red or white patches of discoloration, or swollen gums. Check with your dentist if you have any areas of concern.

6. Clean your tongue

Bacteria can build up on your tongue, causing bad breath and other problems. Try brushing your tongue from back to front, reaching as far back as you can comfortably go without gagging.

You can also use a tongue scraper, a plastic or metal device that’s easy to find in drug stores. Just put the edge of the scraper on the back of your tongue, and pull it gently forward. Whatever method you use, cleaning your tongue once a day can help keep bacteria at bay.

7. Protect your teeth from injury

If you play sports, wear a helmet or mouth guard. A helmet is a must in sports that involve impact or speed, such as football, skating, and bike riding. For sports that aren’t as high-speed or high-impact, wear a mouth guard to protect your teeth, jaw, lips, and tongue.

Although it’s tempting to do it without thinking, don’t use your teeth as tools. If you use them to open packages, crack nuts, or to do anything other than chewing, you can chip or break your teeth.

8. Don’t use tobacco

If you use any form of tobacco, quit. Smoking or using smokeless tobacco is not only damaging to your overall health, it’s bad for your oral health as well.

Tobacco use causes the vast majority of oral cancers and leads to an increased risk of periodontal (gum) disease. It can cause bad breath, stained teeth, and a buildup of dental plaque. Tobacco use can also delay healing after oral surgery.

OPT-in Dental Advantage dentists can help advise your on your specific dental needs. Find a dentist today in your area that meets your specific criteria, and you’ll be on your way to better dental health.

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