Anything that’s worth doing takes work, and that is especially true about dental hygiene. Tooth decay is a natural response to a dirty mouth, and improper oral care can lead to a host of irreversible problems. Great-looking teeth don’t happen overnight, and you’ll have to take charge of your health if you want to keep your chompers looking classy. That’s why at Smile Design Dental, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of 10 tips for a healthier smile.
Our patients in the Broward County area know they can trust Smile Design Dental to provide the best oral care around. With offices in Coral Springs, Fort Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, Margate, and Plantation, FL, our dentists and clinicians are available to help you make the best choices about your health. Contact us to schedule a consultation about your oral care needs today.
1: Brush Twice a Day
Ever since you were a kid doctors, parents, dentists, and nurses have been telling you to brush twice a day, every day. Some even recommend brushing after every meal. To most children (and sadly, many adults), all this time spent slathering toothpaste over teeth and gums is just a big waste. And twice a day, or after every meal? No one has room in their schedule for that!
In truth, patients need to make brushing a priority. Actively removing tartar and plaque from teeth, using your toothbrush is one of the most important things you can do. Bacteria will begin to consume that leftover food, turning it into acids that eat away at the enamel. This leaves room for cavities to form and grow, meaning a lot more work for your dentist and a lot more trouble for you!
2: Floss Daily
To many patients, young and old alike, there’s nothing worse than flossing. Sliding a string through tooth gaps and scraping it against gums is few people’s ideas of a good time. For some, brushing several times a day is enough. Others think that mouthwash is an adequate substitute. Others just don’t like the inconvenience of it all, especially when dealing with gross spooled dental floss.
Thankfully, there have been strides to make flossing much easier. It is essential to get between teeth to remove plaque and meal remnants since bacteria will take advantage of food no matter where it hides. Brushing can’t get between teeth, letting decay get a foothold unless you can take care of it with floss. Using tools like flossing sticks and water picks take some of the gross-factor away and make it even easier to handle this off-putting oral activity.
3: Mineral Treatments Are Your Friend
Misinformation abounds about mineral treatments, but one thing is for certain. It helps protect teeth against cavities. Many cities and towns add minerals to the water in an attempt to help their citizens keep tooth decay at bay. Studies have shown it can be a very effective tool.
Choose a toothpaste with fluoride as an added ingredient, and there are also special at-home coating options if you have teeth with softer enamel. Patients Using well water should mention this fact to their clinicians. This lets your dentist know you the family isn’t getting those added doses so supplements may be needed.
4: Pay Attention to your Toothbrush
Not every toothbrush is the same. When you’re choosing your polisher, make sure you opt for a high-quality brand with softer bristles. Medium and firm toothbrushes have a habit of scratching teeth and causing gums to recede. Also, while it doesn’t need any special cleaning, you don’t want to put a dirty toothbrush into your mouth. Wash off any extra toothpaste and let it air dry for the best results.
You can also invest a little more in your oral care by purchasing an electric toothbrush. These usually have removable heads with soft, rotating bristles that clean plaque away much better than unpowered models. In addition, many new brands have extra settings for whitening and sensitive teeth, too.
5: Brush Your Tongue
After you’ve finished polishing your pearly whites, take a few seconds to clean off your tongue. The area is a perfect spot for bacteria to hide, and can actually coat your tastebuds. Brushing your tongue not only cleans that cavity-causing crud away but will also help you enjoy your food more.
Bacteria isn’t just hanging around causing cavities. It is one of the primary contributors of bad breath. If using your toothbrush on your tongue gives you pause, you may want to invest in a scraper. This simple tool helps to clean gunk away, leaving your breath fresh and your mouth feeling that much cleaner.
6: Drink Plenty of Water
Staying hydrated isn’t just good for your body. Saliva production counts on those reserves staying full, and dry mouth gives bacteria room to flourish. Clean, cool water is also great for rinsing away plaque and food particles that may have gotten trapped. City water generally has fluoride in it as well, which will help strengthen and protect the enamel from cavities.
7: Teeth, Not Tools
Many a beer buff has lost their bottle opener and turned to their teeth to access their alcohol. These attempts usually end up with a trip to the dentists for tooth repair. Even bad habits like nail-biting or chewing on pen caps can leave you with damaged dentition. Abusing your mouth may lead to costly accidents such as chipped incisors or missing teeth.
Hard foods such as cold carrots and apples may also pose a problem for some patients. These can add stress to your front teeth, chipping or even breaking them. Chop up these foods into bite-sized pieces and let molars handle the crushing, and you’ll get all of the tooth-cleaning benefits of high-fiber foods such as those to provide as well.
8: Abstain from Foods that Stain
Drinking coffee may be the go-to method for jump-starting your day, but most people know there is a significant drawback to the King of Caffeine. Dark beverages including coffee, tea, and wine are known for staining teeth. Initially, this staining may be superficial, but continued consumption tends to cause deeper discoloration that is more difficult to draw out.
A great workaround is to drink through a straw since that will allow liquids to bypass the teeth entirely. While it may be an option for the soda and iced coffee crowd, wine enthusiasts might want to try an alternative. If a straw is not subtle enough, simply drink some water post-chardonnay to rinse your teeth clean of any remaining liquid.
9: Be Wary of Tooth Whiteners
Over-the-counter whitening products are a great draw for patients who are looking to bring that pearly glow back to their smile. From toothpaste to bleach pens, the variety of options can be overwhelming. Specific types work well when working on specific areas, such as whitening pens being great for spot applications and toothpaste helping with surface stains caused by coffee and tea.
Patients should avoid whiteners that use hydrogen peroxide for long treatments. Strips that include this ingredient have been found to negatively interact with teeth at the layer below the enamel. This second layer is made mainly of collagen that breaks down when exposed to hydrogen peroxide, which may lead to significant damage over time.
10: Say Sayonara to Sugary Drinks
One of the best tips for a healthier smile is to stop drinking sodas and juices. The bacteria that cause bad breath and tooth decay feed off of sugar, turning it into acid. This acid then eats away at tooth enamel, causing tooth decay. Sugary foods in general are bad for your oral health, but soda and juice are even worse.
When you or your family consumes drinks with high sugar content, the liquid stays in your mouth and gets between and all-around your teeth. Juice has a lot of sugars, and sodas also contain carbonation which has acidic properties as well. Athletes are at particular risk since the sports drinks many teams rely on to replenish electrolytes also contain unhealthy amounts of sugar, too. Stick to water as a thirst quencher and your body will thank you for it.
Visit Your Dentist Regularly
As a bonus tip for a glowing grin, remember to keep your dental appointments. Dentists and clinicians are trained to spot minor issues before they become major problems. You may follow every tip on this list but may still be at risk or have problems that just can’t be seen. Keeping a biannual schedule helps to ensure your teeth are staying clean and getting the best preventative care possible.
Your oral health is very important to us at Smile Design Dental. Keep these suggestions in mind as you work on instilling proper oral hygiene habits with your loved ones. For more advice on oral care and dental treatments, call us right away. Our staff is ready to help you work on having the self-confidence and happiness that only a beautiful smile can provide!