Brushing and flossing daily are two things people can do to care for their teeth and maintain good oral health. But there are several other good habits that contribute to a healthy mouth as well. Review these five tips for a lifetime of good oral health and wellness.
1. Schedule regular dental exams
Seeing the dentist at least once a year is essential to maintaining good oral health. Twice a year is better. During a preventive exam, the dentist will take X-rays of the teeth and check for tooth decay. The dentist also will look for signs of gum disease, oral cancer and other medical conditions.
Don’t forget that dental experts recommend brushing teeth twice a day for two minutes each time, in the morning and evening, and flossing once daily. Research shows that about 70% of Americans brush their teeth twice a day. In contrast, only 33% of people floss daily and some never floss.
Make it easy to take care of your teeth with dental insurance. Most plans cover the cost of annual preventive exams and professional teeth cleaning. Insurance also helps with the cost of other services, such as fillings, crowns and root canals. Review eight tips to help find the right dental plan.
2. Use fluoride toothpaste
When purchasing toothpaste, you’ll notice that many brands promise different types of oral care. Choose one that includes fluoride to protect your teeth. Researchers say fluoride is a natural element that helps prevent cavities. A lack of fluoride can lead to tooth decay. If you aren’t sure which toothpaste to purchase, ask a dental professional.
3. Use alcohol-free mouthwash
Many mouthwash products contain alcohol, which can dry out oral tissues. Instead, use alcohol-free mouthwash that has antibacterial ingredients to control plaque and gingivitis to help protect your teeth and gums.
4. Eat nutritious foods
Desserts and sugary treats are yummy, but eating too many isn’t good for your oral health. Sugars and carbohydrates can mix with oral bacteria to form plaque on teeth and attack enamel. Instead, eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Make sure to include crunchy produce, such as celery, carrots and apples. These foods contain healthy fiber and require chewing, which helps remove food particles and plaque stuck to teeth.
Nutritionists also recommend limiting consumption of starchy foods, such as bread, chips, pasta and crackers. Residue from these foods contains sugars that can attack tooth enamel, causing decay. When it comes to quenching your thirst, the American Dental Association recommends drinking water or unsweetened tea during the day instead of sweetened beverages.
5. Avoid smoking
Scientists report that smoking harms the immune system, making it difficult for tissues to heal. Smoking also can increase the risk of developing gum disease. It affects the appearance of the mouth by yellowing the teeth and tongue and causing bad breath.
Sources and References:
Medical News Today
Total Health Care
University of Rochester Medical Center
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