Do you cover your mouth with your hand when you smile? If you’re embarrassed about your teeth, it can impact every area of your life. It may make you self-conscious in social situations, and it can even affect your employment prospects.
How can you improve your smile? It all starts with following proper oral hygiene techniques and seeing your dentist regularly. You can strengthen your pearly whites at any age with a few tips for healthy teeth and gums.
1. Floss Every Day
Did you know only 30% of Americans floss their teeth daily as they should? When you eat, particles of food get trapped in between your teeth. These scraps provide rich fodder for bacteria. When oral bacteria increase, you become cavity-prone.
If you don’t like the thin floss, opt for the thicker tape variety. This style won’t cut your gums. Wrap the floss around your forefingers and work it in between each tooth. Use a fresh bit to clean each gap.
2. Try an Electric Toothbrush
Electric toothbrushes help you remove plaque buildup from your teeth and gums, reducing your cavity and disease risk. Bacteria feed on the plaque, putting you at risk for cavities. One study revealed that using such a device reduced gingivitis by 11%.
If you have children, electric toothbrushes could encourage them to take better care of their teeth. Many little ones find the devices fun to use. Plus, you only have to replace the head, not the entire brush. Doing so reduces the amount of waste you produce.
3. Brush Along Your Gum Line
When you get gum disease, the presence of Streptococcus mutans can spell disaster for your heart. Researchers theorize these bacteria bind with your arteries, increasing your risk of a heart attack. Additionally, poor oral hygiene may increase your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and certain forms of cancer. Germs from your mouth cause inflammation in your brain and other tissues.
One of the best tips for healthy teeth and gums is to brush your teeth twice daily for approximately two minutes at a time. Take care to scrub along your gum line to reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease. You can sing “Happy Birthday” six times through to count. Don’t rub too hard or brush immediately after eating — both can damage your enamel.
4. Consider a Water Flosser
If you have arthritis, you might not floss due to finger pain. Don’t miss out on the benefits of cleaning between your teeth. You can find inexpensive water flossing devices online and at major retailers. These gadgets direct a strong stream of water between teeth with little effort on your part. While they won’t remove all food particles, they’re remarkably effective at eliminating plaque.
5. Eat More Cruciferous Vegetables
Consuming more crunchy and fibrous vegetables can clean your teeth naturally. They can help prevent staining from berries or balsamic vinegar. Plus, they help keep you fuller longer, reducing the urge to snack on sugary foods like candy. Take some carrots and celery to the office with hummus dip.
6. Use a Fluoride Mouth Rinse
What if you eat pasta marinara with lots of garlic sauce for lunch? You can freshen your mouth and help re-mineralize your teeth by using a fluoride mouth rinse. Look for versions that don’t contain any alcohol. This substance can dry out your saliva and boost bacterial growth.
7. See Your Dentist Regularly
See your dentist every six months for a cleaning and checkup. If you don’t have dental coverage, seek community clinics that offer services on a sliding scale. Keep an eye on the news — some places offer occasional free care. However, demand is high, so plan on arriving early.
Use These Tips for Healthy Teeth and Gums!
You can improve your oral hygiene starting today. Visit your drugstore, give you hygienist a call and make it a priority to take care of your teeth.