Which statement about oral health is true? According to a survey from the ADA, 61 percent of survey participants said that they use their fingernails to get food out from between their teeth and 40 percent say they use cards or folded paper.
When it comes to oral health, we can do a lot better than a deck of cards. Oral health says a lot about the overall health of your body. Neglecting your teeth can lead to infections, bad breath, and harmful plaque buildup.
Luckily, you can step up your oral care routine in just a few minutes a day. From what type of toothpaste, you buy to how long you should brush, rounded up some quick tips to try at home to improve your oral health.
1. See Your Dentist Regularly
Improving your oral health starts with a visit to your dentist. Seeing your dentist regularly will ensure your mouth is in the best shape possible. Book an appointment with Dentistry Thousand Oaks for a routine cleaning or to tackle any problems you may be experiencing.
You need professional teeth cleaning in order to keep plaque off your teeth. Plaque is a combination of food and bacteria that can cause gum disease. Your dentist can safely remove plaque leaving you with a fresh smile.
Your dentist can also address any tooth pain you’ve been experiencing. If you have trouble with cracked fillings or wisdom teeth, these will only get worse if left untreated.
2. Brush Your Teeth
The quickest and easiest way to improve your oral health is to brush your teeth. While this may seem obvious, you may not always brush your teeth for long enough. According to the CDC, you should brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes.
Brushing is important to help remove bacteria, plaque, and acid from your teeth that can cause cavities. For kids, consider using an app, an alarm, or an old-fashioned sand timer to help children brush for long enough.
When it comes to how to improve oral health, flossing is a must. Flossing helps to reach places that your toothbrush can’t. Flossing goes in between your teeth to remove food and plaque that can become stuck.
When plaque is left on your teeth, it can break down the enamel leading to cavities. When left in between your teeth and on your gum line, this can cause gum disease. Flossing regularly can lift these dangerous particles out of your mouth.
4. Use Mouthwash
To help improve your oral health, add mouthwash into your daily routine. Mouthwash can kill bacteria that can infect your gums and dental sockets. Using mouthwash also helps to prevent gum disease and gingivitis.
When you remove plaque with mouthwash, you’ll strengthen the enamel on your teeth. Mouthwash also helps to demineralize and prevent tooth decay. Add mouthwash into your regular morning and evening routine for cleaner teeth, healthier gums, and better breath.
5. Rinse Your Gums With Saltwater
If you have a problem with swollen gums, rinsing your mouth with salt water can help. Saltwater helps to reduce swelling and soothe red and irritated gums. To create the saltwater rinse, take one cup of water and mix it with ½ teaspoon of salt.
Gargle or rinse with the saltwater for a couple of minutes. Continue to do so as needed. Consult your dentist before you start a saltwater routine and if you have severe swelling or pain.
6. Rinse After Eating
Rinsing your mouth quickly with water helps your body clean your teeth and gums after a meal. A quick water rinse also helps to protect the enamel on your teeth. Leftover bacteria, sugar, and food are rinsed away.
If you’ve eaten highly acidic food, brushing right after can actually remove your enamel. This is where a water rinse may help take off some of the acids. When you’re traveling, use this hack to keep your mouth fresh in between brushes.
7. Don’t Forget Your Tongue
To keep your breath fresh and your mouth free of bacteria, remember to brush your tongue. Germs can build up on your tongue causing bad breath and even chronic halitosis. If you don’t regularly brush your tongue, you may be more susceptible to gum disease and illness.
During cold and flu season, it can be especially helpful to brush your tongue. Keep your tongue clean and you’ll have fresher breath while keeping germs at bay.
8. Brush Your Gums
When you’re brushing your teeth, make sure you also brush your gums and gum line. Gentle strokes help to keep food, bacteria, and plaque from building up on your gums. Keeping your gums clean will also help to fight inflammation.
If you’re only brushing your teeth, you’re only cleaning your mouth halfway. Your gums are just as important as your teeth when it comes to oral health.
9. Drink Water
One of the best things you can do for the health of your mouth is to drink plenty of water. Water helps to keep your body well hydrated, your mouth clean, and your immune system running smoothly.
Essentially, water is critical to almost every bodily function. Hydration is key to proper oral health as well. When you’re dehydrated you may experience painful dry mouth, a lack of saliva, and bad breath.
10. Don’t Smoke
Smoking increases your chances of having gum disease, stained teeth, and damage from nicotine. While e-cigarettes are believed to be better for your oral health, they do contain heavy metals and dangerous chemicals.
E-cigarettes and other tobacco products decrease the amount of saliva you produce, this can cause receding gumlines, loss of teeth, and bad breath. To keep your mouth and body clean, don’t smoke.
11. Eat Healthy Foods
Eating healthy does more than just keep your body strong. Eating healthy affects your weight, your blood sugar levels, cardiovascular health, and more. Fresh foods rich in essential vitamins keep your teeth and oral health in good shape as well.
When you eat fresh vegetables and leafy greens, you’re eating less sugar and processed foods. This will do wonders for the health of your teeth and gums. For stronger teeth, stick to foods that are rich in calcium as well.
Foods that help promote healthy teeth and gums include almonds, leafy vegetables, low-fat milk, cheese, and yogurt, as well as soy, and almonds.
12. Avoid Candy
Eating candy can do a lot of harm to both your oral health and your waistline. Bacteria actually feeds off of the sugar in candy. This causes acid to erode the enamel on your teeth.
This creates a deep hold on your tooth that can get worse if you don’t have them treated by a doctor. To avoid cavities, limit the amount of sugar and candy you eat. When you do indulge in soft drinks or sweets, rinse your mouth with water and make sure not to skip your nightly brushing.
13. Start Children Young
As soon as your baby starts to get teeth, you can begin to clean them. You can use a washcloth or your clean finger to rinse food particles off of their teeth and gums. As they get older you can brush their teeth for them.
Toddlers as young as two can begin to brush their own teeth with supervision. The main thing to keep in mind with babies and toddlers is to get them comfortable cleaning their teeth. Even if you only get to brush their teeth for a minute, it’s the ritual that counts.
14. Use Fluoride
When deciding on your toothpaste, make sure you choose a product with fluoride. Fluoride can be found naturally in seawater as well as freshwater. Fluoride helps to improve tooth enamel, prevent decay, and fight bacteria.
Look for a toothpaste that has 1,000 parts per million or ppm. Almost all the toothpaste you’ll see from commercial brands have 1,350 ppm to 1,450 ppm of sodium fluoride.
While there is some debate about children using toothpaste with fluoride, it’s important to remember that kids over the age of two can use it safely.
15. Don’t Ignore Tooth Pain
If you’re suffering from tooth pain, don’t ignore the signs that you need medical attention. Tooth pain can be debilitating. Whether you have a cracked filling or a loose tooth, call your dentist if you’re experiencing any pain.
Tooth pain can be a sign of something more serious such as an infection. At the first sign of pain, book an appointment to make sure you are treated quickly.
Why is Oral Health Important?
Oral health is looked at as a window to your overall health according to the Mayo Clinic. While you should always make your oral health a priority, dental hygiene can help to prevent gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath.
From brushing to flossing, and eating well, these 15 tips can help make sure your mouth is in the best shape possible. For more resources visit the health section for helpful guides, ideas, and news.