Most people rarely give their teeth and gums much thought unless they are having some kind of problem. As long as there is no pain and you can eat normally, everything is fine right? Of course, this isn’t even remotely the case. Plaque and bacteria are ready and willing to take over in there if you aren’t prepared to take the necessary steps that will keep them at bay. Healthy teeth and gums are far more important than most people realize, and poor dental health has even been linked with serious conditions like diabetes, heart disease, respiratory infections and even breast cancer. Learning how to maintain healthy teeth and gums and actually putting it into practice on a regular basis are your keys to success.
Regular Brushing Everyone knows that regular tooth brushing is one of the keys to keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Brushing your teeth removes plaque from the surface of your teeth. Plaque is basically a film of bacteria that sticks to the teeth that you don’t want sticking to yours.
If you consistently have plaque clinging to your teeth, thelikelihood of getting cavities is increased. The acids that areproduced when the food you eat comes in contact with theplaque are what create the cavities. Brush your teeth at leasttwo times a day, and follow these basic steps: Use a soft bristled toothbrush, and add a small, pea- sized amount of toothpaste in the center of the head. Hold the toothbrush with a loose, comfortable grip and place it against your teeth. The head should be at a 45- degree angle to your gum line. Use small, circular motions to move the bristles over your teeth. Only use the tips of the bristles to clean your teeth, and make sure they stay in contact with your gum line.
Brush one tooth at a time, and allow the bristles to reach in between each tooth. Clean all sides of each tooth with the same circular motion. Change the angle of the brush slightly to reach each surface. Continue brushing for two to three minutes, then gently brush your tongue with a few strokes from back to front. Rinse your mouth out with fresh water, and you’re done. Keep an eye on your toothbrush, and replace it every two tothree months, or as the bristles start to show some wear. If youuse an electric toothbrush, replace the head every fewmonths.
Regular FlossingFlossing is another important step in keeping your teeth and gums healthy.Ideally, you should floss your teeth once per day. Flossing helps to removeplaque and food particles that are lodged between your teeth, where thetoothbrush can’t reach.Here’s how to floss properly and prevent that plaque from hardening and turninginto tartar. Pull out a section of floss from the dispenser that’s roughly 18-inches long. Hold the piece of floss by the ends, and wrap them around the middle finger of each hand. Leave around one-inch of floss for the actual flossing. Start with the top teeth and use your index fingers to guide the floss in between your teeth. Use caution when pushing it in, so you don’t injure your gums. Create a c-shape with the floss around each tooth and move it up and down along the tooth and against the gum line. Do the bottom teeth once you’re finished the top, and don’t forget to floss behind the back teeth.
Dentist Appointments Regular dentist visits are a must if you want to maintain healthy teeth and gums over the long term. You want to get to the dentist once every six months for a professional cleaning and check- up. No matter how much you brush and floss, you aren’t going to get everything. Of course, the six month dental visit interval applies if everything is going well. If you are having pain, bleeding, swelling or any other problems it’s important to make an appointment and go have it checked out.
Eating Right What you put into your body on a regular basis has an impact on your teeth and gums, as well as on the rest of your body. Foods that contain high amounts of starches and sugars typically produce the most acids in your mouth and will subsequently lead to more cavities. Things like hard candies that you suck on for a prolonged period of time may be especially damaging. Eating a variety of food that helps to clean your teeth as you eat it. Crisp foods like raw carrots, apples or celery will help to clean off the surface of your teeth. If you know you can’t brush for awhile after eating, consider making one of these the last thing you eat. Try to limit your intake of sugary snack foods, potato chips, crackers and sugary gum, especially if you aren’t able to brush immediately afterward.
Drink Water Drinking clean water regularly throughout the day helps to keep your body and skin hydrated, but it also helps your teeth and gums. When you drink water, you’re flushing bacteria off the surface of our teeth and gums and right out of your mouth. Fewer bacteria mean fewer cavities, which is good news for everyone.