Having a healthy mouth and a great smile is not just the luck of the draw, it is down to good habits. If you’ve let your oral hygiene habits slip a bit over the festive period, then now is the time to address this situation and start the year as you mean to go on.
One of the main factors of keeping your mouth and teeth healthy is brushing. You need to brush your teeth at least twice a day, morning and night. However, it’s not about brushing them vigorously as some people seem to think. This hard brushing can actually damage the tooth enamel and gums. It is more about thorough brushing. Round circular movements, which cover the entire tooth surface, and then brushing gently along the gum line at a 45-degree angle are all important factors to remember. Brushing your tongue with a tongue scraper or your toothbrush is also beneficial as bacteria, and plaque gets stuck to the tongue. You only need to brush the tongue for a couple of minutes.
Also, don’t brush for half an hour after eating, as you need to give your saliva time to neutralise the acids that are caused by eating and drinking. Before this time, your teeth are at their weakest point and brushing can actually cause damage to the enamel.
If you haven’t already started to include flossing into your dental routine, then you really should start. Flossing is key to preventing inflammation of the gums, and bleeding, known as gingivitis. It also helps to prevent the spread of gum disease, which can eventually lead to tooth loss, often resulting in hefty dental treatment.
There are different trains of thought on whether it is better to floss before brushing or after brushing. If you brush after flossing, you are removing the food debris that you removed with your floss, plus flossing opens up your teeth slightly so the fluoride from the toothpaste can sit in the tiny gap between the teeth.
Give up smoking
Not only can smoking seriously damage your lungs and health, but it also has a big effect on your teeth and mouth. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Oral Health, ‘smokers are four times as likely to develop periodontal (gum) disease’ Also, using pipes, cigars and smokeless tobacco can increase the risk of oral and throat cancers and oral fungal infections.
Avoid grazing on sugary foods
Snacking on sugary foods throughout the day, even healthier snacks such as fruit, are bad for our teeth. When we eat these sugary foods the Ph balance changes in our mouth, and it becomes more acidic. This acid attacks the enamel on our teeth, and this acid attack occurs for at least 20 minutes after eating. The continuous contact the food has on the teeth can cause plaque to develop, which can lead to cavities. If you do have the urge to snack throughout the day, try crudités’, such as raw vegetables, which can help clean the teeth naturally. Unsalted nuts are also a good option as they are full of vitamin D and calcium to help keep your teeth and gums in good health.