Tips for Keeping Healthy Teeth
—Captain Jack Sparrow
Jack Sparrow. He’s a mess. You never quite know what he’s going to slur next out of that mouth.
Speaking of his mouth, that thing is quite a piece of work. Captain Jack doesn’t exactly have a winning smile with that gold-capped grill. No ma’am.
That man is in serious need of an oral hygiene routine. Savvy? Yep, too bad Jack wasn’t so savvy when it came to those teeth.
Developing and maintaining a good oral hygiene routine wasn’t a priority for pirates. I think it’s safe to say that Johnny Depp takes better care of his real teeth. And so should we all, right?
If we want to keep our teeth healthy, it goes without saying that we must take care of them. Otherwise, it may be time to start saving for dentures. I don’t want dentures, do you?
It’s not just dentures that may be waiting for you. The effects of oral health don’t stop in our mouths. Nope. Poor oral health can bleed over into the rest of the body.
These problems include:
- Pregnancy/Birth Complications
- Cardiovascular Disease
Oral health is important and should not be ignored. It is necessary to follow a consistent, effective oral hygiene routine.
Keep reading for our best tips for keeping your teeth healthy!
Best Tips for Healthy Teeth
Many of us think flossing comes after brushing. However, it is more effective to floss first. It removes plaque, bacteria, and food particles from in between those hard to reach places between the teeth.
Floss at least once per day. It is important to grab about 18” of floss to get the job done. Wrap each tooth in a “c” with the floss and wiggle it up and down, all the way to the gum line.
Be sure to be gentle. You do not want to snap the floss in and out. Snapping the floss damages the gums and can cause bleeding.
Not only does flossing help to prevent tooth decay in between teeth, it also helps with your breath. Food particles hiding between your teeth can sit there and get smelly. So, removing that debris through flossing helps to keep bad breath at bay.
While there are many different types of floss to choose from, we like to suggest using The Charcoal Floss for cleaner, whiter teeth.
Brush Two Times Per Day
All the research tells us to brush our teeth at least twice per day. Find a soft-bristled toothbrush. Choosing a hard brush head to brush your teeth can damage both the gums and the teeth. It is too abrasive. Hard bristles can cause sensitivity, damage the enamel, or erode your gums.
When you brush your teeth, it is best to brush in tiny circles on the surfaces of your teeth. For the bite surfaces of the teeth, you can scrub back and forth, but never saw back and forth on the surfaces of the teeth. Using a sawing motion is very hard on your gums.
It is crucial that the teeth and gums be brushed gently rather than using forceful, harsh motions. If you brush too roughly, you will damage your gums.
The length of time you brush your teeth is also important. You need to brush your teeth for a minimum of two minutes each time in order to remove as much plaque and debris as possible.
Here’s one other tidbit you may not know. The American Dental Association recommends that we change our toothbrush about every three months. Every three months, people.
Use Fluoride Regularly
Fluoride has been given a bad rap in recent years. Many people have decided not to use it at all based on the supposition that it is a toxic metal. Further research does not prove that fluoride is dangerously toxic.
Many communities have removed fluoride from their city water supply. So getting fluoride through the local water supply is not an option. Studies have shown that a lack of fluoride can pave the way for cavities. Our teeth like fluoride. Research has shown that brushing and flossing will not prevent cavities if there is no fluoride used.
Fluoride is an element that comes from soil called fluorine. It has been believed by experts that fluoride helps to fight tooth decay. Hence the reason it has been used in toothpaste and mouthwash as a key ingredient.
Now, more than ever, it is smart to use toothpaste and mouth rinse containing fluoride. Fluoride is not in bottled water, it is not in well water, and it is not in much of our city water.
Truth be told, the jury is still out on mouthwash as an effective means to prevent cavities. The research varies in its scope …
There is research that indicates mouthwash is an effective way to improve oral health. It helps to rinse away food particles and bacteria that cause bad breath.
When you use a mouthwash that contains the antibacterial ingredient chlorhexidine, it will help to control plaque and gingivitis. This type of mouthwash may also rinse away the good bacterial flora in your mouth.
There are also more natural mouthwashes that contain essential oils. Many people have found these to be an effective means of keeping the teeth and gums healthy. No research suggests that natural mouthwashes are harmful in any way.
Regular Dental Visits
Most dentists have attended college for 8 years. They put in hours upon hours studying their craft and perfecting techniques. And they do it all so they can take care of your teeth. It’s their job to take care of teeth.
Why not let them do their job? If you won’t schedule regular visits to the dentist, they cannot provide their services for you.
It is the expert recommendation that we visit our dentist every six months for an exam. At your dental exam, you can expect to get x-rays first. After that, you’ll see the hygienist. A dental hygienist cleans your teeth.
During your cleaning, the hygienist will use an ultrasonic scaler to remove the biggest pieces of tartar. That will be followed by the use of a manual scaler to scrape off the remaining tartar near the gum line.
Next, you can typically expect some chalky stuff (that’s the technical term for polishing paste) to be used to polish your teeth after the scraping. You know what’s next, a little water is squirted in your mouth for you to swish around right before they suction it out.
Then, it’s time to see the dentist. The dentist will review your x-rays to see any penetrating tooth decay. She will do a hands-on examination to check for cavities, gum disease, or any other oral health issues.
How many smokers do you know with healthy, white teeth? Go ahead. Name ten. You can’t. I know you can’t.
Smoking is not good for any part of your mouth. It stains your teeth. It stains your tongue. It puts you at risk for gum disease. And it makes your breath smell horrible.
Smoking cigarettes and / or vaping wreaks havoc on the immune system. That means that the body’s ability to heal is affected. So, if you were to have a dental procedure, it would take longer for your mouth to heal.
Say NO to starches and sugar
Dentists have preached for ages about the dangers of sugar when it comes to cavities. Sugar is the feast of dreams for cavity-causing bacteria.
Just ask the kid who had five cavities filled in one visit. His poor mother was completely shocked when the dentist delivered the news.
She remained completely dumbfounded until moving the child’s bunk bed away from the wall. Upon moving the bed, a tiny mountain of candy wrappers were exposed. Mystery solved.
Moral of the story: sugar in bed = five cavities in the mouth & one angry mama
Sugar is obviously found in candy and desserts, but it is also found in many processed foods. The World Health Organization suggests that we limit our sugar intake to under ten percent of our daily calories.
In addition to sugar, starchy foods also contribute to tooth decay. So, be aware of this when eating pasta, chips, bread and crackers.
Both sugary and starchy foods have a tendency to stick around inside the mouth and convert into simple sugars. It’s those pesky simple sugars that bacteria love converting into acid. That acid will more than likely cause tooth decay.
Every fitness professional will tell you not to drink your calories and preach regularly about getting plenty of water.
A dentist will tell you something similar. Most drinks contain sugars or chemicals that negatively affect your health—especially your oral health.
Drinking juice, soda, sweet tea, and even electrolyte beverages increases your risk of cavities. It’s better to drink them very sparingly.
**For Babies, it is important to keep their gums healthy. You can use a warm, wet wash rag to rub away any sugars sitting on the gums.
Nothing replaces a good oral hygiene routine … except for dentures. That’s what you’ll probably end up with if you don’t take care of your teeth.
So, come up with a good routine of flossing and brushing, coupled with eating healthy foods, avoiding excess sugars, refusing to smoke, and drinking plenty of water.