Proper oral hygiene is about much more than maintaining a bright white smile. Sure, dental cosmetics are important to most of us, but good dental health is important to your overall health. In fact, many modern studies show that poor dental health leads to inflammation, and that can lead to a short lifespan. With that seriousness in mind, here are eight dental health tips that everyone should know.
1. Brush before bedtime.
There’s a lot of focus on brushing right after a meal particularly for people susceptible to cavities but as good advice for just about everyone. Dentists have gone as far as recommending having a brush and toothpaste on hand to brush at work and even restaurants. Even if you brush after every meal, you’ll want to brush right before you hit the hay as well. Your teeth and gums are particularly susceptible to cavities and disease while you sleep.
2. Don’t just brush—floss too!
The value of flossing cannot be overstated. Neither can the damage you do your teeth and gums when you opt not to. Unless your dentist advises otherwise, flossing before bed is generally enough. By not flossing, you’re feeding bacteria at a time when your teeth and gums are most susceptible. In addition, you run the risk of plaque hardening into tartar, at which point only a dentist can remove it.
3. Opt for an electric toothbrush.
Electric toothbrushes are way more effective at removing plaque than the manual approach. If you’ve never used one, it can take a bit to get used to. But the good news is that once you are used to it, it makes brushing your teeth well a lot faster and more convenient. The ideal electric toothbrush varies from one person to the next, so be sure to consult with your dentist.
4. Rinse with mouthwash.
Mouthwash isn’t just about warding off bad breath. Opt for a therapeutic mouthwash that can help strengthen teeth and even combat various oral health conditions. Rinse before bed after brushing and flossing, and you can rinse with a typical mouthwash whenever else you desire. Note that gargling has also been shown to stave off colds, flus and a wide range of other non-dental health issues.
5. Watch out for teeth grinding.
Many people grind their teeth at night without realizing it, and it can be devastating to your teeth. If the problem is severe enough, a dentist will likely recognize it during a regular checkup. However, if you ever notice unexplained jaw pain, torn cheek tissue, increased sensitivity, worn enamel or so forth, bring it to your dentist’s attention.
6. Don’t neglect your tongue and mouth roof.
Many people don’t realize that it’s just as important to brush your tongue and mouth roof as it is your teeth and gums. Not only does it help to stave off bad breath, but plaque can build up in those areas and do damage to your teeth and gums, and brushing those regions ensures that it doesn’t.
7. Drink more water.
Most people simply don’t drink enough water. If that includes you, drink more of it. In addition to all of the other benefits it provides your body, it helps to combat acidic and sticky residue. At the very least, you should drink a glass after every meal. It’s also a good idea to substitute juices, sodas and alcoholic beverages during meals with water instead.
8. Crunchy vegetables are great for your jaw.
Whenever possible, use steam and other cooking techniques that preserve a vegetable’s natural crunch. Not only is this kind of vegetable healthier for you overall, but it’s amazing exercise for your jaw. Additionally, it helps to remove plaque in a totally natural and healthy way. Many dentists recommend getting children used to eating like this as young as possible.
While the most important dental care arguably takes place at home, you should never skip regular dental visits. Such visits are an opportunity to identify issues before they become big health problems. Certainly, costs are real concern, but if you plan in advance, it is possible to take care of your teeth on a budget.