A Complete Guide to Good Dental Health
Having healthy teeth and gums is so important. They can often get neglected and forgotten about when we talk about being healthy, though. Not everyone knows that problems with the health of your gums can affect other health issues. Gum disease is related to heart disease so it is a major factor to look at. Having healthy teeth and gums also affects your smile and as a result, can affect your confidence. It can also affect how you chew and eat. If foods aren’t chewed properly, you won’t be getting all of the vitamins and minerals that you need. Your body won’t be able to digest the food as it should, so it can lead to even more issues.
For anyone that has suffered from an extreme toothache or needed a tooth to be removed, they will tell you that it needs to be a priority. The pain you can suffer with can be unbearable and makes it hard just to get on with daily life. The cost of having to fix your teeth can be large too. So first thing is first, you need to make sure that you have good dental insurance coverage.
There are a lot of insurers on the market so research and see what fits you and your family best. Thoroughly read through what they offer, like checking all of the dental plan info from Carefree Dental. Should any problems with your teeth arise, you don’t want it to cost a whole lot to fix. There are several companies that provide out-of-hours dental care for emergencies such as Express Dentist, and these will typically be able to accept dental insurance.
So what are the best ways to care for your teeth?
One of the most important ways is to make sure that you are using fluoride in your dental care regime. There is no need to go overboard with it, as there are traces of it in the water that we drink. We should use a little fluoride in our toothpaste and mouthwash. Fluoride helps to strengthen the enamel. This means that there is much less chance of your teeth decaying. Fluoride can cause white spots on teeth so although it is needed, it should be used sparingly. So watch for white spots on your teeth and seek advice if they occur. This is relevant to children in particular, as they should only be using a small amount of fluoride on their teeth.
The basics of good dental hygiene, are flossing and brushing at least twice a day. If you can find time to brush or floss in between meals then all the better. If you have had braces, you will know the importance of regularly brushing your teeth. There is no negotiation on this; twice a day is a must! If you aren’t able to brush your teeth in between meals, then think about chewing sugar-free gum. Chewing gum increases the flow of saliva in your mouth. This helps to wash away bacteria and to balance out the acid level in your mouth.
How long should you brush your teeth for, though? It is recommended to brush for at least two minutes. Then floss afterwards. If you have an arm injury or arthritis, you might find it hard to hold a toothbrush for that long. If that is the case, try using an electric toothbrush as you don’t have to grip and apply pressure at the same time. You could also pad the handle of the toothbrush out with something like a towel, to make it easier to grip.
You should change your toothbrush every few months. Try to aim for every three months. So have a think, how long have you had your current toothbrush? It can become infected with bacteria, however clean it may look to us. The bristles on it will become weak over time, meaning that they can’t clean as well as they should. You want the bristles on your toothbrush to be quite firm and straight. Then they can get into every nook and corner of your mouth.
Rinsing your mouth is an important part of your dental hygiene too. An antibacterial mouthwash will help to wash away any bits of food that brushing missed. It will also, as the name suggests, prevent the growth of bacteria in your mouth.
This is one that not everyone thinks about, but it is important to clean your tongue. One of the main reasons is that it helps to keep your breath fresh. Your tongue is also home to a lot of bacteria. If you are taking good care of your teeth and are in a good routine, it could all be wasted if you neglect to care for your tongue. If there is still bacteria in your mouth, it can attach to food bits left in your mouth and then affect your teeth and gums.
Are you doing all of the above things? Great. You are on to a good start and you should carry on. It is important to see where you are with things, though. Even if you have a good dental hygiene routine, problems can still occur due to other factors. Having regular dental check-ups is so important. You want to be able to catch any small problems before they become big problems. You should aim to have a checkup every six months. When was the last time you had a checkup at the dentist? Are you due for one? Better to be safe than sorry.
There are somethings that you should just avoid doing if you want to have teeth that look good and are healthy. Smoking is a big cause for yellowing of teeth. The tobacco in cigarettes stains teeth. As simple as that. It can also increase the risk of you getting gum disease or cancers of the mouth. If you currently smoke, consider giving it up. It will require a lot of willpower but it will help your teeth and overall health. Speak to a medical professional about ways that you can quit. They would love to help you.
Strong drinks like coffee and red wine can affect the colouration of our teeth too. Have you ever spilt red wine on a light coloured carpet or dress? The stains are so hard to get out. Think of your teeth in much of the same way. They are not indestructible and they do absorb the things that we put by them. If you know that you won’t be able to brush your teeth right away after having it, it should be avoided.
If you play a lot of sports, it could be worth taking precautions when you are playing, because if a tooth gets knocked out, it can be difficult to put right. It is even more difficult if the tooth gets lost out on a football field! Use a gum shield or similar protection for your teeth when playing sports. If it is a contact sport like football, it is needed even more. Don’t risk it!
If you do have a tooth knocked out, there are some quick ways to find an emergency dentist. You can use a site like EDUSA or the ADA website to help you get dental care – even on the weekends. For dental emergencies it’s important to get help fast. The sooner you see a dentist after having a tooth knocked out, the better chance it will be able to be properly replaced.
If you get stressed, you might wear your teeth down through grinding. This weakens the teeth and can make them more susceptible to decay as they are more exposed. If this happens to you a lot, you should see your dentist. They could give you a mouth guard to wear to stop this from happening.
You should try to avoid as many sugary foods as possible. I know that this is easier said than done, as sugars are in everything. But if we have a lot of sugar in our diet, it can affect our teeth. The bacteria in our mouth break down the sugars. This makes acids that can wear the enamel on our teeth. It erodes it and can lead to tooth decay. Sugary drinks can be some of the worst culprits as they just rush around every part of the tooth.
If you can’t quit sugary drinks altogether, it may be worth sucking them through a straw. A straw stops the sugar from directly hitting the teeth. A dentist would tell you that it is just best to avoid, though. Brushing our teeth and chewing gum can help eliminate the problems with sugar, but try not to have as much of those types of foods.
All is not negative, though. There are plenty of good things that you can eat or drink to help the health of your teeth and gums. Eating well is important at any age and for overall health. It gets forgotten that it can affect the health of your teeth, though. A balanced diet includes nuts and seeds, grains and fruits and vegetables. Some dairy should be included too, to give you the full range of vitamins and minerals that you need. Having the right things in your diet can help your teeth and gums to feel better and look brighter. It has also been reported that having plenty of healthy omega-3 acids that are found in fish, can help to fight against gum disease. The fatty acids help to reduce inflammation. So make sure you have plenty of lean cuts of meat and fish in your diet too.