Your teeth and gums aren’t just important to your oral health but your overall health too. And whilst we all know that brushing and flossing are fundamental to keeping our teeth and gums happy and healthy, there are a number of other ways you can retain that pristine white smile.
As a family, it’s important that everyone’s aware of how crucial dental care is, which is why oral health should start as soon as your child’s first tooth appears. With a quarter of children developing tooth decay signs before they’ve even started school and with 50 percent of children aged 12 to 15 having cavities, these facts just reiterate the importance of starting early.
Alongside regular visits to your orthodontist and the regular brushing and flossing of your teeth, here are some other ways you and your family can enjoy healthy teeth for life:
Calcium isn’t just important for making your bones strong but it’s also vital for keeping your teeth strong too. Your bones and teeth account for 95 percent of your body’s calcium, which is why drinking milk regularly will help you to get that much-needed calcium. Or, if you’re not a fan of drinking milk, why not try tofu, broccoli, yogurt or cheese as these are also great sources of calcium.
Brushing with Fluoride
To keep your teeth healthy, it’s recommended to brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride protects your teeth by building up an invisible layer, which helps to decrease your risk of tooth decay. This helps to reduce how sugar can deteriorate your teeth and will make them more resistant to plaque. You may also find that you’re drinking water that is fluoridated, which can act in the same way as your toothpaste. However, make sure you’re not using too much fluoride on your teeth as this can create white spots on your teeth.
Eating an Apple Every Day
As the saying goes, “an apple a day, keeps the doctor away” so too is the same for the dentist. Because of their crunchy texture, apples help to remove the stains on your teeth by scrubbing them away. Whilst you are chewing an apple, the texture will work rather like your toothbrush, helping you to get rid of those stubborn stains that may accumulate over time.
Changing Your Toothbrush
Your toothbrush is designed to remove plaque from your teeth and gums but over time the bristles on your brush can start to wear down, which makes them less effective. You should try to change your toothbrush every three months or when you start to notice that the bristles are becoming worn. However, if you do suffer from a mouth infection, cold or the flu, you should get rid of your existing toothbrush and replace it straight away so as to reduce the risk of getting the infection again.
Avoiding tobacco in any form is key if you want to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Whether you’re smoking or chewing tobacco, the effects it can have on your oral tissues can be incredibly damaging. Not only does the powder in tobacco stain your teeth but it can also make them weaker, and, in more serious cases, oral cancer can be caused.
Wearing Mouth Guards
Even though sporting activities help to make your child fitter and stronger, their teeth can sometimes come under threat. One blow to the mouth can cause significant oral trauma, which is why many schools will now make sure children wear mouth guards as standard. However, it is also those other activities such as roller-blading and skateboarding that require mouth guards to prevent injuries. Many dentists now create made-to-measure mouth guards for children or they can be bought in sports stores.
Chewing Gum or Rinsing After Meals
Whilst brushing and flossing will be a regular part of your dental routine, it’s also a good idea to rinse or chew gum after you’ve eaten. Chewing gum after you’ve eaten helps to increase the amount of saliva that’s flowing in your mouth, which, in turn, helps to neutralize acids and wash any bacteria away. Equally, if you can rinse your mouth out after you’ve eaten, this can also help to reduce the risk of gum problems or tooth decay.
With the majority of cases of gum diseases and nearly all tooth decay problems being preventable with good dental care, there’s no excuse for not looking after your gums and teeth. By carrying out these few simple things each day, you and your family can enjoy healthy gums and teeth for life.
Amy Brookes works as a part-time dental assistant. Outside of work she is Mommy of 3 growing kids and enjoys writing for parenting blogs. She shares her knowledge from her career as well as tips she’s picked up along the parenting journey!