We all want to keep our teeth healthy and beautiful, and do our best to stick to our daily brushing habits (and sometimes flossing, if we’re honest). But in our hectic daily lives, trying to be more intentional about our dental care can seem exhausting, distracting, and limiting.
What we don’t often realize is that good at-home oral care doesn’t have to be complicated. A tweak here, a tip there – a smarter choice, even once in a while, can have lasting benefits for your smile. Here are seven simple things you can do to help your teeth and gums last a lifetime.
Retire Your Old Toothbrush
Like everything else, a toothbrush is not eternal. Constant use wears down the bristles, and over time, it becomes more and more exposed to dangerous bacteria (especially if you’ve recently been sick).
You can easily tell when your brush is past its prime if the bristles are fraying or losing color. If you’ve had that brush for three months or more, it’s time to say farewell.
Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking water has two major benefits. First, it helps reduce the abundance of bacteria in your mouth, which thrive in a dry environment. Secondly, staying hydrated reduces the likelihood of you satiating your thirst with a sugary soda, lemonade, or other unhealthy drink.
Use Scissors, Not Your Teeth
Your teeth are capable of a lot, but unless you want to call the dentist about a cracked tooth, resist the temptation to use them as tools. Using your teeth to crunch, cut, or tear things puts them in an unnatural position, causing unique strain that can lead to fractures. Crunching on ice cubes is by far the most dangerous, as the cold plus the hardness makes your teeth doubly vulnerable to cracking.
Kick That Tobacco Habit
On top of all the other health problems tobacco causes, it’s a serious bummer for your teeth and gum health. Yellowing, decay, gum disease, and severe bad breath are all common with tobacco use, whether you smoke it or chew it. If you want your teeth to last, toss the tobacco.
Perform a Post-Snacking Mouth Rinse
You may not be able to brush your teeth after everything you eat, but a little effort can go a long way. When you’re done eating, take a sip of water, swish for several seconds, and spit. This simple action can dislodge stuck food particles, and give oral bacteria less fuel to work with.
Do the Tongue Test
How do you know if your brushing is actually effective? There’s a simple and painless way to find out. When you’re done brushing, run your tongue along the surfaces of your teeth. If everything feels smooth, fresh, and minty, you’re good to go. On the other hand if you detect that icky fuzzy feeling, it means you missed a spot. Don’t put your toothbrush away until you’re sure you’re done!
Limit Dark Foods and Drinks
You may love your morning coffee, but your teeth might feel differently. Constant exposure to dark or acidic substances leaves stains in tooth enamel. Over time, the stains can build up and make your teeth appear yellow. Limit your teeth’s exposure to wine, soda, coffee, berries, and spaghetti sauce. If you have a cold beverage, try drinking through a straw.
These tips will help you keep your teeth healthy and beautiful, but they’re no substitute for quality dental care. Contact Ireland Park Dentistry to schedule an appointment today!