February is the month of love. When you talk of love, many things come to mind – from your families, friends, heart-shaped candy treats, chocolate, wine, and romantic gifts. But your teeth don’t make it to the list.
So, we thought, why not encourage you to show some love to your teeth this month?
Why are your teeth important?
Your teeth and smile are one of the significant aspects of creating a memorable first impression. They can make you look and feel good, transmitting that positivity to others.
A healthy set of teeth indicates you are disciplined about your life, including oral hygiene. It can also boost your self-confidence, social life, and image.
But the physical appearance of your teeth is more than skin deep. Your dental health is linked to your overall health. For example, keeping your heart healthy is tied to keeping your teeth and gums healthy. The bacteria that can cause gum disease can travel through the bloodstream and cause heart damage. It forms small blood clots that can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
And, of course, you cannot take the basic functions that your teeth and gums do for granted. From relishing varied kinds of food to adding spice to your life, your teeth deserve all your attention, love, and care all year long.
Five ways to show love to your teeth
Here are some ways you can love your teeth and preserve your health.
1. Embrace Teeth Positivity
Extending the body positivity concept to our teeth, I cannot emphasize enough to my patients how important it is to fully accept and feel beautiful about our smiles.
When you love your teeth, you will consciously try to take care of them and appreciate their real value. If you’d like to gift yourself something nice for your teeth, an electric toothbrush, maybe as suggested by your dentist, is a great idea.
Remember, there’s no such thing as smiling too much. Smile, and the whole world smiles with you. You don’t need to wait for your next dentist visit to smile and change your life instantly for the better.
2. Choose a teeth-friendly diet and healthy lifestyle
One secret of building strong and healthy teeth lies in your diet. Sugars are harmful to your heart and teeth. Limit or abstain from sugar found in hard sticky and chewy candies, toffees, sugary drinks, and processed foods. If you need to satisfy your sweet craving, then fruits and dark chocolate are smart options. Dark chocolate has an advantage over milk chocolate as it contains cavity-fighting compounds which negate the effects of sugar in your mouth.
Acidic foods and drinks can erode your enamel and so be moderate in its consumptions. Some examples include citrus fruits, tea, coffee, etc.
The fiber in fresh fruits and vegetables like apples and celery aid in saliva production and natural cleansing of your teeth and gums. The chewing action helps reduce the chances of decay, and hence, chewing gums approved by the ADA helps protect your teeth.
If you are prone to bad breath, avoid foods such as garlic, onion, and pungent, spicy foods. If you have persistent bad breath despite avoiding certain foods, regular brushing, flossing, and using a mouthwash, then it could be the early signs of gum disease and time to visit your dentist.
Cutting down on alcohol and tobacco are smart choices for your teeth. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to higher plaque levels and make you three times more prone to permanent tooth loss. Alcohol can also stain your teeth and dry your mouth.
Tobacco use can minimize blood flow to your gums and lead to gum disease. It increases your risk of heart disease. Tobacco use can also cause dry mouth and tooth loss due to lack of moisture.
3. Rinse well
One of the overlooked aspects of loving your teeth and gums is the practice of rinsing your mouth with water. Ideally, you must rinse your mouth immediately after you’ve eaten your food. It becomes even more important to swish your mouth with water to remove as many food particles, bacteria, and plaque in your mouth.
You can also mix an alcohol-free mouthwash in water and rinse your mouth for better saliva production. Alcohol dries your mouth and harsher on the skin. Even a simple salt-water rinse can do wonders for your oral health.
One of the common mistakes while brushing your teeth with a fluoridated toothpaste is to end the daily routine by rinsing your mouth with water. It defeats the purpose if the fluoride is rinsed away and you deprive your teeth of its benefits. Instead, rinse your mouth with water before you finally spit out the foamy toothpaste. It gives your teeth the chance to absorb the fluoride.
4. Practice good oral hygiene
The practice of brushing your teeth with fluoridated toothpaste is central for good oral care. There is a proper technique to brush your teeth properly. The ADA recommends you brush your teeth in short, gentle strokes, at a 45-degree angle for 2 minutes, twice a day. This is to ensure that your toothbrush bristles do not remove the enamel that protects your teeth. When brushing the back of your teeth, it’s best to hold the toothbrush vertically and brush in multiple short strokes. Your teeth absorb the fluoride in the toothpaste to strengthen the enamel. You can use an antibacterial mouthwash as part of your daily oral routine.
Brushing and cleaning your tongue is also very important as skipping this step means the plaque sits there, and you are prone to bad breath, teeth decay, and gum disease.
Change your toothbrush every three months or until the bristles get frayed. If you continue to use the frayed toothbrush, it will gather food particles and bacteria, which get reintroduced in your mouth, putting it at risk for decay and even heart issues.
It’s not enough to brush your teeth as it covers only 60% of your tooth’s surface. It’s just as important to floss your teeth once a day, preferably in the night before bedtime. Flossing accounts for the rest of the 40% of the tooth’s surface.
5. Fix a date with your dentist
One sure way of showing love to your teeth and proving that you care is to fix a date with your dentist. Having a long-term relationship with your dentist is the best thing you can do for your oral health.
You must visit your dentist at least twice a year, once every six months, for regular teeth cleaning and also to identify any early signs of any dental conditions such as a tooth cavity or oral cancer.
Your dentist can also demonstrate and guide you on the right technique of brushing and flossing your teeth. Those who regularly see their dentist for checkups are more likely to maintain a consistent dental care routine that aids in preserving natural teeth.
The American Dental Association (ADA) also recommends regular teeth cleaning to remove the buildup of plaque and tartar. Tartar especially can be removed only by dentists and their specialized tools.
Regular dental visits, examinations, and cleaning will help identify any early signs of a dental condition and prevent it from getting more severe. It will also help you save money on dental care.
We urge you to love your teeth by taking care of them. All you need to do is focus on the basics such as daily brushing and flossing, following a teeth-friendly diet, limiting or abstaining from smoking and drinking, and regular dental checkups.
Follow these simple tips, and you will reap lasting benefits for your teeth.
You can count on our Palo Alto dentists at Cambridge Dental Studio for providing excellent and affordable dental care for you and your family.
Call us at (650) 382-3068 or book your appointment online.
Disclaimer: We routinely draw upon public health resources to inform our write-ups. Information in this article may be drawn up from multiple public health sources, including:
American Dental Association’s MouthHealthy.org
California Dental Association
American Dental Association’s Action for Dental Health
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention