If you’re like most people, you’ve heard about the importance of keeping your teeth clean. As it turns out, having a healthy mouth may mean you have a healthy body. Your oral health has links to your overall health. The state of your mouth can alert doctors to the presence of diseases such as HIV/AIDS and diabetes. Poor oral health can increase your risk for cardiovascular disease, preterm birth and poorly controlled diabetes.
With all the implications associated with poor oral health, keeping your teeth clean is a priority. We’ll examine 10 ways you can keep your teeth clean and stay on track for good oral health.
1. Always Perform Regular Brushing
Brushing your teeth keeps them clean and protects against cavities, but if you don’t brush them the correct way, you may not be experiencing the full benefits brushing brings. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that you brush your teeth twice a day.
When you brush, you should angle the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and make small back and forth motion. These motions should be about the width of one tooth. The toothpaste you use should be ADA approved, and you should replace your toothbrush every three to four months. Replace it sooner if you start seeing changes in the bristles.
For best results, be sure you’re not making these common brushing mistakes.
2. Make Time for Proper Flossing
In order to address plaque build-up between your teeth, floss at least once a day. Plaque build-up can be caused by food debris and leads to tooth decay and gum disease. As you eat, pieces of food can get stuck in hard to reach areas between your teeth. Flossing will remove debris that your toothbrush can’t reach. Just like brushing, it’s important to use proper flossing technique.
3. Try Water Picking
Water picking, also called water flossing, is an alternative to traditional flossing. Growing in popularity in recent years, water picking involves purchasing a special water flosser that creates a stream of water directed towards your teeth. These flossers use pressure from the water to push debris away from your gum line. They are easy to operate and may be helpful for people who are averse to the idea of regular flossing or who have dental work that makes flossing difficult. If you’re interested in water flossing, you can learn more about the pros and cons of flossing versus water picking.
4. Use Mouthwash
While not a replacement for brushing, mouthwash can reach areas of the teeth and gums that toothbrushes can’t. When considering which mouthwash to buy, keep in mind that some products are cosmetic while others are therapeutic. Cosmetic mouthwashes freshen your breath, but they don’t actively kill the bad bacteria in your mouth. To get the bacteria-killing benefits of mouthwash, choose a therapeutic mouthwash that has been shown to reduce tooth decay, gingivitis and other conditions. It will also give you fresh breath in the process.
5. Brush With Baking Soda
Baking soda is an old but effective method of cleaning your teeth. It reduces plaque and can make your teeth one to two shades whiter. To brush your teeth with baking soda, mix it with a small amount of water to create a paste-like solution. Brush for two minutes, coating all your teeth with the baking soda solution. Take note that using baking soda is not a replacement for regular brushing with fluoride toothpaste. You can brush with baking soda once a week.
6. Chew Gum with Xylitol
Xylitol is an ingredient often found in gum and mints. This natural sugar alcohol can help prevent cavities. To experience the full benefits of xylitol at its most effective levels, it should be listed as the first ingredient in the gum or mint you are enjoying. Make sure you chew the gum for at least five minutes. If you’re eating a mint, let it fully dissolve. Chew gum or eat a mint three to five times daily for optimal xylitol intake.
7. Chew Cinnamon Gum
In the same way that you should look for gum with xylitol, seek out gum with cinnamon as well. Cinnamon has antimicrobial properties and can aid in the treatment of dental cavities. While more research needs to be done on cinnamon and its effectiveness for good dental hygiene, it is a promising natural way to keep your teeth clean. If you don’t have cinnamon gum, you can chew on a cinnamon stick for a similar effect.
8. Eat Crisp and Alkaline Foods
Certain foods can help clean your teeth. These are generally crisp, alkaline foods which can raise the pH level in your mouth to healthy levels. Apples can take stains off your teeth while carrots can clean them out. Other foods are surprisingly healthy for your mouth as well.
While some foods help clean your teeth, others damage them. Stay away from high-sugar foods that can contribute to tooth decay and wear away at your enamel.
9. Drink Tea
Instead of soft drinks or soda, drink tea instead. Tea is rich in antioxidants which are good for your health. These teas should be brewed, not bottled. Bottled teas are often full of sugars which can damage your enamel. Brewed teas, however, do not cause erosion. For the most oral benefits, choose green tea. Green tea may reduce oral bacteria and promote better oral health. When brewing your tea, don’t add sugar or lemon as these can cause acid erosion.
10. Drink Water
You can’t go too long without hearing about how you should drink more water to promote good health. Not only is this true for your overall health but it’s also true for your dental health. Tap water often contains fluoride which helps fight cavities. Additionally, water helps keep your mouth clean by rinsing away food debris that gets caught in your mouth when you eat.
While these are effective methods of keeping your teeth clean, seeing your dentist for routine dental cleanings twice a year is vital in maintaining good oral health. Dental visits can help keep your teeth clean and identify potential problems before they get worse. Give us a call today at Morgan Street Dentist Wagga to schedule your next cleaning.