The mouth is one of the first defenses against infection, digestive issues and certain diseases; as well as serving as an entranceway for food particles and airborne particles that enter our bodies through this avenue. Proper oral hygiene practices are essential to optimal health.
Maintaining a healthy smile requires more than brushing and flossing alone; here are 10 strategies for attaining and maintaining lifelong optimal dental health:
1. Brush Daily
Many dental professionals recommend brushing two times each day for two minutes at least twice. This will remove plaque, an invisible film of bacteria which causes tooth decay and gum disease.
Unless you brush daily, plaque will remain in your mouth all night and day long, feeding off of bits of food to produce acid that eats away at your tooth enamel and leads to gum disease – leading to cavities or other issues which require costly treatments.
An ADA Seal and using fluoride toothpaste are key components to achieving optimal dental health. You should consider investing in an electric or power toothbrush for improved cleaning results, and flossing once every day helps remove bacteria between teeth that your toothbrush bristles can’t reach – opt for waxed or unwaxed type and check its acceptance by the American Dental Association before purchasing any oral hygiene products.
2. Floss Daily
Flossing helps eliminate bacteria and food particles that brushing can’t reach, such as bad breath-causing germs, cavities, gum disease and oral infections. Left unchecked, these debris may lead to bad breath, cavities, gum disease and oral infections which may in turn wreak havoc with your overall health, increasing your risk of serious conditions like autoimmune diseases and cardiovascular issues.
As for when to floss, the best time is in the morning or evening prior to bed, though any time that works for you is appropriate! To properly floss, break off about 18 inches of floss and wind it around both middle fingers of one hand – this allows for easier movement between teeth without needing to unwind new sections each time you need to unwind an old section! When floss reaches gum line, gently curve into C shape then move under adjacent tooth.
3. Schedule Regular Checkups
Of course, regular dental check-ups and cleanings are vitally important to oral health – but did you know they can also contribute positively to overall wellness?
Scheduled visits enable your dentist to identify and treat problems such as gum disease, tooth decay and cavities as they arise, while simultaneously clearing away buildups of germs which lead to bad breath and stained teeth.
Untreated issues can quickly progress into more serious ones, including heart disease and poor digestion. By visiting your dentist regularly and early, they can spot these problems early and treat them before they worsen – saving both time, money, and pain! They may also recommend preventative treatments like dental sealants or fluoride to protect you in the future; additionally if you have dental insurance this appointment could even be covered!
4. Eat a Healthy Diet
Diet is key for good oral health says Dr. Allyson Mulder DMD. A diet rich in leafy greens, nuts and whole grains provides essential calcium, folic acid and B vitamin; plus they help neutralize acids while washing away food particles from the mouth.
Sugary food and drinks can wreak havoc on teeth when consumed over extended periods, as plaque bacteria use sugar as food source to produce acid that attacks tooth enamel and could eventually lead to cavities.
Diets high in vitamin C and healthy fats can help support gum tissue health, while high-fiber foods like fruits, veggies and whole grains require more chewing, which stimulates saliva flow and provides mineral defenses against decay. Chewing on sugar-free gum containing the sweetener xylitol after meals may further protect oral health by helping lower risk for tooth decay while improving overall oral wellbeing.
5. Stay Hydrated
Water is essential to our health – it regulates our body temperature, keeps joints lubricated, eliminates waste and gives our skin a radiant complexion. Incredibly, drinking enough water has surprising oral health benefits as it promotes saliva flow which washes away food debris and harmful bacteria that cause tooth decay and gingivitis.
Water is also a healthier choice than sugary sodas and juices, which contain sugar that feeds bacteria that erode enamel, while sipping water throughout the day may prevent dry mouth, an established risk factor for cavities and decay. Plus, unlike coffee, tea or red wine stains that could stain teeth for good, drinking more water could make a positive impactful difference on dental health!
6. Visit the Dentist Regularly
An appointment at the dentist might not be top of mind for everyone, but it’s vital for maintaining optimal oral health. Dentists are experts at recognizing signs of gum disease or tooth decay – and can offer advice that could prevent serious health complications later.
Regular dental exams can also detect issues that aren’t immediately obvious, like an abscess or cuts that cause discomfort and infection in your mouth, potentially saving both money and pain in the long run. Studies have linked poor oral health with systemic diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory ailments and pregnancy complications.
7. Take Care of Your Mouthpiece
Careful attention to your mouthpiece can help ensure optimal oral health. From wearing a sports mouthguard to protect your teeth from physical contact to custom night guards for managing bruxism, keeping it free of bacteria is of vital importance for optimal oral health. Regular cleaning with OTC denture cleaners, hydrogen peroxide solutions or dental sanitizing devices is necessary in keeping away any germs that could cause infection and discomfort.
Eating healthily is vital to overall wellbeing. A nutritious diet provides your body with essential proteins, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants needed for overall wellness.
Every patient comes to their dental appointment with different backgrounds and circumstances in mind. A trained patient advocate helps each one effectively articulate their needs and concerns so that they receive quality treatment – including cultural differences, financial limitations, or any unique characteristics which impact care delivery.
8. Take Care of Your Gums
Gum disease is a serious oral health concern that begins with gum inflammation (gingivitis) and can progress to lead to tooth loss and bone damage if left unchecked. Good dental hygiene practices like regular brushing and flossing as well as visiting your dentist regularly can help protect you against gum disease while lowering other systemic risks like cardiovascular disease, diabetes complications and pregnancy complications.
Brushing should include small circles to reach all parts of each tooth – front, back and top of every one! When it comes to flossing, gentle up-and-down motions should be used instead of sawing to avoid cutting your gums and gumline.
As part of maintaining optimal dental health, visiting the dentist twice annually is crucial in order to prevent decay, treat existing cavities, and identify any potential issues (like gum disease ) with X-rays and cleanings. These visits can save time, money and discomfort in the long run.
9. Get a Fluoride Treatment
Fluoride is an all-natural mineral that protects teeth from decay by strengthening enamel and making the enamel remineralized, strengthening it against decay and making teeth stronger overall. Fluoride can be found in most public water supplies and many dentists recommend adding toothpaste, mouth rinses and gels with fluoride into toothpaste or rinses and gels used by their patients to combat cavities. In-office treatments using direct fluoride treatments improve remineralization processes which strengthen teeth by strengthening their resistance against cavities while making the patient’s enamel stronger against decay while making teeth stronger against decay overall.
Professional fluoride treatments are in-office procedures that involve applying high concentrations of fluoride as gel, foam or varnish to patients’ teeth. This form of treatment is most suitable for children at high risk for tooth decay as well as those who possess weak enamel.
Keep in mind that high doses of fluoride can be toxic and cause discoloration to the teeth (fluorosis). Therefore, it is crucial to abide by your dentist’s advice and not consume excessive quantities.