Keep Your Teeth Healthy
Brush, floss and get regular checkups
There are many reasons to pay attention to the health of your teeth and gums. Everyone wants a confident smile and the ability to eat without discomfort. Taking good care of your oral health now will protect your teeth for years to come.
Practice good oral hygiene
Experts say you should brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Brush for two minutes with a toothpaste containing fluoride. Replace your toothbrush every three to four months. Floss and use mouthwash daily, and avoid tobacco.
Get your checkups
Most people should see a dentist twice a year. During these regular exams, a dental hygienist will clean your teeth and check for any problems, and the dentist will follow up with an oral exam. These visits are important because your dentist might discover signs of decay or potential issues you didn’t even realize you had. Problems uncovered early are likely to respond better to treatment.
See your dentist right away if you notice these warning signs:
- Receding gums
- Loose teeth
- Bleeding from flossing or brushing
- Tender, swollen or red gums
- Chronic bad breath
Something to chew on
When it comes to a tooth-healthy diet, some foods are better than others. Limit your intake of starchy and sugary foods. They feed the bacteria that can cause tooth decay and gum disease. Avoid carbonated soft drinks, which can wear away tooth enamel.
According to the American Dental Association, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, along with cheese, milk and plain yogurt, can help keep your teeth clean. They help your mouth naturally produce more saliva, which can reduce the effects of acids that can attack your teeth after you eat. Green and black teas can help neutralize bacteria.
The heart health connection
Some studies have suggested a link between poor oral health and cardiovascular problems. According to a leading theory, bacteria in the mouth from gum disease can travel through the body, possibly causing dangerous inflammation in heart vessels and infection in heart valves.
Researchers are still working to understand the relationship between oral health and heart disease. Regardless of what they find, it’s still important to take good care of your teeth and gums to keep your mouth healthy in the long run.
The American Dental Association is an independent organization that offers health information you may find helpful.