More than 1 in 4 adults have untreated tooth decay and nearly half of all adults over 30 show signs of gum disease. Why does that matter? Because poor oral health can increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and it’s even been linked to problems in pregnancy and dementia.
Seeing your dentist regularly is the best way to keep your teeth and gums healthy — and that means a cleaning every six months — but taking care of your mouth every day is just as important.
Here are 5 tips for keeping your mouth in tip top shape all year round:
1. Brush at least twice a day: Remember to brush in small circular motions and avoid back and forth motions. Be patient: brushing should take two to three minutes. Don’t brush too hard — it can cause gum erosion that’s expensive and painful to repair. And brush after a meal not before.
2. Floss every time you brush: Many of us neglect flossing or don’t do it regularly but it’s just as important as brushing because flossing can remove plaque and bacteria that a toothbrush can’t reach. Don’t believe it? If you haven’t flossed in a while, try it out — if chunks of debris come out or the floss has a funky smell, that’s a sign the spaces between your teeth are filled with stuff that shouldn’t be there. A water jet flosser is a great alternative and can get further beneath the gumline vs. regular string floss.
3. Chew gum: Between brushing and flossing, sugar-free gum can help dislodge food trapped in and around your teeth. It also increases saliva, which helps prevent bacteria from forming and causing plaque build-up.
4. Quit smoking: Besides yellowing of your teeth and tongue, smoking damages your immune system, making it harder for your body to heal soft tissue like gums.
5. Avoid sugary and starchy foods: Candies, sweet drinks and starchy foods like bread, chips and pasta can cause cavities — especially if you’re not brushing and flossing regularly. Lowering your sugar intake to 5% of your daily calories is not only healthier for your body, it also minimizes the formation of cavities. Instead, replace sugary and starchy foods with fiber-rich fruits and vegetables and drink water rather than sugary drinks.
What tips do you have to keep your teeth and gums healthy? Please share them with the Shop Talk blog community!
Did you know: Bad breath
One of the most common effects of poor dental hygiene is bad breath — more than 90% of bad breath originates in the mouth. (Source)