Your teeth are incredibly important. They help you chew food, pronounce words, and are a key component to the kind of smile that turns heads and impresses potential employers. 82 percent of American adults say that a beautiful smile is the very first thing they notice about others. Not only are good healthy teeth attractive, but they also positively affect the way others perceive your intellect, your wealth, and even your character. As it turns out, first impressions really do matter! And your teeth are a critical part of making the best first impression. All of these are critical reasons why it’s important to protect your teeth.
Following are some ideas to start building healthy oral habits and reinforcing existing dental routines for that beautiful smile.
1. Eat right
Diet plays a critical role in every aspect of the human body. Your teeth are no exception. If you want healthy teeth that will last you a lifetime, then you should be aware and discerning about the kind of foods you put in your mouth. Eating right is about more than avoiding what you shouldn’t eat. It’s also about eating healthy foods the properly nourish your body. It’s as much about avoiding sugary snacks and drinks as it is about eating calcium-rich foods that provide the right nutrients your body and teeth crave.
You’ll want to consciously limit or avoid three types of damaging fare: sugary foods, sticky foods, and acidic foods. Foods high in sugars are the primary driver of rampant tooth decay. While candy, soda, and sweet desserts are obvious culprits that should be limited, less obvious contributors to dental caries are starchy carbohydrates such as rice, potatoes, and white bread. While not as sweet, these grain-based staples are composed of simple carbs that quickly break down into sugars. This is exactly what bacteria need to grow and flourish.
Our heavily grain-based modern diets may be the reason that, despite incredible advances in modern medicine and dentistry, our teeth are worse than those of our primitive, hunter-gatherer ancestors. Sticky foods are also a problem since they tend to stay on, or stick to, the enamel, providing a veritable feast for bacteria. Food debris trapped in the nooks and crannies of your mouth fuel enamel-eating microbes and contribute to bad breath. While we all well know candy is your enamel’s worst enemy, other foods can be particularly destructive as well. Take coffee for example. The hot beverage’s acidity erodes enamel and contains tannins, a type of pigment, that stains your teeth. While sugar is not good, acid can be just as bad.
2. Brush and floss
Brushing and flossing should be at the heart of everyone’s dental care routine. These simple measures help remove trapped debris, kill bacteria, and physically remove plaque. If you want healthy teeth, you’ll want to brush and floss regularly. However, merely committing to brushing and floss isn’t enough. It must be done correctly to reap the benefits in full.
Studies show that only 1 in 10 people execute these critical routines properly. The problem isn’t that people don’t know how to brush or floss properly; it’s that they brush and floss the way they did as children. If you want healthy teeth, you might have to relearn how to brush and floss the correct way. This is something we can show you on your next visit to Willow Pass Dental Care.
3. Protect your teeth
Protecting your teeth can take many forms. One of the most obvious is to protect your teeth from irreparable damage that may occur during sports and physical contact. Wear a mouthguard or a similar protective device when playing contact sports such as soccer, basketball, or football. Just as you would wear a helmet to protect your head while cycling, you should wear a mouthguard if you participate in physical activity that may involve blows to the face or mouth. No one wants to see a tooth or two lying on the floor after a particularly physical sporting event.
Another way to protect your teeth is to wear a nightguard to prevent damage from grinding and clenching your teeth when you sleep. A nightguard can help prevent wearing your teeth down and destroying enamel and other complications caused by nighttime teeth grinding.
4. Tend to your oral microbiome
In the olden days, dentists, scientists, and oral health professionals all agreed that bacteria was the enemy. Destroying all microbes in the mouth was the only solution for a host of perpetual problems, including tooth decay, halitosis, and periodontitis. Discoveries and new research, however, paints a far more complicated picture of what’s going on in the human mouth. Did you know that the average human mouth can contain between 500 and 1000 different species of bacteria? Even individuals who practice regular oral hygiene can still have hundreds of thousands of tiny microbes on a single tooth.
However, not all bacteria are harmful. Typically, individuals who suffer from bad breath, tooth decay, or chronic periodontitis also have imbalanced oral ecologies. That is to say, that bad, enamel-wrecking bacteria have increased while other harmless or even so-called “good” bacteria have been reduced.
One of the biggest causes for this bacterial imbalance is — Diet.
When you eat sugary foods, sugar-loving, acid-spewing harmful bacteria multiply. There are ways to bring balance back to your oral environment.
First, avoid sugary foods. Without the fuel they need, harmful bacteria can’t flourish.
Second, don’t overuse mouthwash. While your mouth may feel fresh afterward, mouthwash indiscriminately kills good microbes along with the bad. The goal isn’t to leave a sterile wasteland; it’s to encourage certain strains to outcompete the destructive ones.
Another strategy for a healthy mouth is to consider taking oral probiotic supplements to help boost your populations of helpful resident microbes.
5. Get regular dental checkups
The best ways to maintain healthy, happy teeth is to get regular, routine dental checkups. Your dentist or prosthodontist will best be able to identify any signs of dental problems before they get out of hand, address any pressing dental concerns, and provide you with the care and advice you need to build healthy habits that will last a lifetime.
Are you looking for a friendly and professional dental office to call home? Look no further than Willow Pass Dental Care. Let us help you with your oral health and you will see why we are the leader in dental care in Concord. Call to schedule an appointment at 925-326-6114 or complete the form below.
DR. REZA KHAZAIE