Achieving healthy teeth takes a lifetime of care. Even if you’ve been told that you have nice teeth, it’s crucial to take the right steps every day to take care of them and prevent problems. This involves getting the right oral care products, as well as being mindful of your daily habits.
It’s no secret that the general recommendation is to brush at least twice a day. Still, many of us continue to neglect brushing our teeth at night. But brushing before bed gets rid of the germs and plaque that accumulate throughout the day.
The way you brush is equally important — in fact, doing a poor job of brushing your teeth is almost as bad as not brushing at all. Take your time, moving the toothbrush in gentle, circular motions to remove plaque. Unremoved plaque can harden, leading to calculus buildup and gingivitis (early gum disease).
Plaque can also build up on your tongue. Not only can this lead to bad mouth odor, but it can lead to other oral health problems. Gently brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth.
When it comes to toothpaste, there are more important elements to look for than whitening power and flavors. No matter which version you choose, make sure it contains fluoride.
While fluoride has come under scrutiny by those worried about how it impacts other areas of health, this substance remains a mainstay in oral health. This is because fluoride is a leading defense against tooth decay. It works by fighting germs that can lead to decay, as well as providing a protective barrier for your teeth.
Many who brush regularly neglect to floss. “Flossing is not just for getting those little pieces of Chinese food or broccoli that may be getting stuck in between your teeth,” says Jonathan Schwartz, DDS. “It’s really a way to stimulate the gums, reduce plaque, and help lower inflammation in the area.”
Flossing once a day is usually enough to reap these benefits.
Flossing can be difficult, especially for young children and older adults with arthritis. Rather than give up, look for tools that can help you floss your teeth. Ready-to-use dental flossers from the drugstore can make a difference.
Advertisements make mouthwash seem necessary for good oral health, but many people skip them because they don’t know how they work. Schwartz says mouthwash helps in three ways: It reduces the amount of acid in the mouth, cleans hard-to-brush areas in and around the gums, and re-mineralizes the teeth. “Mouthwashes are useful as an adjunct tool to help bring things into balance,” he explains. “I think in children and older people, where the ability to brush and floss may not be ideal, a mouthwash is particularly helpful.”
Ask your dentist for specific mouthwash recommendations. Certain brands are best for children, and those with sensitive teeth. Prescription mouthwash is also available.
Water continues to be the best beverage for your overall health — including oral health. Also, as a rule of thumb, Schwartz recommends drinking water after every meal. This can help wash out some of the negative effects of sticky and acidic foods and beverages in between brushes.
Ready-to-eat foods are convenient, but perhaps not so much when it comes to your teeth. Eating fresh, crunchy produce not only contains more healthy fiber, but it’s also the best choice for your teeth. “I tell parents to get their kids on harder-to-eat and chew foods at a younger age,” says Schwartz. “So try to avoid the overly mushy processed stuff, stop cutting things into tiny pieces, and get those jaws working!”
Ultimately, sugar converts into acid in the mouth, which can then erode the enamel of your teeth. These acids are what lead to cavities. Acidic fruits, teas, and coffee can also wear down tooth enamel. While you don’t necessarily have to avoid such foods altogether, it doesn’t hurt to be mindful.
Your own everyday habits are crucial to your overall oral health. Still, even the most dutiful brushers and flossers need to see a dentist regularly. At minimum, you should see your dentist for cleanings and checkups twice a year. Not only can a dentist remove calculus and look for cavities, but they will also be able to spot potential issues and offer treatment solutions.
Some dental insurance companies even cover more frequent dental checkups. If this is the case for you, take advantage of it. Doing so is especially helpful if you have a history of dental issues, such as gingivitis or frequent cavities.
Your toothbrush can’t reach between your teeth to remove plaque (a sticky film that contains bacteria). Flossing gets between your teeth to clean away the plaque.
By flossing and brushing your teeth, you’re removing plaque and the bacteria in it that feeds on sugar and particles of food that remain in your mouth after eating.
When the bacteria feed, they release an acid that can eat away at your enamel (the hard outer shell of your teeth) and cause cavities.
Also, plaque that isn’t cleaned away can eventually harden into calculus (tartar) that can collect on your gumline and lead to gingivitis and gum disease.
The ADA suggests that the best time to floss is the time that comfortably fits into your schedule.
While some people like to include flossing as part of their morning ritual and start the day with a clean mouth, others prefer flossing before bedtime so they go to bed with a clean mouth.
It doesn’t matter if you brush or floss first, as long as you do a thorough job cleaning all of your teeth and practice good oral hygiene habits every day.
A 2018 study suggested that it’s better to floss first and then brush. The study indicated that flossing first loosened bacteria and debris from between teeth, and brushing afterward cleaned these particles away.
Brushing second also increased fluoride concentration in the interdental plaque, which could reduce the risk of tooth decay by strengthening tooth enamel.
However, the ADA maintains that either flossing first or brushing first is acceptable, depending on what you prefer.
No, you can’t floss too much unless you’re flossing incorrectly. If you apply too much pressure when you floss, or if you floss too vigorously, you may damage your teeth and gums.
You may need to floss more than once a day, especially after meals, to clean out food or debris that’s stuck between your teeth.
Flossing is considered interdental cleaning. It helps remove interproximal dental plaque (the plaque that collects between teeth). It also helps remove debris, such as food particles.
Tools for interdental cleaning include:
- dental floss (waxed or unwaxed)
- dental tape
- pre-threaded flossers
- water flossers
- powered air flossers
- wooden or plastic picks
- tiny flossing brushes (proxy brushes)
Talk to your dentist to see which is best for you. Find one that you like and use it regularly.
Braces are appliances applied to your teeth by an orthodontist to:
- straighten teeth
- close gaps between teeth
- correct bite problems
- align teeth and lips properly
- cutting back on starchy and sugary foods and beverages that contribute to plaque formation
- brushing after every meal to clear food particles from your braces
- rinsing thoroughly to clear the food particles the brush left behind
- using a fluoride rinse, if it’s been recommended by your orthodontist or dentist
- flossing regularly and thoroughly to maintain excellent oral health
When flossing with braces, there are some tools to consider using:
- floss threader, which gets floss under wires
- waxed floss, which is less likely to catch on braces
- water flosser, an interdental flossing tool that uses water
- interdental flossing brushes, which clean out debris and plaque that get caught on brackets and wires, and in between teeth
The American Dental Association suggests that you brush your teeth twice a day — about 2 minutes with a fluoride toothpaste — and use an interdental cleaner, such as floss, once a day. You can floss before or after you brush.
In addition to home brushing and flossing, schedule regular visits with your dentist to identify potential dental problems early, when treatment is commonly simpler and more affordable.
Duas molestias excepturi sint occaecati cupiditate non provident, similique sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollitia animi, id est laborum etdolorum fuga. Et harum quidem rerum facilis est et expedita distinctio. Et harum quidem rerum facilis est et expedita distinctio. Duas molestias excepturi sint
Proper home dental care has always been vital, but it has taken on a new level of importance during the COVID-19 crisis. Stay at home orders mean that you will likely spend a lot more time snacking at home. Combined with the inability to visit a dentist in Dayton for a regular preventive visits, your teeth are more vulnerable to tooth decay. Regular brushing and flossing helps mitigate this risk, but there is more you can do. Read on to find out how using mouthwash can improve the quality of your oral health.
WHAT IS MOUTHWASH?
Mouthwash is simply a liquid that can help fight various problems that occur within your mouth. The function of mouthwash is dictated by the ingredients it is made of. It is not meant to replace your regular daily brushing and flossing. Instead, it should be viewed as a supplement, giving you an extra layer of protection.
WHAT PROBLEMS CAN MOUTHWASH TREAT?
The main ingredient in many mouthwashes is alcohol, and antiseptic ingredient that can kill harmful bacteria in your mouth. As a result, it can be used to treat the following issues.
- Gum Disease
- Bad Breath
CAN MOUTHWASH MAKE MY TEETH STRONGER?
Yes! Many kinds of mouthwash contain a mineral called fluoride. It can bond to the outer layer of your teeth, rebuilding the enamel and making them more resistant to tooth decay.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I USE MOUTHWASH?
Each mouthwash comes with its own set of directions, so it’s important to read the label to find out how much you should use and how often you should use it. When you do, remember to swish it in your mouth for as long as directed and to spit all of it out when you’re finished.
CAN I USE MOUTHWASH IF I HAVE SENSITIVE TEETH?
If you find the sensation caused by traditional mouthwashes to be too intense, there are alternatives available. You should consider using an alcohol-free version, which replaces the alcohol with other natural ingredients that achieve the same effect with less irritation.
HOW DOES MOUTHWASH AFFECT YOUR WHOLE BODY?
Adding mouthwash to your routine does more than keep your mouth clean and healthy, it further protects your body from disease. Bacteria in your mouth can enter the bloodstream and cause problems elsewhere. Numerous studies have demonstrated a link between bad oral health and systemic issues such as heart disease and diabetes. When you rinse with mouthwash, you’re getting rid of many of the harmful bacteria before they have the chance to attack the rest of your body.
Rinsing with mouthwash is a great habit to add to your daily oral care routine. It’s a simple, yet effective way to add another layer of protection between your body and disease causing germs.
Plus, the more you smoke, the more it affects your sense of taste. What you eat and drink also affects your teeth.
Here’s what you need to know about smoking and oral health.
How to remove smoking stains from teeth
The nicotine and tar in tobacco smoke can cause yellow or stained teeth. Brushing your teeth several times a day is one way to improve their appearance. This not only prevents staining, it also protects against gum disease.
It also helps to choose a toothpaste that’s designed to fight teeth stains for people who smoke. These toothpastes include special ingredients to help improve discoloration.
Look for the following ingredients:
You can also whiten teeth at home using homemade toothpaste. To do this, add a few drops of hydrogen peroxide to baking soda. Be careful not to use too strong of a solution of hydrogen peroxide, though. You could damage your teeth.
Will teeth whiteners work?
Although brushing your teeth more frequently can help prevent and get rid of smoke stains, toothpaste may provide little results for severe discoloration.
In this case, you’ll likely need an over-the-counter (OTC) teeth whitening product. These include whitening strips or whitening gels with whitening agents applied to the teeth in sessions.
OTC products can remove stains below the surface and improve the appearance of your teeth. But these products aren’t likely to get your teeth completely white.
Depending on the severity of staining, you may need professional teeth whitening to remove nicotine stains on teeth.
This may involve an in-office teeth whitening treatment, a customized at-home teeth whitening system, or both for stronger stain removal.
Even if professional teeth whitening gets rid of stains, the results won’t last if you continue to smoke. You might need to repeat treatments every year.
How to combat bad breath from smoking
“Smoker’s breath” is another issue some people have. This is caused by early stages of gum disease or dry mouth due to decreased saliva production.
Here are a few options to help eliminate smoker’s breath:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day, and floss at least once a day.
- Increase your fluid intake to prevent dry mouth.
- Use an antibacterial mouthwash for dry mouth.
- Chew sugarless gum.
- Suck on a peppermint.
- Schedule regular dental cleanings to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth.
- Cut back on smoking, or stop altogether. Give these tips a try to help you quit cold turkey.
Are e-cigarettes better for dental health?
There’s no tobacco in e-cigarettes, so many people believe that vaping is better for oral health.
While e-cigarettes don’t produce smoke, the vapor contains nicotine. In addition, e-cigarettes still contain other chemicals and heavy metals — albeit less than cigarettes — that are bad for the body and teeth.
The nicotine in these products can damage gum tissue and reduce saliva production, resulting in bad breath, receding gums, and tooth loss.
Can smoking damage your teeth or gums?
Giving up smoking benefits oral health because it reduces the likelihood of developing gum disease.
Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is an infection that affects the gum line. It develops when tartar and bacteria accumulate below or above the gums, resulting in inflammation.
Gum disease is linked with smoking because people who smoke tend to have more tartar on their teeth than nonsmokers. The nicotine in tobacco reduces saliva production, making it easier for tarter and bacteria to build up in the mouth.
If I quit smoking, will my teeth get better?
Even if you’ve smoked for many years, quitting can improve your oral health and reduce the likelihood of gum disease and tooth loss.
In one study, researchers followed 49 people who smoked and had chronic gum disease over a 12-month period. These participants were helped to stop smoking through the use of nicotine replacement therapy, medication, and counseling.
At the end of the 12-month study, about one-fifth of the participants had stopped smoking. They noted significant improvements in their oral health.
More scientific reviewsTrusted Source have been done that show quitting smoking reduces the risk of the onset and progression of gum disease. Smokers have approximately an 80 percent higher risk for bone loss and periodontal disease than those who don’t smoke.
It’s never too late to quit, even if you’ve smoked for a long time. You’ll still see immediate and long-term benefits.
Quitting smoking doesn’t only protect your teeth. It also lowers the chance of:
- oral cancer
- lung disease
- heart disease
- other health problems
Since smoking weakens the immune system, it also becomes harder for the body to fight the infection. As a result, the bones supporting teeth weaken, causing tooth loss.
Simple, practical ways to quit smoking
Here are a few tips to help you quit smoking and improve your oral health.
Being around other people while they’re smoking can intensify your cravings.
Do your best to avoid people and locations where you’re tempted to smoke. Spend time at places that prohibit smoking. Don’t accompany people on their smoke breaks.
Staying busy and distracted can also help you manage cravings. The mind can only focus on one thing at a time. If you feel the urge to smoke, throw yourself into an activity or project.
Consider nicotine replacement therapy
Using a nicotine patch or chewing nicotine gum can reduce cravings, making it easier to give up smoking. Follow the package’s directions carefully. It’s possible to develop a nicotine dependence on these types of products.
If OTC products don’t work, ask your doctor about medications to help you quit smoking, like Chantix.
Remind yourself why you’re quitting
Everyone has a motivation for quitting. Some want to improve their overall health. Others do it for their family. Maybe you just want to save money.
Regularly reflect on why you’re giving up the habit. This can help you overcome strong urges.
Pick yourself back up
If you find yourself lighting up, don’t beat yourself up or feel that it’s impossible to quit. Many people experience setbacks while quitting. Stay positive and get back on track.
Sometimes breaking a smoking habit may require behavioral therapy to overcome rituals and learn new ways to cope with problems. Therapy can help if you’re more likely to smoke when stressed or upset.
Here are some ways to find therapy at every budget.
Smoking can have a negative impact on your oral health, increasing your risk for gum disease, tooth loss, bad breath, and oral cancer. The best gift you can give your teeth is to stop smoking.
If you’re not ready to quit yet, you can still take care of your teeth. The same dental health habits apply: Make sure you brush at least twice a day and floss daily. See your dentist at least twice a year to help fight gum disease and prevent teeth stains.