by Dr. Anson Hooper, DDS, Hooper Family Dental
We’ve all heard the saying, “It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks,” but let’s be honest, it’s hard to teach anyone new tricks!
As a parent I’ve seen this, not only while encouraging my daughters but also in myself. While “tricks” or habits are difficult to mold, I want you to consider six healthy dental habits that can help maintain a beautiful smile;
1. Don’t go to bed without brushing your teeth: Brushing before bed rids the mouth of germs and plaque that accumulate throughout the day. If left undisturbed, plaque can harden, leading to tartar build-up and eventually gum disease.
2. Brush properly: Doing a poor job of brushing your teeth is nearly as bad as not brushing them at all. When brushing, take your time, gently moving the toothbrush in circular motions to remove plaque.
3. Treat flossing as important as brushing: Flossing not only removes little pieces of food, like broccoli, that may get stuck in between your teeth, but it’s really a way to help lower inflammation in the area, reducing plaque and stimulating the gums. Flossing once a day is usually enough to produce these benefits.
4. Drink more water: Water continues to be the best beverage for your overall health — this includes oral health. This can also help wash out some of the negative effects of sticky and acidic foods between brushes.
5. Limit sugary and acidic foods: Eventually, sugar converts into acid in the mouth, which can then break down the enamel on your teeth. These acids are what lead to cavities. Acidic fruits and drinks also can wear down tooth enamel. While you don’t necessarily have to avoid such foods altogether, it doesn’t hurt to be mindful.
6. Eat crunchy fruits and vegetables: Ready-to-eat foods are convenient, but perhaps not great when it comes to your teeth. Fresh, crunchy produce contains lots of healthy fiber and is a great choice for smile maintenance.
While the CDC recommends that adults drink fluoridated water and brush with fluoride toothpaste, pairing those recommendations with these habits will certainly help in keeping your teeth and gums healthy.