Just recently, my FiOS internet plans were down for a while. While waiting for their support team to call me back, I started flipping through an old family album. One immediately obvious thing was my pearly white smile when I was an adolescent and a teenager. Honestly, it was the kind of smile that you see on toothpaste ads and billboards. I looked up into the nearby mirror and practiced a winning smile. Imagine my shock when I saw that my teeth looked nothing like 10 years ago!
Habits to Maintain Healthy Teeth and Gums
I immediately visited a dentist for the first time in my life. I had no problems with cavities or plaque before, so a dentist’s appointment was an entirely new experience. I asked the dentist if my teeth were deteriorating as I aged. The dentist assured me that while teeth do lose shine as the years go by, age does not define oral health. He mentioned several of his patients in their fifties with perfect teeth. How do they maintain perfect teeth even at that age? The answer, according to my dentist, is these seven habits that can help you maintain perfect oral health at any age:
- Brushing Twice a Day
- Using Fluoride Toothpastes
- Using Mouthwash
- Daily Flossing
- Increase Calcium Intake
- Replace Toothbrushes Regularly
- Avoid Tobacco
Here’s how you can follow these habits and keep that smile shining.
Brushing Twice a Day
We are all taught in school that it is important to brush our teeth twice a day. But it’s still surprising how many people neglect to do that. Brushing your teeth twice every day is just the first crucial step to maintain your oral health. Do not ever forego brushing, especially when you come home tired after a night out. Many people are tempted to forget the second brushing at night at these times. Don’t! You will end up ruining your teeth and gum health. Brushing removes bits of food stuck in the teeth. It also removes plaque buildup and keeps your smile fresh and white. The ADA recommends twice-a-day brushing for everyone.
Using Fluoride Toothpastes
Brushing twice a day is very important. But it won’t be as effective if you aren’t using the right toothpaste. Most dentists suggest using fluoride-based toothpaste for daily use. Fluoride is a very important ingredient when it comes to maintaining dental hygiene. It prevents your teeth from decaying. It also stops plaque from building up in your teeth and gums. Fluoride also counters the effects of sugar deterioration and cavities in your teeth. Switch out your regular toothpaste for a fluoride toothpaste as soon as possible.
Using mouthwash should be a regular part of your daily dental hygiene. Go for therapeutic mouthwashes as opposed to the regular, off-the-shelf ones. This type of mouthwash is very effective at decreasing plaque buildup in the mouth. It also prevents the development of tarter in your teeth. Daily mouthwash use can help prevent you from getting gingivitis as well. Use it daily and rinse all the bad stuff from your mouth once a day for a better smile.
Flossing is a very important habit if you are serious about maintaining your dental health for any period of time. Unfortunately, it’s also one habit that many people skip. Flossing prevents tartar and plaque from building up in your teeth. It also helps you stave off tooth decay for longer. Flossing gets rid of bits of food or plaque that your toothbrush can’t reach. Since there’s less residual stuff in your mouth after flossing, your breath stays fresher as well.
Increase Calcium Intake
Calcium helps keep your teeth and bones strong. Taking a daily calcium supplement goes a long way to make your teeth last longer. Milk is a great source for calcium, but you can also look at other sources. Cheese, broccoli, and yogurt all are rich in tooth-friendly calcium. You can also buy calcium tablets that you can ingest.
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Replace Toothbrushes Regularly
The bristles or filaments on your toothbrush will wear down after regular use. This is normal. You can’t reasonably expect one toothbrush to last for years at a time. Worn down toothbrushes are not as good at cleaning out your teeth as stiff ones. Ideally, you should get a new toothbrush every four months so the bristles are strong enough to clean effectively. You should also change your toothbrush immediately after an illness to prevent bacteria from making you sick again.
Smoking or chewing tobacco is a filthy habit as it is. But it also does massive damage to your teeth. Really, you should avoid smoking as much as possible. Smoking or chewing tobacco causes staining, tooth decay and even damages oral tissue. My dentist put it very finely. “Do you want your teeth in a glass next to you while you’re watching Frontier TV packages? If no, you will do well to avoid tobacco products completely”.