Whether you practice good or bad dental hygiene affects your overall health and quality of life.
Also, the following are systemic diseases linked to poor oral health:
- Heart disease
- Respiratory disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Premature birth
- Pregnancy complications
How do you know if your teeth are healthy? Your teeth are healthy if there is no discoloration, cracks or divots, and sensitivity. Another way to tell if your teeth are healthy is by examining your gums. Your gums should be firm and pink, not swollen, red, tender, or bleeding.
How can I make my teeth healthier? Make your teeth healthier with these 11 helpful tips:
- Brush your teeth twice daily
- Brush your teeth properly
- Floss every day
- Use a remineralizing toothpaste
- Use mouthwash — carefully
- Try oil pulling
- Take oral probiotics
- Drink more water
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Avoid sugary and acidic foods
- Frequent dental check-ups
1. Brush Your Teeth Twice Daily
You need to brush your teeth twice daily.
Brushing immediately after a meal may be harmful to your dental health because the acids from your meal may linger on your teeth. Brushing could prove abrasive, scrubbing the acids against your teeth. For best results, wait about 30 minutes before brushing after meals.
Also, brush your teeth after you floss in between your teeth.
What to look for in a toothbrush:
- Use a sonic toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes can remove plaque better than manual toothbrushes.
- Use soft bristles. Hard bristles can damage your gums and erode your tooth enamel.
- Use a three-headed brush. Triple Bristle’s revolutionary three-headed brush delivers a superior clean in under half the time. A three-headed toothbrush effectively cleans plaque, especially when a caretaker is cleaning another person’s teeth.
At least 3 in 10 Americans are not brushing twice a day. Some sources say that 37% of younger Americans have recently gone two or more days without brushing their teeth.
2. Brush Your Teeth Properly
Here is how to brush your teeth properly, step by step:
- Apply a pea-sized amount of toothpaste to your toothbrush. Most people (especially young children) actually use too much toothpaste, according to the CDC.
- Aim the bristles at a 45-degree angle towards your gum line. This helps your toothbrush disorganize the bacteria underneath your gum line.
- Brush in gentle circles on the front and back surfaces of all your teeth. Do not “saw” across your teeth in straight lines.
- Gently brush your chewing surfaces in circles. These tooth surfaces harbor food particles that can feed harmful bacteria. Back teeth (molars) are particularly susceptible to cavities if food particles linger.
- Spit out toothpaste after you finish brushing. Do not rinse your mouth out if you are using fluoride toothpaste or hydroxyapatite toothpaste. The fluoride or hydroxyapatite (the active ingredient) must stay on your teeth to exhibit its protective benefits.
3. Floss Every Day
Flossing removes plaque and food particles from in between your teeth. Flossing is important for preventing gingivitis and tooth decay. Experts agree that flossing is integral for plaque control between your teeth.
Click here to purchase Triple Bristle’s unique, effective dental floss.
Experts recommend even young children start flossing as soon as they have two teeth right next to each other.
Studies found that flossing before you brush is more effective than brushing first at removing plaque. When you floss first, you release interdental plaque onto your tooth surface, which needs to be removed with a toothbrush. Also, flossing after brushing may remove some fluoride or hydroxyapatite meant to remineralize your teeth.
How to floss properly, step by step:
- Start with a piece of dental floss 12-18 inches long. Most people do not use a long enough piece of floss. You need this length for stability, cleanliness, and comfort.
- Wrap the floss around your index and middle finger. Hold the string of floss taut with your thumbs.
- Make a C-shape/U-shape that will hug a tooth. Aim for a 1-2 inch section of floss in between your thumbs.
- Gently slide the floss in between two teeth. Do not snap or force the floss, which can irritate your gums.
- Gently rub up and down on both sides of the space between teeth. Most interdental plaque lives under the gum line, so try to floss just under that barrier.
One alternative to flossing is an interdental brush. Interdental brushes clean in between teeth just like flossing.
Silicone dental picks are another alternative to flossing. The soft, thin, easy-to-hold silicone tips fit in between your teeth to remove food particles, while still being gentle on both teeth and gums.
4. Use a Remineralizing Toothpaste
You should use a remineralizing toothpaste to promote healthy teeth. Fluoride, hydroxyapatite, and hydroxyapatite-forming toothpastes all help to build your tooth structure.
The simple purpose of toothpaste is to freshen breath and whiten teeth by removing surface stains. Toothpaste has very little if nothing to do with plaque removal, though some ingredients in toothpaste may support good oral health.
In fact, a 2016 systematic review concluded that toothpaste may not help a toothbrush to remove plaque at all.
Toothpaste is mostly a cosmetic product used to polish teeth. The only medical use of toothpaste is remineralization (rebuilding tooth enamel), which can be achieved by either fluoride, a newer, safer mineral called hydroxyapatite (HAp), or a hydroxyapatite-forming toothpaste like BioMin C.
Whitening toothpastes may offer whitening benefits, but most are abrasive and may harm your tooth enamel. I suggest avoiding them.
5. Use Mouthwash — Carefully
Also called a mouth rinse, mouthwashes are not necessary to take care of your teeth. However, the right mouthwash may prove a valuable addition to your oral care routine.
The 4 purposes of mouthwash are:
- To freshen breath
- To wash away excess food particles
- To destroy harmful bacteria (antibacterial mouthwash only)
- To settle fluoride on tooth surfaces (fluoride mouthwashes only)
If you do not care about avoiding the potentially harmful effects of fluoride, you can choose to pick up a remineralizing mouthwash with fluoride. However, I would not recommend any alcohol-based mouthwash, as this promotes dry mouth, which is terrible for your oral health.
6. Try Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is the oral health practice of swishing coconut oil around your mouth for 20-60 seconds. After your vigorous swish, spit it into the trash.
Note: You spit coconut oil into the trash because it turns into a solid at room temperature, even though it is a liquid in the warmer environment of your mouth. Coconut oil may re-harden and clog pipes.
Research shows that coconut oil pulling may wash away plaque and food particles that you missed with a toothbrush and flossing.
Coconut oil is an anti-inflammatory pain reliever that may fight/prevent plaque buildup on your teeth and decrease inflammation of your gums.
7. Take Oral Probiotics
Oral probiotics are tablets that can provide beneficial bacteria (probiotics) to your oral microbiome. This helps keep your teeth healthy by keeping the harmful bacteria in your mouth under control.
Certain oral probiotics have great health benefits for your oral health:
Always seek medical advice before starting a new supplement, like oral probiotics, to ensure they will not have any adverse effects with other medications or medical conditions.
8. Drink More Water
I’m sure you already know — but water is great for your overall health, including healthy teeth.
Hydration is important to good oral hygiene. Drink more water and consume water-rich produce as much as possible.
When you are dehydrated, your dry mouth can’t produce as much saliva as it needs. A lack of saliva leads to oral health problems because saliva helps wash away food particles in your mouth. Less saliva equals more food particles, which means more harmful bacteria and plaque.
Aim to drink at least 1/2 of your body weight in ounces of water each day.
9. Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
A healthy diet is critical to good oral health. Eating crunchy fruits and vegetables helps produce saliva, which helps wash away food particles in your mouth, which means less dental plaque.
Fibrous, low-sugar foods are what probiotics — healthy bacteria — love to feast on. The more high-fiber foods you eat, the more you’re feeding the bacteria in your oral microbiome that protects against oral health issues.
The lower the sugar content, the better. Here is a helpful list of 14 low-sugar fruits and veggies:
- Bell peppers
The vitamins and minerals in certain fruits and veggies support dental health and remineralize teeth. Many fruits and veggies also contain antioxidants that can protect your teeth and gums from bacterial infection and cell damage.
Crunchy fruits and vegetables also help exercise your jaw.
Calcium- and phosphorus-rich foods, such as leafy greens, support bone and tooth health, including your outer tooth enamel.
What can I eat to strengthen my teeth? To strengthen your teeth, you can eat fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, cheese, leafy greens, drink unsweetened green tea, and chew xylitol gum.
10. Avoid Sugary and Acidic Foods
Sugary and acidic foods contribute to tooth decay. Sugar converts to acid in the mouth, and this can erode your tooth enamel. This is what leads to cavities (tooth decay).
Fortunately, a balanced diet can promote good oral health.
Soft drinks are horrible for your dental health. The sugars feed harmful bacteria in your mouth and on your teeth. Switch soft drinks out for sugar-free beverages — preferably water. Even diet soda is acidic and can wear away your tooth enamel.
Sugar-free yogurt contains probiotics that support your oral microbiome, but without harmful sugars. “Probiotics” are beneficial bacteria and vital to your oral health. Greek yogurt contains more probiotics than plain yogurt.
How can I make my teeth stronger naturally? You can make your teeth naturally stronger by cutting out starchy/sugary foods, avoiding acidic foods, eating crunchy fruits and vegetables, drinking plenty of water, and cleaning your tongue. (Click here to purchase our top-notch tongue cleaners!)
11. Frequent Dental Check-Ups
It is important to visit your dentist’s office every 6 months for your dental check-up.
Frequent dental check-ups (including a teeth cleaning) promote good oral hygiene. Dental healthcare professionals, like dental hygienists, can clean your teeth with professional instruments you can’t use at home. They also ensure you do not have any deeper oral health problems that need to be addressed.
Twice-a-year dental check-ups benefit you because they:
- Prevent tooth decay
- Prevent gum disease and bleeding gums
- Prevents tooth loss
- Can remove tartar, which you can’t safely remove at home
- Detects early stages of disease like oral cancer
- Prevents systemic diseases throughout your body
- Keeps you accountable in your dental care
- Ensures you have a healthy smile
- Saves you money in the long-term
Ultimately, healthy teeth are the product of many different habits you practice each day, from what you eat to when you brush your teeth (and a whole lot more).
Since the health of your mouth impacts the health of your entire body, it’s important to take care of your pearly whites. Otherwise, the concerns that build up over time will become a much bigger problem. After all, you only get one (adult) pair!
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