Achieving the Perfect Smile
Pearly whites and perfectly pink gums are sought after features by individuals all over the globe. However, while you can drop some big bucks to get that million-dollar smile if you’d like, it isn’t necessary. Aside from regular visits to your dentist, there are steps you can take on a daily basis to improve your dental health and keep those teeth sparkling white.
Lifestyle Habits and Hygiene Practices to Improve Oral Health
The usual brushing twice a day is excellent, but it is not the only thing you should be doing to practice good oral hygiene. Brushing is kind of like the bare minimum. If you at least do that, then sure, you might be able to maintain healthy teeth and gums for a little while, but eventually, the lack of care will catch up to you. To truly achieve the best oral hygiene possible, you should be doing more than just brushing and visiting your dentist every once in a while.
Some of the following tips might sound familiar, while others might be a little surprising. Most people tend to only think of what they should be doing better when in front of the mirror to improve their oral health. The truth is, there are other ways to practice better dental hygiene that happen outside of the bathroom.
Get More Sun
Yes, that’s right. Sun exposure can help with your oral health. Just as other parts of your body require proper minerals and nutrients to function, so do your teeth. Calcium is the mineral that strengthens the bones in your mouth as well as the tooth enamel. However, calcium is not naturally produced by the body and thus must be absorbed through diet. Vitamin D, which our body gets from the sun, helps the body better absorb and metabolize calcium.
Vitamin D has also been found to produce an antibacterial peptide that helps fight harmful bacteria in the mouth that causes gum disease and tooth decay. So, the next time you are thinking of taking a vacation, you can actually use the excuse that it’s necessary for your health.
Watch Out for Hidden Sugars
From an early age, our parents have warned us about the harmful effects of sugar, telling us it will rot our teeth. While they weren’t wrong, it’s the hidden sugars that tend to cause more harm. When we eat things that obviously contain a lot of sugar, we tend to be a little extra vigilant about brushing our teeth. It’s the sugars that sneak up on us from hidden sources though that causes the most damage. Foods that have more than 15 grams of sugar per 100 grams of food are the ones to look out for. It’s not expected that you will avoid sugar altogether, but paying closer attention to foods that contain more sugar than usual will help you be more vigilant about your oral health.
Drink More Water
Water always seems to be one of those seemingly simple things that can have a powerful impact on our health in a number of ways, and dental health is no exception. What many people don’t know is that America is one of the few countries that put fluoride into its water. Fluoride is often found in most toothpaste because of its ability to fight cavities and prevent plaque buildup. So naturally, drinking more water that contains fluoride will help further prevent tooth decay. Water is also great simply because it helps wash away any leftover food particles or sugars hanging around in your mouth after eating. If you don’t brush your teeth or drink water after a meal, any debris that is left behind will breed bacteria and lead to plaque buildup.
Eat More Crisp and Raw Produce
Fruits and vegetables that are crisp and crunchy not only feed the body much-needed nutrients, but they are great for your teeth as well. Harder, fresh foods, like carrots and apples, help to clean plaque from the teeth, and they also help freshen breath. Some more fibrous foods like celery and oranges not only help clean the teeth, but they also increase salivation, which helps neutralize any acid left behind in the mouth. Additionally, the vitamins your body absorbs from fresh produce like Vitamin C and Vitamin B help fight bacterial infections in the mouth and promote an overall healthy mouth by supporting cell growth.
Spit, Don’t Rinse
You may have heard this one before, but it is not always followed by an explanation. The notion behind this saying is that rinsing your mouth right after brushing will wash away the fluoride left behind by your toothpaste before it has had a chance to do its job. If you are someone who can’t seem to avoid rinsing after brushing, give yourself at least a few minutes first. Brush and then wait at least five to ten minutes, more if you can, before you rinse your mouth out with water.
Don’t Forget About Your Tongue
Many people don’t realize that plaque is not just a problem for teeth, but it can build up on the tongue as well. When the tongue is neglected, it breeds bacteria that cause bad breath, among other oral health issues. If brushing your tongue makes you gag, you can purchase a tongue scraper that is smaller and glides smoother along the tongue to scrape off any excess plaque and food buildup.
How Dr. Butson Can Help
Aside from daily lifestyle changes and oral hygiene practices, you should also schedule regular visits to your dentist. For over 30 years, Timothy J. Butson, DMD, MSD, has been providing the highest quality dental services to the Seattle area. From comprehensive family dentistry to cosmetic dentistry, the team at Dr. Butson’s office offers a variety of services to help you achieve the smile of your dreams. Contact our office today for more information and set up an appointment.