According to the National Institute of Health, tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in the United States. When you add other oral health concerns such as overbites and receding gums, the problem becomes even bigger. Luckily, following these 5 rules will ensure that your smile always looks perfect.
Rule #1: Watch What You Drink
You probably know that sugary drinks can cause tooth decay. Unfortunately, you can’t solve that problem by switching to diet soda. Even sodas that replace sugar with artificial sweeteners contain large amounts of citric and phosphoric acid.
Considering that the typical American drinks 44 gallons of soda pop a year, it’s no wonder they get so many cavities.
If you drink sodas, limit them to meals. Drinking them throughout the day harms enamel more. Also, rinse with water immediately after consuming the beverage. This will gently neutralize the acidity. Do not brush your teeth immediately after drinking soda pop. This will worsen the effects of the beverage on your pearly whites.
Rule #2: Do Not Use Tobacco Products
Using tobacco puts you at a high risk for practically all oral health problems. It doesn’t matter whether you smoke or chew, tobacco will damage your teeth.
Some of the most common problems caused by tobacco include:
- decreased blood flow in the gums, which makes you susceptible to infections
- plaque and tartar
- gum disease, which often leads to tooth loss
- oral cancer
- bone loss in the jaw
You can’t do anything worse for your teeth. If you currently use tobacco, start a cessation program as soon as possible. If you don’t use tobacco, don’t start.
Rule #3: See Your Dentist Twice a Year
Image via Flickr by 95Berlin
It doesn’t matter whether you see a dentist in Yukon or Beverly Hills, you should schedule at least two appointments per year.
Taking care of your teeth at home will help your teeth and gums stay healthy. Still, there are things that you can’t do on your own. Dentists can give your teeth a deep cleaning that removes plaque and tartar. They can also use X-rays and other specially designed equipment to check your mouth for signs of damage.
Just because you can’t see a problem doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Dentists know how to spot small problems before they have a chance to affect your health or appearance.
Rule #3: Follow a Brushing and Flossing Regimen
Ideally, you should brush your teeth after every meal and floss at least once a day. This prevents tooth decay and encourages gum health. You’ll get the best results by using a fluoride toothpaste approved by the American Dental Association. Brush for at least two minutes, gently moving the brush to cover all of your teeth.
Tooth decay is a commonly known issue, and every dentist recommends daily brushing and flossing, but few actually take this advice. Only 28.7 percent of women brush after every meal. 56.8 percent brush twice a day. Men are even worse. Only 20.5 percent brush after every meal. 49 percent brush twice a day.
When it comes to flossing, 50.5 percent say they do it daily while 31 percent say they floss less than once a day. 18.5 percent admit that they don’t floss at all.
Rule #4: Consider Braces
The human mouth does a lot of amazing things, but it also has a lot of problems. Teeth often grow in crooked; extra teeth can cause crowding that shifts teeth out of place; experts guess that about 80 percent of people can’t live comfortably with their wisdom teeth.
Given these flaws, few people have naturally straight teeth. That means most people who want perfectly straight teeth need braces or retainers (or, as is often the case, a combination of both).
Your dentist can help you choose braces and retainers that match your mouth and lifestyle. Remember that you will probably need to wear a retainer at night even after having your braces removed. If you don’t the teeth will slowly migrate back to their crooked positions.
Rule #5: Eat Healthy Foods
Avoiding sugary, acidic drinks will help your smile stay healthy. Taking a proactive approach, however, will make them more resilient to decay and other health problems.
Some foods you should include in your daily meals are:
- cheese (it contains a lot of calcium and a protective protein called casein)
- yogurt (again, you get the calcium and casein. It also contains phosphates that add minerals to your teeth)
- celery (the fibrous food cleans between your teeth and produces a lot of saliva, which neutralizes any acids in your mouth)
- broccoli (high in calcium and vitamins to keep your teeth healthy)
What other rules do you have to help keep your smile perfect? Are you one of the lucky people who naturally have strong, straight teeth, or do you have to work for your good looks?