You know dental health is important, and are probably familiar with the basics for maintaining healthy teeth and gums: brush thoroughly and floss every day, and use mouthwash. For most of us, improving our consistency with these habits is the most critical part of oral hygiene. But we’ve collected a few additional ideas for keeping your teeth strong and healthy.
Smoking weakens your teeth and puts you at risk for mouth cancer. Lots of support is available if you try to quit smoking—get plugged in to some resources and make this big move for your health.
Try an electric or battery-powered toothbrush
Powered toothbrushes may seem like an unnecessary use of technology to supplement a simple tool. But the truth is these brushes can be a boon for people with reduced strength or mobility, such as from arthritis, Parkinson’s, or a host of other reasons. They’re also better at cleaning teeth than our imperfect manual attempts! So buying a spinning brush might be the next healthy step your mouth needs.
Drink fewer sugary drinks
We’re not going to tell you that water is the only thing you should drink. But regular consumption of sugary drinks—soda, sweet tea, lemonade, even coffee—can be hard on your teeth. That sugar builds into plaque and the acid eats through the enamel that protects your teeth. Sipping on a sugary drink throughout the day is especially harmful. Consider keeping the sugary beverages to meals only, or swapping out a few drinks for water, which helps rinse your mouth and also contains fluoride to protect your teeth.
Rinse after eating
Ideally, we would brush our teeth at least twice a day, and maybe after every meal. If you can do that, good for you! But it’s not practical for most of us. If pulling out a toothbrush in the office bathroom after lunch isn’t appealing, consider carrying a small bottle of mouthwash for these occasions. You could also use water, or simply make a point to drink a lot of water after a meal. Any of these choices will help clear the food particles and sugar from your mouth so they don’t have time to damage your teeth.
Try healthy snacks
Did you know some foods can help clean your teeth? Foods like crunchy vegetables, nuts, and cheese can help clear food particles and plaque from your teeth. Have them at the end of a meal or throughout the day to do damage-control between brushings. As a bonus, they’re also good for you nutritionally!
Get plenty of Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps keep your bones and teeth strong and healthy. Try to get additional Vitamin D through your diet (fish, cheese, egg yolks, fortified foods), sun exposure (but protect your skin!), and supplements.
Avoid hard candies
This one won’t apply to everyone, but it’s critical. If you eat lots of hard candies, try to cut back on them. Dissolving hard candies in your mouth allows sticky sugars to attach to your teeth and stay there for a long time. Even cough drops can cause damage, although they’re occasionally necessary. Instead, try sugar-free gum or the healthy snacks we previously mentioned.
You deserve a healthy smile
Do you already follow all these tips? Congratulations! You have a winning smile. But if you noticed any areas of improvement, try to take a few small steps toward better dental health. Your teeth will thank you.