Looking for some straightforward, simple ways to boost your oral (and overall) health? Here are some smart things you can do to encourage better oral wellness for both yourself and your family.
- Drink More Water
Tap water is fluoridated, giving you a boost when it comes to remineralizing week, decalcified tooth enamel. Fluoride also helps strengthen your bones, just like calcium does! Drinking more water from the tap helps you ensure you get the right balance of this vital mineral, whereas bottled waters don’t always regulate their fluoride levels.
Water is also a natural cleanser. So, every time you drink it, you’re helping to rinse your mouth free of acids, bacteria, and food debris. While rinsing your mouth doesn’t replace toothbrushing and flossing, it can definitely help you keep your mouth fresher throughout the day while you’re running around and doing errands.
- Find an Easy Way to Clean Between Your Teeth
Toothbrushing only cleans about 2/3 of your tooth surfaces. You still have to find a way to clean the other 1/3 of them. That means using something—such as floss, a floss pick, or a water flosser—to clean in-between.
Since so many people dislike using traditional floss, a great alternative is swapping it out for a water flosser. While it does take a bit of practice to get used to water flossing, you’re able to clean practically everywhere, including places flossing won’t even reach. They’re great for people who have pockets from gum disease as well as orthodontic patients.
- Chew Gum with Xylitol
Xylitol is a sugar substitute that’s found in certain brands of sugar-free gums. It’s also in other items you’ll find at health food stores, such as drops, lozenges, and sprays. But xylitol is different from other sweeteners in that it basically stops dental plaque from being able to stick to teeth. Chewing it helps lower bacterial levels inside of your mouth, essentially making your teeth “cleaner” so to speak. Just keep in mind that it doesn’t replace brushing or flossing!
Consider keeping xylitol gum on hand in your purse, car, or desk drawer. That way you can chew it whenever you’re between meals or you know it’s going to be a few hours before you get to brush your teeth.
- Swap Soda for Sugar-Free Sparkling Water
Having trouble kicking the soda habit? According to the ADA, sugar-free sparkling water isn’t all that bad for your teeth (at least compared to soda.) As long as you drink sugar-free carbonated water, you’re giving yourself something to enjoy without the added risk of sugar and highly acidic pH. Sparkling water has a relatively mild pH, making it much safer on your smile than a lot of other options out there. Just be sure to pick one that’s sugar-free.
While we’re on the topic, consider cutting back on sports drinks too. Although they’re technically looked at as “healthy”, these beverages tend to be high in sugar. A lot of recreational athletes put their oral health at risk because of a high intake of sports drinks.
- Rinse with Fluoride Before Bedtime
A fluoride rinse each night before bed can help you remineralize weak enamel and stop erosion while you’re sleeping. Just be sure to brush first, rinse for the prescribed amount of time, and not rinse with any water afterward. If you’re at fairly high risk for tooth decay, Dr. Huynh can prescribe a more highly concentrated fluoride gel to brush with instead.
- Invest in a Better Toothbrush
Having a high-quality toothbrush on hand can help you remove more plaque buildup. Although manual brushes work just fine, you get thousands of more micro-strokes from an electric version. Just be sure it’s gentle and has soft or extra-soft bristles. Anything too aggressive (or cheaply made) could be so rough that it contributes to gum recession.
- See Your Dentist on Time
People with healthy mouths typically need to schedule a dental checkup at least once every six months. If you have dental insurance, most plans fully cover a preventative care appointment at least twice a year. During your visits, Dr. Huynh will evaluate your mouth to screen for early warning signs of common oral problems. That way we can take steps to reverse them or intercept them as early as possible, through minimally invasive techniques.
Has it been six months or longer since your last dental exam and cleaning? Call Eastport Dental today to schedule an appointment with our Mesa dentist.