Caring for teeth requires a bit more effort than a quick brushing in the morning and again before bedtime.
The good news is that it really doesn’t take that much of an effort to practice good dental hygiene and once you have a good routine in place it will become just another part of your day.
And the payoff is massive – avoid the gum disease and cavities that lead to toothache, fillings, crowns, root canals and even tooth loss.
Here are some basic tips:
1. Brush your teeth after every meal – and floss morning and night.
First the brushing, take your time and make sure you cover the teeth at the back of the mouth thoroughly. Change your toothbrush regularly – if it has lost its “bite” it won’t do the job! Floss between all your teeth, not just those at the front where food debris is more visible. Finally, carry a toothbrush and toothpaste with you to work or school so you can clean your teeth after your lunch!
2. Eat a good, nutritious diet and cut down on snacking.
OK, you know about junk food, but some folks think it’s fine to wash down a very healthy salad with a sugary soft drink. Wrong! Keep the sweet stuff to an absolute minimum – water is a far better choice with a meal. And speaking of sweet stuff, candy bars, cookies, pastries and the like are the mortal enemies of healthy teeth. If you must snack between meals try some raw vegetables or low-sugar, low-sodium crackers.
3. Get your teeth cleaned by a professional hygienist at least once a year – preferably twice.
Your hygienist will gently remove plaque and the nasty stuff that builds up below your gums and which can lead to some ugly problems if left undisturbed. Your teeth will also likely be given a polishing that will have them gleaming. Hygienists also notice gums that are swollen or prone to bleeding – definite signs of trouble – so follow their advice if you’ve been slacking off on brushing and flossing.
Finally, get a good dental insurance plan or dental discount plan so you’re covered for regular visits to the dentist for cleaning and routine dental care. If you have no coverage you are less likely to get your teeth professionally cleaned – and you are going to find it really expensive if a raging toothache finally drags you to a dentist.