Good oral health is important to live a comfortable life. It helps you gain confidence with your smile. It can also help you lower your risk of diseases. For instance, poor oral health can lead to not just dental problems but also heart disease and cancer.
The ways to take care of your teeth and gums are pretty straightforward. You must brush your teeth twice a day, for two minutes each, and gargle fluoridated mouthwash. You also need to floss every day. Lastly, getting regular cleaning at the dentist is important to keep your teeth and gums in tip-top shape.
But aside from these, you can take things up a notch and develop other healthy habits to improve your dental health.
Drink Lots of Water
Staying hydrated benefits not only your physical health but also your dental health. Water rinses your teeth and washes off the acids left on them. Water can also remove food debris. They can contribute to the development of bacteria that cause cavities. Thus, drinking water helps you avoid cavities in your teeth. Drinking water regularly also improves gum health by keeping your gums hydrated.
Many health experts recommend drinking eight glasses of water a day. But your water intake will still depend on you. For example, if you work out, you’ll need to drink more water than the average person. The important thing is to listen to your body. When you feel like your mouth or throat is dry, don’t ignore it and drink water. Keep a bottle of water by your side at all times to encourage yourself to stay hydrated.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Mindful eating will also help in improving your dental health. According to the American Dental Association, some foods to add to your diet for better oral health include the following:
- dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt
- lean protein such as meat and fish
- fruits and vegetables
These foods benefit your teeth in their own ways. For example, dairy and lean protein products have protein and calcium that strengthen your teeth. Snacking with unprocessed fruits, vegetables, and nuts will keep your oral muscles strong. They also encourage saliva production. It keeps your mouth moist, prevents bad breath, and prevents tooth decay.
Avoid Sugary Foods and Drinks
Sugary food and drinks are bad for your teeth and gums. In the U.S., drinking sugar-sweetened drinks is the most common cause of tooth decay among children. If they develop bad eating habits and ruin their teeth at a young age, this can affect their self-confidence. Sure, if the worst comes, they can get tooth implants to restore their smile. But it’s still important to avoid sugary food and drinks as regular consumption of these can also lead to other health problems that will be much more difficult to address.
If you want to eat something sweet, choose fruits over candies and chocolates. If you can’t help but consume food with excess added sugars, make sure that you compensate through proper dental hygiene.
Don’t Brush Immediately After Meals
Some people think that they should brush their teeth right after consuming sugary food and drinks. They think that since sugar is bad for the teeth, they need to clean it immediately through brushing. But doing this can actually do more harm than good.
After consuming something sugary, it will leave acid and sugar on your teeth. They stay on the first layer of your teeth, the enamel, for quite some time. If you immediately brush your teeth, you will be spreading the acid all over them. They can weaken the enamel and damage your teeth in the long run.
The rule of thumb is to wait at least 30 minutes before you brush. This gives your mouth enough time to wash off the acids and sugars from your teeth.
Regular exercise is key to better oral health. A study published in the Journal of Dentistry revealed that physically active people are less likely to develop periodontitis. And the fact that exercising will benefit physical and mental wellness, too, only warrants the need to engage in regular physical activity.
The recommended physical activity for adults is 150 to 300 minutes of modern-intensity workout or 75 minutes of high-intensity workout each week. If you’re coming from a sedentary lifestyle, though, you need to take things slow. Start with low-intensity exercises, such as yoga or walking.
Maintaining good dental health takes more than just brushing your teeth and flossing. Developing healthy habits that benefit your dental health will do you well in the future.