Many people neglect to care for their teeth and gums for various reasons, including busy work schedules and a lack of dental health awareness. As a result, problems such as tartar, plaque, and tooth decay accumulate, leading to worse conditions.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 46% of adults in the USA aged 30 years and above show signs of gum disease. This oral health condition is aggravated by poor dental hygiene, tobacco use, diabetes, and compromised immune systems. Heart problems and other chronic health conditions may also arise from gum disease and other oral health problems.
In light of this, everyone needs to brush up on their oral routines for better health. Here are essential steps you must take to achieve just that.
Step 1: Stick To Your Preventive Dental Appointments
According to experts, like Grove City Dental and similar ones in your area, daily, personal oral hygiene is an excellent preventive step for teeth and gums. However, not even these hygiene practices can replace in-chair dental teeth cleaning.
The fact is that regular dental hygiene methods don’t remove oral bacteria completely. They stay and accumulate after cleaning the teeth. For this reason, dentists encourage people to book an appointment for regular dental cleanings at least every six months. A thorough dental cleaning procedure can eliminate stubborn germs to better protect your oral health.
Step 2: Eat Teeth-Friendly Foods
Your food choices and eating habits affect your dental health. If you’re fond of eating high-sugar foods, such as chocolates and pastries, and miss brushing your teeth in between meals, you have a high likelihood of experiencing tooth decay sooner.
Start adding more teeth-friendly food to your diet. Examples of these include:
- Cheese, yogurt, milk, and other dairy products
- Leafy vegetables, such as kale and spinach
- Fruits, like pears and apples
- Fatty fish
These foods are high in vitamins (like vitamins C and D), minerals (like calcium), fiber, and other key nutrients that promote good dental health. Always read the label of the food and beverage products you buy to determine their nutrient content.
Step 3: Practice Good Daily Dental Hygiene
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends cleaning your teeth twice daily with a soft brush and fluoride toothpaste. This reduces the risk of gum injury and dental caries while also re-mineralizing the teeth. Do this for two minutes to remove plaque thoroughly and decrease tooth decay risk.
Brush your teeth at a 45-degree angle against the gum line to eliminate plaque from your gingival margin. Use short strokes back and forth on the teeth’s surface. Next, tilt your toothbrush vertically and make up-and-down strokes to clean the inner front teeth surfaces.
The ADA also recommends replacing your toothbrush every three or four months. Matted or frayed bristles also warrant a replacement sooner. Because toothbrushes harbor germs, you can sanitize yours by soaking it in hydrogen peroxide (3% solution).
Step 4: Check For The Signs Of Dental Health Problems
Keeping an eye out for any visible signs of decay or disease is important to avoid complications. Once you see them, set an appointment with your trusted dentist immediately.
In addition, many health issues, such as diabetes, rheumatic heart disease, and mental health problems, can have symptoms in the mouth. Getting these checked out can warn you about other underlying diseases you have.
Here are the common symptoms you should watch out for:
- Gum, toothache, or jaw pain (can be caused by gum disease, sinus problems, stress, or traumatic injury)
- Bleeding gums (often results from gum disease, diabetes, and blood disorders)
- Loose or lost teeth (can be caused by advanced gum disease or an early sign of osteoporosis)
- Recurring bad breath (kidney problems, liver disease, gastrointestinal problems, sinus infection, and gingivitis can cause halitosis or bad breath)
- Oral lumps, sores, and irregular patches (can be indicative of gum disease or oral cancer)
See your trusted dentist as soon as you spot any of these. They may refer you to a medical specialist or other health providers if the signs are actually caused by other problems. This ensures that you stay on top of your health.
Step 5: Use Teeth Only For Their Intended Purpose
Some people use their teeth for opening bottles, tearing plastic or aluminum packaging, and other tasks that may injure the gums and damage the teeth. As much as possible, avoid that. Use your teeth only for chewing food. Otherwise, you risk cracking or loosening some of them.
The oral cavity and its parts are only intended for chewing, which is the first stage of the digestion process. Using them for other purposes opens them up to a lot of issues that leave your mouth in pain or injured.
Smoking and substance abuse also cause problems to your teeth, staining them or inflaming the surrounding tissues. Meanwhile, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other cannabis-related compounds can damage the gums, causing swelling, gingivitis, and infection. People who drink too much alcohol have higher plaque levels, increasing their risk of periodontal disease. You’ll have to cut down on these habits to keep your teeth healthy for much longer.
Step 6: Get Enough Rest And Sleep
Lack of sleep can cause gum irritation and swelling. It can also cause teeth grinding and tooth loss as your body tries to relieve stress while you’re unconscious.
A good night’s sleep reduces stress and encourages the body to produce cytokines. These proteins help fight infection, reducing your risk of tooth decay and gum problems.
Health experts advise adults to sleep seven to nine hours every night. Meanwhile, school-age children must have nine to 11 hours of sleep, and teenagers eight to 10.
To get this much sleep, it’s crucial to develop a healthy sleeping routine. You can start by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.
Time To Brush Up
Achieve long-term dental health by applying the steps above. Feel free to adjust each one and even add more for your specific needs. Just make sure you follow them well into old age. That way, you can continue enjoying improved confidence, easy digestion, and other benefits of good oral health in your senior years.