Close
Image description

Tips for Better Dental Health

August 8th, 2012 Healthy Living

Having good dental health takes diligence and effort, but the routine maintenance is worth it when you can proudly show off those pearly whites. Proper hygiene practices should be a daily affair, and you can help keep your teeth cavity free if you're conscious of your habits. Here are a few tips for maintaining good dental hygiene.

Brush your teeth

Brushing your teeth is the most effective way to fight plaque and avoid cavities. Aim to brush at least twice a day - after you wake up and before you go to bed. If you have the opportunity, you might want to brush a third time, preferably after lunch or a sugary snack.

Besides having a steady brushing regimen, you also need to have the proper technique. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), your toothbrush should be at 45-degree angle as you softly go back and forth over each individual tooth. It's vitally important that you reach every surface. You might want develop a brushing pattern to make sure nothing gets missed. For example, begin with your two front teeth, then go left to right. After, do the bottom teeth and end by scrubbing the backs - the whole routine should take around two minutes. The ADA also recommends brushing your tongue to rid yourself of any lingering bacteria.

Use a soft-bristle brush to minimize any unnecessary wear and tear on your gums. You may want to purchase a new one every few months, or sooner if you notice the bristles are frayed or discolored.

Floss in between

While brushing helps keep the surfaces of your teeth clean, it does little to eliminate lingering plaque in between your teeth. Flossing is the ideal way to clean all those nooks and crannies that the bristles can't reach. The ADA notes that you should use about 18 inches of floss and, just like brushing, it's most effective with the proper technique. Hold the floss in between your thumb and forefinger and guide it into each crevice lightly. Bring the floss up around the C-shape of each tooth where it meets the gum, then move the string back and forth as you go up and down each crack.

Eat the right foods

Diet is another key factor in maintaining proper dental hygiene. Eating fruit, according to KnowYourTeeth.com, will massage your gums, and the high vitamin C content is important in fighting gum disease. Many vegetables are also rich with vitamin A, which is beneficial for maintaining tooth enamel. The source also reports that fibrous foods like celery clean your teeth, and their ability to make you salivate helps neutralize harmful bacteria.

Be sure to drink water throughout the day as well - not only does it help clean out bacteria, but most drinking water has fluoride added, which keeps teeth strong. Another beverage that you may want to indulge in is green tea. Prevention.com notes that the antioxidants found in the drink are beneficial because they diminish the growth of harmful bacteria.

Try to stay away from sweets like soda and candy. LiveStrong.com reports that the bacteria in our mouths feed off of sugar and creates an acid that eats away at our chompers. Although starchy foods like bread and potato chips might not have a sweet taste, they're laden with sugar and it's best to avoid them as well. The source also notes that citrus fruits like lemons can pose a hazard to our teeth due to their high citric acid content. While enjoying them in moderation is okay, you may want to abstain from drinking too much fruit juice or regularly sucking on lemons or oranges.