Having healthy teeth is not only important for a beautiful smile, but it also plays a crucial role in our overall health and well-being. Poor dental hygiene can lead to various dental problems, such as cavities, gum disease, and even tooth loss. Fortunately, maintaining good dental health is not difficult if you follow the best practices on how to keep your teeth healthy.
12 Ways on How to Keep Teeth Healthy
Here are several ways on how to take care of teeth to help maintain your excellent oral health:
1. Brush Your Teeth Twice a Day with Fluoride Toothpaste and a Soft-Bristled Toothbrush
We hear this a lot, but there’s a reason for it. Brushing your teeth twice daily, in the morning and before bedtime, is essential for maintaining good oral health. It helps remove plaque and food particles that can cause bacteria buildup and increase your risk of tooth decay or dental caries.
Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste to brush your teeth gently in circular motions. In addition, interdental brushes can be used to reach areas a toothbrush may miss. Be sure to replace your toothbrush every three to four months or sooner if the bristles are frayed.
2. Floss Regularly to Help Remove Plaque
Plaque is a film of bacteria that forms on the teeth and gums, which can lead to gum disease.
Brushing can’t reach all the nooks and crannies between your teeth, so it’s crucial to floss at least once a day. Flossing helps remove plaque and food particles stuck between your teeth and prevent them from becoming bacteria. It also helps improve gum health by reducing the risk of gum disease.
3. Use Mouthwash to Help Clean Your Mouth
Mouthwash is not just for freshening your breath. It also helps reduce plaque, prevent cavities, and promote healthy gums. Look for an alcohol-free mouthwash that contains fluoride to get the best results.
4. Eat a Balanced Diet
A diet high in sugar and carbohydrates can be harmful to your teeth. These foods can cause bacteria to thrive, leading to tooth decay. Instead, try incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet, as they contain essential vitamins and minerals that help keep your teeth healthy.
Here are some types of food to incorporate into your diet for healthy teeth and gums:
- Crisp Fruits and Raw Vegetables: Foods like apples, carrots, and celery can help clean plaque from teeth and freshen breath.
- Dairy Products: Milk, yogurt, cheese, and other dairy products are great for strengthening tooth enamel and fighting against cavities, as they are high in calcium.
- Leafy Greens: Foods like kale and spinach promote oral health. They’re high in calcium, which builds your teeth’s enamel.
- Lean Proteins & Seafood: These foods can help strengthen your teeth naturally.
- Nuts: Nuts are another good source of nutrients for your teeth.
- Berries and Citrus Fruits: These fruits are beneficial for oral health.
Remember, while a healthy diet is beneficial for your oral health, it should be part of a balanced diet and not a substitute for good oral hygiene practices.
5. Visit Your Dentist Regularly
This is perhaps one of the most important steps on how to take care of your teeth.
Even if you follow proper oral hygiene practices at home, it’s still crucial to visit your dentist regularly. Dental professionals can spot early signs of dental problems, such as cavities and gum disease, and provide treatment before they worsen. Your dentist can also perform a professional cleaning to remove plaque and tartar buildup that cannot be removed by brushing or flossing alone.
6. Drink Plenty of Water for Hydration
Drinking water is not only good for your overall health but also for your teeth. Water helps wash away food particles, neutralize acids in the mouth, and keep your saliva production at a healthy level. Saliva is essential for maintaining a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria in your mouth.
You may also consume fluoridated water to help prevent tooth decay. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that water fluoridation is one of the most practical, cost-effective, equitable, and safe measures communities can take to prevent tooth decay and improve oral health.
7. Your Teeth Are Not Tools
We’ve all been guilty of using our teeth to open packages or crack open nuts. However, this habit can cause them to crack, chip, or even break. As part of your teeth care routine, use them only for what they’re meant for – chewing food.
8. Limit Your Intake of Starchy Food
Starchy foods can contribute to tooth decay. Starchy and sticky foods like pasta, potatoes, white bread, and rice can stick to your teeth and provide an energy source for bacteria. These foods may seem relatively harmless or even bland, but they can cause an increase in the acid levels of existing bacteria in the mouth.
9. Take Care of Your Oral Health During Pregnancy
Pregnancy can put women at a higher risk of developing dental problems due to hormonal changes. That’s why you should take extra care of your oral health during this time. Make sure to maintain good oral hygiene, schedule regular dental check-ups, and let your dentist know about your pregnancy.
10. Consider Quitting Smoking
Tobacco products not only stain your teeth and cause bad breath but also put you at a higher risk of developing gum disease. It can also delay healing after a dental procedure and increase your chances of developing oral cancer. If you smoke, consider quitting to improve your overall oral health.
11. Avoid Food and Drinks With Sugar
Sugary foods and drinks, such as flavored yogurts, soda, sports drinks, and fruit juice, are risk factors for tooth decay. They can cause tooth decay and cavities due to their high sugar content. If you consume these drinks, rinse your mouth with water afterward or use a straw to minimize contact with your teeth.
12. Limit Your Intake of Acidic Foods and Drinks
Foods and drinks high in acid, such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, and soft drinks, can erode tooth enamel over time. This can lead to tooth sensitivity and increase your risk of developing cavities. Try to limit your consumption of acidic foods or rinse your mouth with water after consuming them.
How Can I Keep My Teeth Strong and Healthy Naturally?
While these methods need more studies and scientific evidence to prove their effectiveness, you can try these natural methods alongside the best practices mentioned above to improve and maintain your teeth health.
Oil pulling is an ancient practice that involves swishing oil, such as coconut or sesame oil, in your mouth for 15-20 minutes and then spitting it out. This process helps remove bacteria and toxins from the mouth, promoting oral health.
Here’s how it’s done:
- Choose an Oil: Traditionally, practitioners use sesame or sunflower oil. However, coconut oil has a pleasant taste and offers additional health benefits that’s why it has become a popular choice.
- Measure the Oil: You need about one tablespoon of oil.
- Swish the Oil Around Your Mouth: Once you have the oil in your mouth, swish it around for about 15-20 minutes. Make sure the oil reaches all parts of your mouth, but avoid swallowing it.
- Spit Out the Oil: Spit the oil into a trash can after swishing. Don’t spit it into the sink or toilet, as it can clog pipes.
- Rinse Your Mouth: Rinse thoroughly with warm water to ensure all the oil is removed.
- Brush Your Teeth: As a final step, brush your teeth as usual. You can do this once a day, preferably in the morning before breakfast.
Activated charcoal is another natural remedy that’s said to promote healthy teeth and gums. It works by binding to toxins and bacteria, helping remove them from your mouth as you spit out the charcoal paste.
Here’s how to use activated charcoal as part of your natural dental care:
- Choose Activated Charcoal: Make sure to use activated charcoal specifically for oral use and not the one used in grills.
- Mix It With Water: Mix a small amount of activated charcoal with water to form a paste.
- Apply the Paste on Your Teeth: Use a toothbrush or finger to apply the paste onto your teeth gently. Let it sit for a few minutes.
- Spit Out the Charcoal: Spit out the charcoal paste and rinse your mouth thoroughly.
- Brush Your Teeth: As a final step, brush your teeth as usual.
Green tea is high in antioxidants that can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Drinking a cup of green tea every day can also reduce bad breath and promote overall oral health. However, avoid consuming too much green tea, as it can stain your teeth. It’s best to wash your mouth or brush your teeth after drinking green tea.
Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that can promote healthy teeth and gums. You can use aloe vera gel as a natural mouthwash or apply it directly to your gums for relief from inflammation.
Here’s how to make an aloe vera mouthwash:
- Mix Aloe Vera Gel with Water: Mix one teaspoon of pure aloe vera gel with half a cup of water.
- Add Essential Oils (Optional): You can add a few drops of peppermint or tea tree essential oil for flavor and added benefits.
- Swish and Spit: Swish the mixture around your mouth for 30 seconds and then spit it out. Don’t swallow it, as aloe vera gel is not meant for ingestion.
- Rinse with Water: Rinse your mouth with water to ensure all the aloe vera gel is removed.
- Store the Remaining Mixture: You can store the remaining mixture in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to five days. Shake well before each use.
Salt Water Rinse
Saltwater has antimicrobial properties that can help reduce inflammation and promote healing in the mouth. It’s also an effective way to remove bacteria and food particles from hard-to-reach areas, such as between teeth.
Simply mix half a teaspoon of salt with warm water and rinse your mouth for 30 seconds before spitting it out. You can do this up to three times a day, especially after meals or sugary drinks.
Turmeric has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that can help prevent gum disease and cavities. You can make a turmeric gel at home by mixing half a teaspoon of turmeric powder with a small amount of water to form a paste. Apply the paste onto your teeth and leave it on for 5-10 minutes before rinsing thoroughly.
Clove has been used as a natural remedy for toothaches and oral health issues for centuries. It contains eugenol, a compound that has pain-relieving and antibacterial properties. You can apply clove oil directly onto your gums or mix it with water to form a mouthwash.
Guava leaves have been found to have antiplaque and antimicrobial properties that can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease. You can chew on fresh guava leaves or boil them in water to make a mouthwash as part of your teeth hygiene.
What Are the Risks of Untreated Tooth Decay?
Untreated tooth decay can lead to several complications and health risks:
Weakening of the Immune System: Poor oral hygiene and the buildup of bacteria in the mouth can weaken your immune system.
- Contribute to Respiratory Diseases. While tooth decay itself is an oral disease, if left untreated, it can lead to severe infections that may spread to other parts of the body, including the respiratory system. In cases of untreated periodontal disease, a type of severe gum disease that can result from untreated tooth decay, the presence of various biologically active molecules and bacteria in the mouth can potentially influence the course of respiratory infections like bacterial pneumonia.
Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: There’s a correlation between poor oral health and heart disease.
Difficulty Chewing: Cavities can lead to pain and discomfort, making it difficult to chew food.
Risk of Infections: Tooth decay and gum disease can potentially lead to serious health problems such as brain or heart infections.
Tooth Abscess: An untreated cavity can lead to an infection in the tooth called a tooth abscess.
Swelling or Pus Around a Tooth: This can be a sign of a bacterial infection resulting from tooth decay.
Chipping of Tooth: Not treating a cavity increases the risk of chipping the compromised tooth.
Loose Teeth and Eventually Tooth Loss: If tooth decay is not treated, it can lead to tooth loss.
Pain and Sensitive Teeth: Untreated tooth decay can cause moderate to severe pain and sensitivity to hot/cold foods or drinks. This is especially difficult for children as it can affect their eating and sleeping habits.
Gum Pain and Swelling: Tooth decay can lead to gum pain and swelling.
Treating tooth decay early can prevent these complications. Regular dental check-ups can help identify tooth decay at an early stage.
Prevention Is Key
Having excellent oral health depends on your commitment to good oral hygiene. Remember that preventing tooth decay and other dental issues is easier and less expensive than treating them. Follow the tips mentioned in this guide, and make sure to visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings. By taking care of your teeth and gums, you can enjoy a healthy smile for years to come!
Need more professional advice on how to keep your teeth healthy or an experienced dentist for check-ups and cleanings? Contact Shoreline Dental Care today!
Our experienced team of dental professionals is dedicated to helping you achieve and maintain healthy teeth and gums. Together, we can create a customized plan that fits your needs and lifestyle. Don’t wait until it’s too late – start taking care of your oral health now!