A healthy mouth, free of infections, injuries and other problems with teeth and gums, is important in maintaining your overall health. Disease and other conditions can affect your dental health and dental problems can affect other parts of your body. Failing to properly care for your oral health may lead to other health problems.
You can help prevent or minimize many oral health problems by regular preventive steps :
- Toothbrush : Choose a brush with a medium sizes head (about 1/2 an inch wide and 1 inch long). Soft bristles help avoid damage to the gums and enamel (the thin outer covering of the tooth). Toss brushes when the bristles start to fray (usually every two or three months) or after you’ve been sick.
- Toothpaste : Contain abrasives and detergents to reduce plaque and surface stains. Some have ingredients to help strengthen enamel, or reduce plaque, gingivitis, tartar, sensitivity, or bad breath. “Natural” toothpastes have fewer chemicals (like added colours and flavours). Have sensitive teeth? Try a paste with desensitising agents, which help stop sensations (like extreme heat or cold) from reaching the tooth’s nerve.
- Mouthwash : 30 seconds of an antibacterial rinse can kill the bacteria along the gum line that cause gingivitis. The ADA doesn’t actually recommend using mouthwash, but it does recognise the health benefits of doing so.
- Floss : For tight fitting teeth use waxed floss, which easily glides into small spaces. For wider spaced teeth, use tape-style or regular un-waxed floss. Not a fan of the floss? Try using a flossing pick.
- Whitening : The best way to whiten is to go to the dentist for a professional treatment. For less intensive whitening, try a commercial whitening kit at home (with either bleaching gels and trays or strips). Bleaching can irritate teeth and gums, so be careful with the strong stuff. Whitening toothpastes can help, but are not as long lasting. Whitening toothpastes can help, but are not as long lasting. Because all toothpastes contain abrasives (which help within), the best way to get whiter teeth for life is to brush and floss regularly.
- Fluoride : Fluoride protects teeth from being broken down by acids when sugars in food combine with saliva. It can also help rebuild weak areas of the teeth. A version of fluoride can be added to town water supplies to strengthen the teeth of those who drink it. Fluoride can also be found naturally in foods like meat, fish, eggs, and tea leaves. Fluoride is very important for children, but adults also need it to protect against cavities and decay.
Keep your teeth healthy & happy.