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Our smiles are one of our most important features—and not only appearance-wise! They help us break down the food we eat, for our bodies to digest. We need our teeth! Tooth decay can be nasty. So get in the know with these helpful guidelines, to keep your pearly whites looking bright and staying healthy!
1. Visit the Dentist Regularly. Don’t be scared, the dentist can help you! You should have a professional cleaning every six months to prevent cavities and decay.
2. Flossing and Brushing is essential. Make sure to floss first because it removes the food that gets stuck between teeth, which makes brushing more effective.
3. Avoid Toothpicks. Toothpicks can cause damage to gums and teeth. Although they can remove trapped food, it’s very tricky to use them correctly.
4. Replace your Toothbrush. Overtime, the bristles in a toothbrush fray, flatten, and wear out. To keep your brush its most effective, change it out every three or four months, and at the end of an illness if you get sick.
5. Eat Cheese. The casein and whey protein in cheese stops tooth enamel damage by reducing demineralization. Its calcium also helps build tooth enamel. More vitamin D in your diet can help your body absorb calcium. Include fish, milk, and eggs in your diet.
6. Eat Foods that Brighten Teeth. Strawberries have been known to have natural teeth-whitening capabilities. Make sure to brush after eating teeth staining foods like blueberries, coffee, and wine. Don’t smoke, but if you do, be sure to brush after cigarettes too. After brushing, eat apples, pears, carrots, or celery, which increase saliva production, to keep teeth stronger and whiter.
7. Don’t Forget to Brush your Tongue. Gently brushing your tongue wipes off the bacteria that cause bad breathe.
8. Stop Dry Mouth. Saliva keeps your mouth and teeth healthy. To keep your mouth moist, drink more water or chew sugar-free gum after meals.
9. Wait to Medicate. The American Dental Association (ADA) has reported that over 500 medications (including common pain relievers and antihistamines) can cause dry mouth, which stops salvia production and increases the risk of cavities.
10. Control Acid Reflux. If you’re sensitive, keep it under control to preserve your tooth enamel. Common trigger foods include chocolate, alcohol, caffeine, garlic, onions, dairy, spicy, fatty, and fried foods.
Everyday Bad Habits To Avoid
1. Skip the Sugar. Sugar is the most dangerous and disastrous thing for your teeth. The longer it’s in your mouth, the more damaging it is. When bacteria in the mouth consume the sugars you eat, it produces acid, and in doing so removes tooth enamel. This includes foods with carbohydrates, as their starches convert down to sugar. Also avoid foods that stick in your teeth longer like jelly candies, caramels, and even dried fruit. Stick to fresh fruit for a “natural” sugar high.
2. Beware of Beverages. It’s important to watch what you drink. Almost all drinks besides water are bad for teeth. Soda, even if it’s club, sugar-free, or calorie-free, is still bad. They have a high-acidity content, as does most every juice on the market. These beverages soak and bathe in your teeth. Limit alcohol consumption. This includes wine, beer, and hard liquor. Alcohol dries out your mouth, which reduces saliva production and speeds up the erosion process. Saliva actually serves as a protectant that removes built up plaque and bacteria accumulations from the surface. Less plaque results in less risk for tooth decay. Always be sure to rinse out your mouth with water between drinks, brushing and flossing, and after eating sugary or acidic foods.
3. The Ice Cold Truth. Chewing on your fingernails, pens, pencils, bobby pins, ice and other objects can cause wear and tear on your tooth and the enamel surface that covers the tooth. And if your teeth have worn down or are chipped, the ice can easily cause more damage to the tooth structure. Instead, chew on grapes, sugar-free gum, or drink cold water to get that soothing feeling.
4. Other Risks. Don’t use your teeth to do your dirty work. Using teeth to snap off bottle caps, remove tags, or open bags should never be done! Smoking cigarettes can also negatively affect oral health to both teeth and gums. Nicotine yellows teeth and can cause cancers of the mouth.
Worst Foods for Teeth
• Starchy Foods (Breads, Pastas, Rice, Potatoes)
• Soda, Juices
• Alcohol (Wine, Beer, Liquor)
• Coffee and Tea
Best Foods for Teeth
• Fresh Fruits and Veggies
• Fish/Flaxseed/Omega 3
• Cheese and Milk
• Dark Chocolate
Remember to avoid foods that are sticky, gummy, chewy, starchy, and overly sweet. Break your bad habits to take the best possible care of your teeth! Oral health is important, not just on the outside, but also on the inside. After all—we only get one set of teeth. Use them wisely!