A smile is a curve that sets everything straight. But things can go topsy-turvy when those straight teeth go all curvy. Good oral hygiene and regular dental checkups will help you maintain healthy teeth and gums and in turn, a hail and hearty smile!
Here are some oral hygiene tips to help you protect those pearly whites and keep your smile on the right track.
Brush at least twice a day
One of the most basic things one can do to keep a shining smile, starts with brushing regularly in the morning and before going to bed at night. The best time to brush teeth is after meals but not immediately after, as doing so can alter the pH levels in your mouth. Choose a toothbrush with a small head and thin bristles that have a zigzag design for better access to the back teeth. Soft bristles are kinder on your gums while a medium brush is more effective in dealing with plaque build-ups. So, choose wisely.
While we’re on the topic of brushing, it is only fair to mention that you should ensure you brush your teeth thoroughly. Tooth brushing should take between two to three minutes and not less. Always follow correct brushing techniques and aim for circular strokes rather than linear ones. You can always ask your dentist to give you a demonstration on the correct method of brushing.
Floss your teeth daily
You shouldn’t floss with the sole intention of removing food from between teeth. You do it mainly to get rid of plaque, a bacterial film that forms between teeth and along your gum line too. Flossing daily prevents gum disease and tooth loss. Everyone gets plaque, and it can only be removed by flossing or a professional cleaning by your dentist. Use a slow sawing motion when you floss and always remember to be gentle.
Use toothpastes which contain fluoride
Fluoride not only helps to harden a tooth’s enamel but it also reduces the risk of tooth decay in the future. Always check the ingredients mentioned on the box of your toothpaste brand to know if it contains fluoride or not. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by slowing the breakdown of enamel and increasing the rate of the re-mineralization process.
See your dentist for regular check-ups
You should never neglect visiting your dentist as and when you detect dental problems such as a toothache or bleeding gums. When dental issues go untreated, you can only expect them to aggravate overtime and you could end up losing a tooth. Make it a point to schedule a dental check-up at least once every 6 months.
Limit acidic drinks, especially aerated soft drinks
Acids found in foods soften tooth material and dissolve minerals in tooth enamel. This leads to holes (cavities or caries) in your teeth. In very severe cases, teeth may be ‘eaten’ right down to the gum. Most aerated drinks are extremely acidic in nature, and the sugar content in them tends to cause them to stick to your teeth and corrode away enamel. So next time you reach for a nice cold drink, try choosing cold water instead.
Avoid using your teeth for anything other than chewing food
Many people make the common mistake of using their teeth as bottle openers. I was one of them too, cracking open beer bottles with my molars when out with friends. Until one fateful day when I chipped my molar, and boy, was it painful! If you use them to crack nuts, remove bottle tops or rip open packaging, you risk chipping or even breaking your teeth.
The next time you think of using your teeth to open or break something open, just remember that bottle openers and nutcrackers can be bought, your teeth can not! Always take good care of your pearly whites and they’ll keep you smiling for years to come… Literally