Your Teeth

Toothbrush photo credit: Marc Samsom via photopin cc

1. Brush

Brushing two to three times a day helps keep teeth and gums healthy, prevents and slows down diseases of tooth decay and gum inflammation, freshens the breath, and, as studies are showing, maintains a healthier body.

2. Floss

Well, you knew this was coming.  Floss gets into the places the toothbrush cannot, and visa versa.  Together, the brush and floss are a formidable team against bacteria that attack teeth and gums.  Floss once a day.  Look into my Dental Blog for instructions on how to floss properly.  Yes, Freddy, there is a proper way to floss.  By the way, only floss the teeth you want to keep.  The rest, let’m rot.  (You realize of course, this is irony.)

3. Fluoride

Fluoride has been proven in study after study for more than a century to be an effective deterrent to tooth decay.  In the years of tooth formation (birth to 15 or 16), fluoride vitamins or fluoridated water is encouraged for a lifetime of strong teeth.  The toothbuds are able to take the fluoride, given in the proper dose, and incorporate it into the developing tooth structure.  The fluoride then makes the minerals of the teeth quite resistant to bacterial acids that threaten to dissolve away the enamel and dentin.  Fluoridated toothpaste applies this resistance to the surface of the teeth after tooth eruption.  Please see my Dental Blog for the proper dose of fluoride vitamins during childhood and the age-appropriate amount of toothpaste to use.

Your Teeth

Check Up photo credit: ELTMAN via photopin cc

4. Regular Check-ups

Regular check-ups attempt to head off any problems before they become worse, maintain healthy gums, remove tartar buildup, polish off stains, and reinvigorate your daily oral hygiene.  Go team!

5. A Dentist

Sometimes teeth just need a dentist.  Life’s not perfect and things happen.  The car needs a mechanic, the kid needs a tutor, the marriage needs a second honeymoon, the appendix needs a surgeon.  Well, the same: The mouth needs a dentist from time to time to be restored to health, function, and beauty and to keep problems from spreading to other parts of the body.

6. A Hygienist

This is the person in your corner, cheering and cajoling you to dental health, an integral part of your dental team.  Go back and review Regular Check-ups.

7. Low-Sugar Diet

A body’s got to eat something.  Problem is that our high-sugar diet ruins our teeth.  Look for healthy and delicious snacks of fruit or raw veggies.  Save your sugars for dessert after a good meal high in protein and fiber.  Then go brush your teeth.

8. Power Toothbrush

You will not believe how clean a good power toothbrush can get your teeth.  Now, don’t scrub with it, just give it a chance to do its work.  Don’t press too hard but do let the toothbrush contact the teeth, the tops, the sides, the backs.  Some power toothbrushes will let you know if you’re pressing too much and have different settings for near the gums.  Many power toothbrushes will time you, and one gives you a smiley face after two minutes and a wink after two and a half minutes!

9. Spit

Believe it:  Spit helps.  Many medications and conditions can lower the amount of spit in the mouth and this can easily lead to more frequent and more aggressive decay.  The reason is that spit contains not only lubricants but antibodies to fight plaque and their acidic environments.  If you feel low on saliva, we can recommend products to help.

Your Teeth

Mouthguard photo credit: Groovnick via photopin cc

10. Athletic Mouthguard

An active lifestyle can lead to injury.  In sports – especially contact sports of football, basketball, and hockey – an athletic mouthguard can go a long way in protecting the teeth from the injuries of becoming chipped, broken, or knocked out.  Please see my Dental Blog about what to do if trauma occurs.