Healthy teeth are more than just cosmetic. Strong healthy teeth allow you to chew well for good nutrition and they mean no toothache, pain or gum disease which research shows is linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Here are 10 ways to ensure a lifetime of healthy teeth.
1. Start Early
As soon as that first tooth appears at around six months of age, responsible parents should be encouraging good dental care. Clean baby teeth with a soft brush and supervise brushing when children start to brush for themselves, around the age of 2.
2. Dental Sealants
Protect your child's molars with a dental sealant. Talk to your dental professional about the importance of this procedure for healthy teeth.
3. Protect with Fluoride
Check whether your water is fluoridated. If not, make sure you always buy toothpaste and mouthwash that contains fluoride to support strong healthy teeth. However, there is significant controversy over the safety of fluoride usage. Do your own research and make dental health decisions based on what you learn.
4. Twice a Day Routine
Teeth should be cleaned at least twice a day – and that means using a toothbrush AND floss to clean between the teeth. Don’t forget to clean your tongue with a tongue scraper, to remove bacteria and prevent bad breath. Rinsing with warm water and sea salt is also a natural and healthy habit to include.
5. New Toothbrush
Find a toothbrush that suits your teeth and grip. Electric toothbrushes are thorough and easy to use. Remember that toothbrushes need to be replaced as soon as the bristles start to show wear; usually every six months.
6. Eat Healthily
According to Anthony M. Iacopino DMD, PhD., omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and lower the risk of gum disease, an important part of maintaining healthy teeth. Eating whole foods, grains, nuts, fruit and vegetables also support healthy teeth along with calcium from dairy products.
7. Avoid sugar
When sugars are dissolved in the mouth, they produce acid which erodes tooth enamel and allows tooth decay. Sugary carbonated drinks and candies are the worst culprits, so avoid or brush after consuming.
8. Protect teeth
Wear a mouth guard or full-face helmet to protect healthy teeth when you play contact sports or go skateboarding or roller blading. It will avoid disfigurement if you sustain a blow to your teeth.
9. Regular Dental Checkups
Regular visits to the dentist every six months allows any problems to be identified and corrected, long before they cause serious damage or decay which may mean fillings, crowns or even extractions.
10. Avoid Misuse
Heathy teeth are designed for chewing food, not for removing bottle caps, opening packaging or biting hard objects. Teeth can easily get chipped or broken and don't re-grow, so use your teeth for the purpose for which they were designed. You won't get a third set!
Anyone can have strong healthy teeth for life if they follow the above tips. Don't let laziness and poor dental habits rob you of that healthy smile.