It’s hard to know what’s actually important to your oral health with all the dental advice online now. Dr. Melanie J. Andrews and her team at Plantation Road Dental Care in Destrehan, LA want you to know the 10 essential dental care tips to help you keep your mouth healthy for years to come.
1. Brush your teeth every day
You’ve been told this since your very first dental visit: brush your teeth twice a day. Brushing removes leftover food particles that can form plaque that feed bacteria, which when left on the teeth can cause cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease.
2. Flossing is as important as brushing
Everyone knows they should be flossing but many of us just don’t do it! Your dental team can tell when you haven’t been flossing by the condition of your teeth. Flossing is important because it removes plaque from between teeth that brushing alone cannot reach. If plaque is allowed to remain in these hard-to-reach places, it could lead to tooth decay, gum disease and eventually even diabetes, cardiovascular problems and Alzheimer’s disease — all of which have linked to gum disease.
3. Use toothpaste with fluoride
Fluoride helps strengthen the teeth, making it an important additive to toothpaste. Fluoride can even reverse early signs of tooth decay such as weak spots in your tooth enamel or exposed roots that could eventually become cavities, reducing the need for fillings.
4. Limit sugar intake, including sugary drinks
Sugar feeds the bacteria that live in our mouths which cause tooth decay. These bacteria feed on the leftover food particles on your teeth, and if the food contains a high sugar content, then the bacteria will multiply even faster. Reducing the amount of sugar in your diet helps keep these destructive bacteria in check.
5. See your dentist twice a year
Routine dental examinations are vital to preserving your oral health. Your dentist can detect early signs of tooth decay before it turns severe which can help you avoid complicated and expensive dental procedures. They will also perform X-rays to ensure the roots of your teeth stable and will continue to support them.
6. Maintain a healthy diet
A healthy diet is essential not only for your overall health, but also for your teeth in ways you might not expect. In addition to the nutrition provided by healthy foods, many fruits and vegetables are chewy and crunchy, which promotes the production of saliva which naturally washes out your mouth.
7. Stay hydrated
Again: Saliva is your friend. Keeping your body hydrated helps your mouth produce saliva to keep your mouth and teeth clean. Saliva washes out the mouth, removing oral bacteria and leftover food particles that they feed upon.
8. Don’t forget to brush your tongue
If your tongue has a white or yellow film on it, you may need to brush it. When you are brushing your teeth, don’t forget to run your brush over your tongue to scrape off the foul-smelling bacteria that cause bad breath.
9. Don’t chew on hard items
This may seem like common sense but… try not to bite down on hard candies or non-food items like pen caps or fingernails. These aren’t meant to be chewed and can damage teeth.
10. Take care of your toothbrush
Your toothbrush doesn’t need to be specially cleaned, but make certain is has been rinsed clean and you let it dry out after every use. Store it upright and exposed to air and your toothbrush will be good to go when you need it again!
Dr. Andrews’ team at Plantation Road Dental Care in Destrehan, LA is here to help you maintain your oral health. Call (985) 231-2770 or contact us online to schedule an appointment to let us help you keep your smile healthy!