These days, teeth have become an important fashion accessory. Everyone wants his or her smile to be just as white, bright and dazzling as that of any Hollywood celebrity.
A great smile starts with healthy teeth. Here are five dental habits to develop that will give you the best smile possible and help you keep that smile for a lifetime:
• Floss: You need to floss, at least once a day, every single day. Probably 9.7 out of 10 of my dental patients get this mini-lecture at their checkups, and I’m sure that number isn’t too far off for other dentists. Toothbrushes can’t get to the food particles and plaque that collects between your teeth.
Plaque is that white sticky stuff that forms on everyone’s teeth. It is composed of bacteria that if left undisturbed by a lack of good brushing and flossing, can cause a world of damage to our teeth, gums and the bone that surrounds and supports our teeth. Dentures and dental implants will put a serious dent in your bank account, but the alternative is a smile with big black gaps in it. No one wants that, so floss.
If you see blood when you floss, it doesn’t mean you should stop. It means you should floss more often and better. Healthy gums don’t bleed. Get and keep gums healthy by daily brushing, flossing and getting a professional cleaning every six months.
• Brush well: Brush your teeth with whatever makes you happy and helps you do a good job. The only “must” is to be sure the bristles are soft or extra-soft. Lots of time and research has been spent comparing standard toothbrushes to electric toothbrushes. Electric toothbrushes are great for those who might have physical limitations or those who enjoy gadgets, but a regular toothbrush and proper brushing technique is just as good at removing plaque.
While you are brushing, don’t forget to brush your tongue. Food particles and bacteria can easily become trapped in the tongue’s rough surfaces, causing bad breath, irritation, and in some cases, strange things dentists prefer to see only in textbooks. Either use your toothbrush or buy a tongue scraper at your local drugstore.
• See a dentist: If your tooth hurts, don’t wait until it hurts more. The longer you wait, the more painful and expensive the cure will be. Early signs of decay or gum disease most likely will have an easier and less expensive fix than if you wait until you have a roaring toothache. The average cost of a simple filling ranges from $50 to $300 depending on the material used. The average cost of a root canal and crown is $1,700 to $3,200. Wouldn’t you rather spend that money having fun?
• Regular checkups: It’s very important to see your dentist for a checkup every six months. If you want to keep anything for a long time, you have to maintain it. If you don’t check the oil in your car, the engine will be destroyed. If you ignore your teeth, they also could stop working for you. A dentist can spot potential trouble in its very early stages, even before you start to feel it.
• Healthy diet: Eat like a cave man. Hollywood would have you believe that the teeth of our prehistoric ancestors were rotten to the core, but a 2012 study of ancient human teeth showed that cavities were rare. Humans began having problems with cavities and swollen gums when they started eating high amounts of sugar, grains and carbohydrates. Shift your diet to include more nuts, vegetables and meat – the type of diet our ancestors ate. Your waistline also will likely thank you.
Source: UT San Diego / http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/apr/01/dental-teeth-dentist-health/