With all the health advice available today, it’s hard to know what’s actually important to your oral health. Dr. Mark S. Jefferies and his dental team in Herndon, VA want you to know the top 10 dental care tips so you can keep your mouth and body healthy for years to come.
1. Brush your teeth every day
You’ve been hearing this advice since you could talk: brush your teeth twice a day. Brushing removes leftover food particles that combine with bacteria, which when left on the teeth can cause cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease.
2. Flossing is as important as brushing
Your hygienist knows when you haven’t been flossing! Flossing is important because it removes plaque from between teeth that a brush alone wouldn’t be able to reach. If plaque remains in these hard-to-reach places, you could find yourself dealing with gum disease, which is linked to cardiovascular problems and Alzheimer’s.
3. Use toothpaste with fluoride
Fluoride is an important ingredient in toothpaste because it helps strengthen the teeth. It can reverse early signs of tooth decay such as weakened spots in the enamel or exposed roots that could eventually become cavities.
4. Limit sugar intake, including sugary drinks
Sugar contributes to tooth decay because it feeds the bacteria that live in our mouths. Bacteria feed off of the leftover food particles on the teeth, and if the food contains a high sugar content, bacteria can multiply even faster. Reducing the amount of sugar in your diet will help keep oral bacteria at bay.
5. See your dentist twice a year
Regular dental exams are essential to preserving your oral health. Your dentist can spot early signs of tooth decay before they become severe, helping you avoid complex dental procedures. They will also perform X-rays to ensure your teeth are well-supported.
6. Maintain a healthy diet
A healthy diet is important not just for overall health, but is important for your teeth in ways you might not expect. In addition to good nutrition provided by healthy foods, a lot of fruits and vegetables are crunchy and chewy, which promotes saliva production. Foods that require a lot of chewing are good for the teeth because more saliva means the mouth is naturally washed out more often.
7. Stay hydrated
Keeping your body hydrated helps your mouth produce enough saliva, which keeps teeth clean. Saliva washes out the mouth, which removes oral bacteria and leftover food particles.
8. Don’t forget your tongue
If your tongue has a white or yellow film on it, you might be forgetting to brush it. When you brush your teeth, don’t forget to run over your tongue to remove foul-smelling bacteria that can cause bad breath.
9. Don’t chew on hard items
This may go without saying, but try not to bite down on hard candies or even non-food items like pen caps or fingernails. This can damage teeth.
10. Take care of your toothbrush
Your toothbrush doesn’t need any special cleaning, but make sure it dries after each use and there is no leftover toothpaste. Store it upright and exposed to air and your toothbrush will be good to go!
Dr. Jefferies’ team is here to help you maintain your oral health. Schedule an appointment today at (703) 570-1152 to keep your smile healthy!