Keeping your teeth and gums healthy may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be! With these tips on dental health for adults, you can keep your teeth in great shape long into the future!
Brush your teeth in the morning, before bed, and any time you eat or drink
Brushing your teeth is a must—not only because it helps fight tooth decay and gum disease, but also because it gets rid of plaque. The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time. If you do it after meals and snacks, you’ll reduce cavities and have a fresher breath as well! (See How Often Should I Brush My Teeth?)
Brush with fluoride toothpaste
Fluoride is a natural mineral that works by strengthening tooth enamel and fighting off cavity-causing bacteria. It’s in most toothpastes, and even some mouthwashes, so be sure you’re using one with fluoride. If not, consider switching to an ADA-approved product. You can also try using a fluoride rinse or gel—if your dentist gives you permission! Be sure your teeth are clean before rinsing or brushing as any leftover food particles can be irritating.
Floss once per day
Brushing only once per day may not be enough. Flossing once per day can help remove debris in between your teeth that brushing alone can’t reach. This is especially important if you have a bridge, a cap, or dentures. Brushing these surfaces alone can cause staining and plaque buildup, which may lead to cavities or gum disease.
Use mouthwash regularly
As adults, we can’t ignore oral hygiene as much as our parents and grandparents did. While we want a bright, white smile, it’s important that we don’t push ourselves too hard and compromise our long-term dental health. Instead of brushing vigorously twice a day, you should be using mouthwash regularly—once in addition to brushing your teeth in the morning and once in addition to brushing them at night.
See your dentist regularly
Visiting your dentist regularly is an important part of keeping your teeth and gums healthy. An annual checkup can help keep bacteria from building up, prevent gum disease and tooth decay, and improve overall oral health. Your dentist will give you feedback on how well you’re brushing and flossing at home, as well as clean any potential problems areas in your mouth.
Avoid sugar unless it’s found naturally in foods
For example, sugar in fruit is OK. Sugar that is added to baked goods and other processed foods may not be as healthy. Sugars can stick around on your teeth and cause bacteria that lead to plaque buildup, cavities, and gum disease. As a result, it’s a good idea to avoid eating too many sweets. Additionally, white bread is often packed with simple sugars and carbohydrates that can be harmful when eaten too often or in large quantities.
The benefits of oil pulling
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that has been used in India and other parts of Asia for thousands of years. In recent times, however, it has grown into a worldwide health trend. Proponents of oil pulling claim that regularly swishing around coconut or sesame oil in your mouth will improve oral hygiene, strengthen gums and teeth, balance your pH levels and boost overall wellness.
To clean your tongue, use a tongue scraper
A tongue scraper is a small, flat piece of plastic with a textured surface that’s designed to scrape off bacteria from your tongue. Tongue scrapers remove bacteria that can cause bad breath and can be difficult to remove through regular brushing and flossing. Plus, they are cheap! They’re typically found at natural food stores or online.
Regularly get x-rays (3 times per year)
Many adults need dental x-rays to diagnose problems that we wouldn’t be able to otherwise. Having an annual or semi-annual x-ray is crucial for the early detection of tooth decay, cavities, and other problems. One of our dentists can even detect these issues before they become more serious problems! Plus, getting your teeth checked regularly means you’ll be better prepared when more major work needs to be done.