Routines help us accomplish everything we need to get done. No routine is more important to your dentist than the one that improves oral health. Scheduling semiannual dental visits are a great way to understand your mouth, teeth, and gums. But you can do plenty of things every day to keep your oral health in great shape. Beyond regular checkups, studies have shown that many adults need to be made aware of oral health best practices.
Here are some important daily routine changes that will make a difference. Your teeth are meant to last a lifetime, so the sooner you incorporate good habits, the better!
Fluoride is a naturally occurring substance that helps defend your teeth against decay. It acts as a barrier to protect your enamel from bacteria and acids caused by plaque. If you live within city limits, I recommend drinking a few glasses of tap water throughout the day rather than strictly bottled water. Many municipalities add fluoride to their water supply for its dental benefits. Using fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash can have similar effects. Fluoride also naturally occurs in many different foods. A few foods that can help include brewed black tea or coffee, canned shellfish, oatmeal, spinach, raisins, and potatoes.
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Drink plenty of water
If you google “water” and “oral health,” you’ll see thousands of articles stating the same thing: drinking water benefits your oral health. In general, water is good for overall health, but drinking lots of it is especially beneficial to your smile. Water helps wash away the sticky or acidic foods that get caught in your teeth, and it cuts down on the amount of plaque in your mouth. Water keeps your mouth moist and prevents dry mouth, keeps your teeth cleaner, prevents gum disease, and reduces teeth sensitivity. In general, drinking about 3.7 liters of water for men (16 cups) and 2.7 liters for women (11 cups) is recommended. If you struggle with drinking enough water, it may be worthwhile to invest in a product that will help you drink more.
Consume crunchy foods
If you go to the gym, you know that regular workouts make a huge difference in your physical fitness. The same principle applies to your everyday oral health—it’s essential to work it out. By strengthening your teeth and jaw muscles, you’re making a big impact on your oral health. Crunchy foods give your mouth that workout while helping with teeth cleaning, saliva production, and nutrients in your diet. Incorporating healthy crunchy snacks such as vegetables, nuts, and seeds into your daily diet gives your mouth the workout it needs.
Although snacking may seem easier and less time-consuming than sitting down for a full meal, it can negatively impact your oral health. Throughout the day, your mouth produces plaque, a clear sticky film that forms on your teeth. Bacteria in this substance produce acids after you consume food, and the more frequently you eat or drink, the more acid will be sitting in your mouth trying to eat at your enamel. Three full and well-balanced meals daily are the recommended habit for your oral health.
However, if you’d like to snack, a healthy diet for your oral hygiene looks like this: plenty of fruits, vegetables, and grains; lean protein sources such as chicken, fish, and beans; low-fat dairy products because they contain a high level of calcium, which strengthens your teeth; and lots of water.
Develop a brushing and flossing routine
While you don’t necessarily need to use your toothbrush after every meal, it’s vital to develop a brushing and flossing routine that you can easily follow. Set aside time every morning and evening to clean your teeth. Ensure you use a proper toothbrush, brush for two full minutes, and clean your tongue. Flossing once a day will also help you eliminate lodged food particles that can attract plaque and cause tooth decay. Also consider adding mouthwash to your routine. However, don’t substitute mouthwash for brushing or flossing.
Routines can't be implemented overnight. Set small goals, such as drinking one additional glass of water a day or switching to fluoride toothpaste, and then develop a plan to tackle the next step. Be consistent, track your progress, and don’t forget that even small changes can make a significant difference.
Eventually, you’ll start to notice changes in your teeth through fluoride integration, drinking water, eating healthy, and following a brushing routine. You might even be surprised the next time you visit your dentist, and they find no cavities! Contact your dental clinic for more tips on improving oral wellness in your everyday life.