Health advice seems to change faster than ever, so what is actually important for your oral health? The Ridgetop Dental team in Reston, VA wants you to know the top 10 dental care tips to keep your smile — and your body — healthy for a long time.
1. Brush your teeth every day
This is one piece of advice that never changes: brush your teeth twice a day, every day. Throughout the day, bacteria builds up on the teeth, and over time it destroys tooth enamel. The first line of defense against gum disease, cavities, and tooth loss is brushing in the morning and in the evening.
2. Flossing is as important as brushing
Studies have shown that almost half of the bacteria in the teeth is located in areas only flossing can reach. Brushing removes plaque from the front and back of the teeth, but those hard-to-reach in-between areas are where flossing comes in. Flossing is just as important as brushing, since cavities can develop in between teeth if plaque is left there.
3. Use toothpaste with fluoride
Toothpaste contains fluoride because it helps strengthen teeth and can also 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
Bacteria love to feed on sugar, so a diet rich in sugar contributes to higher amounts of bacteria in the mouth. Sugar is a high energy source, so more sugar equals more bacteria, especially when it is not removed by brushing. Reducing the amount of sugar in your diet will help keep oral bacteria at controllable levels.
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
Staying hydrated helps the body produce enough saliva, which is important for keeping teeth clean. Saliva removes oral bacteria and leftover food particles by washing out the mouth and maintaining the pH level in the mouth.
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!
Ridgetop Dental in Reston, VA is committed to helping patients achieve healthy, beautiful smiles with high-quality full service dentistry. Schedule an appointment today to keep your smile healthy!