July 9, 2016
Brush your teeth. Floss them too. Visit the dentist every six months. There are several good dental habits that have been reinforced over the years to the point where everyone pretty much knows what they should be doing at home to keep their teeth and mouths healthy. But your dental health is a complex thing, and so here are seven ways to improve your dental health that many people have not thought of before.
- Don’t chew any ice: Lots of people chew on ice left over in their drinks, especially in the summer when it’s hot. In fact, some people just like the cool sensation and texture of chewing on ice. But this can hurt your teeth. Ice is so tough that when you chew and crack it, you are slowly wearing down the enamel on your teeth. And if you have any tiny cracks in your teeth, the pressure from biting down on something as hard and tough as ice can force those cracks to get worse. Sucking on ice is OK, just don’t chew any to keep your teeth healthy.
- Use an anticavity rinse: When people talk about dental care, they usually focus on brushing and flossing after meals. They’re correct, as doing so will really lower your chances of tooth decay, gum disease, and similar dental problems. But using an anticavity rinse can also help. While this is no substitute for visiting our Boone, NC dental office for regular cleanings, using these rinses can help reduce plaque and gingivitis.
- If you have a night guard, wear it: Some people have been given a special mouthguard they wear at night by Dr. Airey or another dentist. Bruxism (or unconsciously grinding your teeth) is often treated with a plastic guard that protects the teeth. TMJ pain, or TMD, can also be treated by a similar device, as can headaches and migraines. There’s a good reason such a night guard has been given to you; it helps keep you healthy. To keep your teeth and mouth healthy at home, you should always wear any prescribed night guards every time you go to sleep. If the night guard is uncomfortable, we create guards customized specifically for your teeth at our Boone, NC dental office.
- Drink less juice: You most likely know how soda (even diet soda with its high acid content) is horrible for your teeth. But a big reason that such drinks are bad for your dental health is that they contain lots and lots of sugar. It doesn’t matter if it’s corn syrup or natural cane sugar, the bacteria that cause tooth decay love that stuff. But juices like orange juice and apple juice also have a lot of sugar in them. Many juices in the supermarket even have extra sugar added to them, making them just as bad for your teeth as that can of soda pop.
- Cut down on carbs: Many diet plans these days tell you to cut back on eating carbohydrates because of the large amount of calories such foods usually have. That’s because carbs are basically another form of sugar. Remember how sugar is really bad for your dental health? That’s because the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease live off sugar. And that means bacteria love carbohydrates too. Cutting down on the amount of breads, cereals, and pasta isn’t just good for your waistline — it’s good for your smile as well.
- Add calcium and vitamin D: For a long time, doctors have been telling us to add calcium and vitamin D to our diets to help make our bones strong. Technically, your teeth are not bones. But new research is showing a connection between healthy teeth and the amount of calcium and vitamin D you get in your diet. To help improve your dental health at home, be sure to drink milk or take vitamin supplements.
- Wear mouthguards for sports: When playing sports like football, baseball, or basketball, you are always at risk for an injury. Most of the time, you’ll be just fine. But even if you’re not playing a contact sport, accidents happen. Even just riding a bike can put you at risk. That’s why so many sports require helmets, pads, and mouthguards. A foul ball, thrown elbow, or crash could break or even knock out your teeth. By wearing a mouthguard when you’re active, you help protect your dental health.
If you have any questions about how we can help you improve your dental health (at home or with our dentist in Boone, NC), or if you are ready to make your next appointment, call us today at 828-355-5673.