At Allred Dental, we know we’re only part of the reason your smiles look great. We trust our patients to keep their mouths in tip-top shape between visits, too! There are a lot of misconceptions about the best way you can care for your teeth. Here are a few tips that will help maintain the fresh feeling of a post-exam cleaning all year round!
Even people who take excellent care of their dentition may still experience problems with their teeth. Allred Dental is on hand to help you deal with accidents and inconveniences that life may throw your way. If you are worried about your teeth or realize it has been some time since you’ve had a checkup, call us today! Our team can schedule a consultation to help put a smile back on your face!
While many people turn their noses up at flossing, it is still one of the most effective ways to remove plaque from between teeth and below the gum line. Brushing only gets patients so far while cleaning their teeth, and even the most expensive brands can’t get into all of the natural spaces that exist throughout your dentition.
Dental floss removes food particles and bacteria that can cause tooth decay and periodontal disease. It also helps to alleviate halitosis, too, removing the bits of junk that can lay rotting between teeth! This simple task goes a long way to improving your oral health.
2. Dental-Friendly Diet
Healthy eating habits don’t just help your waistline. Teeth can also benefit from a proper diet, especially ones that avoid certain foods that can damage dentition. Some kinds of foods to avoid include:
- Sugary Candies: Bacteria need sugars to grow, so eating snacks that coat your mouth in their primary food source makes teeth a veritable smorgasbord. Sweet drinks can be even worse, but a gulp of water afterward will help give your mouth a quick rinse.
- Crunchy Foods: While fruits and veggies are great ways to naturally fight plaque buildup, overly crunchy foods like cold carrots and hard nuts may actually chip or crack dentition!
- Crumbly and Sticky Snacks: Many types of crackers and cakes may taste great but easily get stuck onto and in between teeth. Caramels and gooey candies are also prime candidates for gumming up your grin.
- Coffees and Teas: Some foods like coffee may stain teeth, especially when consumed regularly. Red wine lovers may also want to consider drinking some water after their nightcap to rinse away potential staining.
- Acidic Foods: Eating and drinking foods with high acidity can eat away at your tooth enamel, creating sensitive spots by exposing the inner layers of your dentition.
While you don’t have to eliminate these foods entirely, taking a step back from sugars may help your overall health too. Choosing foods high in calcium such as cheeses and other dairy products will help to strengthen teeth and bones as well!
3. Proper Equipment
The right tool can make all of the difference. Choose a softer toothbrush to better protect your teeth and gums, since harder ones may scratch and be too rough on enamel. While it doesn’t need to be thoroughly cleaned after each use, it should be well rinsed and kept upright to dry.
Having string floss on hand is good, but some patients find it easier to use floss picks for those hard-to-reach areas. A water pick is also a great option, though not a true replacement for flossing. Consider upgrading your toothbrush, too, as electric varieties have been shown to clean much more effectively than their more passive counterparts.
According to the experts, your gym teacher was right. Hydration is just as important to your oral health as it is for the rest of your body. Saliva contributes to fighting plaque and gingivitis on the most basic level. It also helps reduce the acidity found in some foods and even from acid reflux.
Each drink, especially after eating, helps to remove many of the substances that cause tooth decay by rinsing out food particles that remain between and around teeth. Staying hydrated will also stave off bad breath as cool, clean water washes away bacteria and the food it needs to form, too!
5. Healthy Habits
There are a lot of things we can do that will help maintain excellent oral hygiene. While the team at Allred Dental works hard to educate our younger patients about the benefits of healthy habits, it’s easy to create a dental care routine at any age! Some methods you may wish to incorporate into your day include:
- Brushing twice a day (after every meal is even better!)
- Use gentle brushing
- Drink lots of water
- Use a toothpaste with fluoride
- Floss at least once a day
- Carry floss or flossers with you
- Use a dentist-approved mouthwash
Changing current practices or adopting new routines may help to alleviate current problems such as bad breath, while also preventing damage later in life.
6. Stop Using Tobacco Products
One habit you can change is by far one of the best things you can do for your health is to quit smoking. Not only will it help alleviate the risk of oral cancers, but your lungs will thank you as well! Smoking deposits tar, smoke, and other pollutants around teeth getting into areas that are difficult to clean thoroughly. The substance is also a top contributor to periodontal disease as well.
Chewing tobacco is no better. As it mixes with saliva, chew damages teeth at and below the gum line and may result in accelerated decay, or even loose and missing dentition. Avoid sores, white patches, and receding gums by tossing tobacco products into the trash where they belong.
7. Teeth, Not Tools
Many people tend to view their mouths as an additional appendage. From tightening knots to popping bottle caps, relying on your teeth as an extra pair of hands can leave you with a host of dental problems. Biting force is intended to crush and grind food, but when teeth are pushed and pulled in awkward directions, it may result in a lot of damage.
Using teeth to pull objects tight puts undue stress on your dentition in ways it wasn’t meant to work. This often results in loose teeth as the underlying roots begin to erode. Harder materials may crack your teeth, creating sensitive spots and even unsightly chips that can negatively affect your smile!
8. The Dangers of Whitening
One of the biggest reasons patients seem to be dissatisfied with their teeth is their whiteness. As everyone ages, the foods we consume may leave permanent marks on our dentition. When smoking and staining foods such as coffee are involved, the problem only gets worse! To try and control staining, many patients turn to over-the-counter solutions.
While mild, abrasive-like whitening toothpastes are generally benign, they are also usually ineffective since they only remain on teeth for a short time. Some gels or other compounds might appear to work much better, but they may actually be causing damage by eroding tooth enamel in an attempt to remove the stain! Such methods may leave you with somewhat whiter, but much more sensitive teeth. Your best option is to consult with your dentist and find a teeth whitening treatment plan that works best for you.
9. A Foundation of Minerals
As a mineral that has been shown to help maintain tooth enamel integrity, some mineral treatments have gotten some bad press. Studies have shown that frequent use has such an effect on cavity prevention that many cities and towns regularly add them to their public water supply.
Try finding a toothpaste that adds a coating of minerals as it polishes. In addition, if your local water source is a well, it won’t have the added decay-preventing benefit. It may be a good idea to ask your dentist if a mineral treatment would help you keep those whites looking pearly.
10. Preventive Care
Without a doubt, visiting your dentist regularly is the best thing you can do to maintain a healthy mouth that both looks and feels great. Frequent exams give the team at Allred Dental the chance to spot problem areas before they become worse. Minor tooth pain may be caused by a hairline crack in your tooth, and shaving it repaired right away prevents it from requiring a crown or even a root canal!
Frequent x-rays and checkups also let your dentist look for other issues such as cancer screenings and gum disease. Young patients benefit from biannual appointments because it lets us see how their dentition is developing, allowing treatment plans to be prepared well in advance. This makes for a more effective and less painful experience, too!
Whether it’s time for your biannual checkup or even if you’ve missed a few, don’t hesitate to call us today! The Allred Dental team is ready to help all our patients in the San Marcos, Oceanside, and Encinitas areas get the smiles they deserve!