Limit sugary snacks and drinks because tooth decay is caused by bacteria that feeds on sugar in your food and your drinks. That doesn’t mean you can’t have sugar, although lowering your sugar intake will have bounteous other health benefits, just try to limit your intake to meal times. Also, when drinking sugary or acidic drinks, like soda, opt to drink from a straw to reduce their contact with your teeth.
Practice good after meal care . Avoid brushing your teeth for one hour after you’ve ingested anything acidic. Foods containing citric acid (Oranges and grapefruit, of course, but also berries, jams, sourdough bread and cheese!) weaken tooth enamel. Brushing too soon after eating can damage your teeth in their weakened state. Chewing sugar-free gum after a meal can help neutralize acids in your mouth and keep your breath fresh.
Protect your teeth. If you play contact sports, protect your teeth by wearing a mouth guard. Mouth guards help to cushion a blow to the face minimizing the risk of injuries to your teeth, face and jaw; as well as protect the soft tissue of your tongue, lips and cheek lining. Although, not the same as a mouth guard, night guards can help protect your teeth from the damaging effects of teeth grinding. Learn more about the difference between sports mouth guards and night guards, here.
Drink more water. You’ve heard it before, for good reason! Water helps wash away food debris and keeps your saliva levels high. Saliva is your mouth’s best defense against tooth decay because it contains proteins and minerals that counteract enamel-eating acids. Saliva is made up of 95% water so do your mouth a favor and stay hydrated. Tap water, for the win! Drinking water with fluoride both reverses and helps prevent tooth decay by making the tooth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth Water fluoridation became an official US Health Policy in 1951. The introduction of fluoride in water resulted in children having 35% fewer decayed, missing and filled baby teeth and 36% fewer decayed, missing and filled permanent teeth.
Brush 2min2x. The currently health recommendation for brushing is twice per day for 2 minutes. Take a look back at our recent article, Have you got two minutes?to learn more about the best practices for brushing and keeping your mouth clean and happy!
Be #FLOSSY. Remember to floss, and not just 5 minutes before your next dental appointment. It’s important to clean between your teeth with dental floss or an interdental brush each day. Gum disease often develops from plaque building up on teeth along the gum line, especially where your toothbrush can’t reach. Floss in an up and down motion and gently curve the floss around each tooth, making sure to clean beneath the gum line. Check out this short video on proper flossing technique.
The 3 month rule. Change your toothbrush when you change your oil. Toothbrush bristles wear down and become frayed. Get in the habit of getting rid of old brushes, that can harbor bacteria, every three months or when they become visibly worn.