Tips for Breaking Bad Oral Habits
Did you know that a lot of little things you do (or don’t do) on a day-to-day basis affect your teeth’s well-being and may fall under a list of bad oral habits? These include not brushing or flossing enough, eating too many sweets too often, or even using your teeth to open a bag of chips.
Bad oral habits die hard, but they can be stopped in their tracks by the following tips:
Floss at least once a day. It helps remove bits of food and dental plaque in places your toothbrush can’t find, helping to keep your gums healthy.
Brush at least twice a day. If brushing is not an option, chew sugarless gum (make sure it’s sugarless!) for 20 minutes after a meal or snack. This helps prevent tooth decay.
Clean your tongue. Regularly cleaning your tongue with a toothbrush or a tongue scraper helps remove the bacteria that causes bad breath.
Replace your toothbrush regularly. Replacing your tooth brush ever 3-4 months is a good idea. Bristles in your toothbrush that are bent and broken don’t do a good job cleaning your teeth.
Eat a balanced diet. Snacking on sweets without brushing increases the acid in your mouth… and the likelihood of tooth decay. Munch on vegetables and fruit instead.
Regular Dental Visits. Your dentist is trained to do damage control in your mouth before it’s too late. You should visit the dentist regularly — every six months.
Adding these to your list one at a time is a good start to kick those bad oral habits. By doing a little self-check on your daily dental care habits, you can be on your way to making sure your teeth, your mouth’s health and your overall health are at their best.
Dental Care Checklist for Adults
Don’t let dental visits slide! Adult life can sometimes be a juggling act and it may feel like you just can’t find the time for a dental visit. But making time for regular dental visits now can help keep you out of the dental office in the future.
Brush and floss daily, even if it’s late. You’ve heard this a million times by now, but the importance of regular brushing and flossing can never be emphasized enough. Even if you’ve been good about your oral hygiene all your life, resist the temptation to let it slide for even one day; the longer plaque stays on your teeth, the more destructive it becomes.
Eat well-balanced meals. When you’re juggling work, home and kids, it can be tempting to turn to fast food, soda and sugary snacks as a way to save time and feel more energetic. But sugar is a tooth decay demon and can cause you to crash after that initial “sugar high.” Be sure to integrate plenty of fresh vegetables into your daily meals and eat fruit, nuts and celery or carrot sticks as snacks.
Exercise regularly — it’s good for your teeth! Studies show that people who maintain a healthy lifestyle — exercise and eating right — are 40 percent less likely to develop advanced gum disease.
Consider treating yourself to cosmetic dentistry. Whether you want a quick boost or a complete smile makeover, there are plenty of cosmetic dental treatments available to help you achieve your dream smile. One-hour laser teeth whitening treatments can make your teeth 8-10 shades whiter, and porcelain veneers can mask stained teeth, chipped teeth or crooked teeth.
5 Ways to Stop Bleeding Gums
Keep seeing pink in the sink after you brush? Don’t fall for the popular belief that it’s normal and happens to everyone. Bleeding gums may be a sign of something that’s easily correctable – by brushing less vigorously or flossing every day. But it can also be a warning of something more serious, like periodontal disease or even diabetes. With stakes that high, the smart thing to do is to improve your oral hygiene routine. If your symptoms don’t improve after a couple of weeks, be sure to make an appointment with your dentist.
1. Brush twice a day. Brushing with fluoride toothpaste is an essential way to stop bleeding gums. Make sure you choose a brush head with soft nylon bristles and brush using gentle, circular motions that massage and clean the teeth and gums – back-and-forth motions can actually aggravate gum bleeding.
2. Floss every day. Flossing may be the most important thing you can do at home to prevent the plaque buildup that leads to gum bleeding. Ask your dentist or dental hygienist for tips on proper flossing.
3. Use a good mouthwash. Ask your dentist to recommend a good anti-bacterial mouthwash, which can help fight bleeding gums.
4. Keep your tongue clean. A “coated” tongue provides the perfect environment for the bacteria that promotes bleeding gums. Brush your tongue with a tongue cleaner or soft-bristled toothbrush using a front-to-back motion.
5. Eat a well-balanced diet. A diet filled with vitamin C, folic acid, calcium, and B vitamins will help you maintain healthy gums. Limit your snacking between meals, especially carbohydrates and sugars; these feed the dental plaque that causes bleeding gums.
Keep in mind, no matter how scrupulous you are about oral hygiene, a professional dental cleaning is the single most effective way to remove the plaque that causes bleeding gums – so be sure to see your dentist at least twice a year.