Statistics show that 92% of people ages 20 to 64 have cavities and 26% have tooth decay that’s untreated. Periodontal disease affects 47.2% of adults 30 and older.
Improving your oral health can help you have strong, healthy teeth and gums to avoid becoming part of those statistics. Even if you already have oral health problems, making changes can help you avoid more issues or keep your health conditions from getting more severe.
Check out these seven tips to learn how to keep teeth healthy in kids and adults.
1. Brush and Floss Regularly
One of the easiest ways to improve the health of your teeth is by brushing at least twice daily. You should brush for a minimum of two minutes, making sure you reach all surfaces of your teeth during that time. Using a circular motion is better than back and forth to ensure you reach all parts of your teeth.
Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to protect your gums and tooth enamel. Avoid pushing too hard on the toothbrush, which can also cause damage.
Keep your toothbrush clean by storing it upright and making sure it air dries between uses. Covering your toothbrush can cause mold and bacteria to grow on it.
Replace your toothbrush roughly ever 3 months or sooner if you need it. When the bristles become bent, flat, or irregular, it’s time to change your toothbrush. A new toothbrush ensures it cleans well and doesn’t cause damage to your teeth and gums.
Brushing after every meal is ideal, but you can’t always brush your teeth when you’re away from home. One option when you can’t brush is to swish water around in your mouth to wash away food particles. You can also chew sugar-free gum as a way to increase saliva to remove bacteria and handle acid from food.
Flossing at least once per day can also help keep your mouth clean by removing food particles between teeth.
2. Use Fluoride
Fluoride may help to prevent tooth decay, which can keep your teeth healthier and stronger overall. Most oral care products, including toothpaste and mouthwash, include fluoride so it’s easy to get it. Some products are fluoride-free, so check the labels to verify that you’re getting fluoride.
You can also get fluoride treatments at the dentist for additional protection. Talk to your dentist to see if you need a fluoride application.
3. Eat Healthy Foods
Certain types of food increase your risk of cavities and other oral health problems. Sugar is a major culprit when it comes to tooth decay, so it’s important to cut down on how many sugary foods you eat daily.
Processed starchy foods, including bread, pasta, and crackers, can also be a problem. When little remnants of starches stay in your teeth, they turn into simple sugars and can lead to tooth decay.
Acidic foods and drinks, including some fruits and coffee, can also damage your teeth. The acidity can hurt your enamel, which protects your teeth.
Choosing a healthy diet with an emphasis on veggies and fruits can cut down on your cavity risks.
What you drink is also very influential in your oral health. Soda, juice, and similar drinks are full of sugar, which can increase your risks of cavities. When you consume sugary drinks, the liquid coats your teeth and puts you at risk of tooth decay.
Water or other unsweetened beverages are ideal. Drinking water after you eat can help remove some of the food, sugar, and acid left on your teeth from food.
4. Schedule Regular Dental Visits
The general recommendation is to schedule dental checkups every 6 months. The American Dental Association recommends a more customized approach to dental visit frequency, with high-risk patients possibly needing more frequent visits.
Whether you go once per year or multiple times per year, the important thing is scheduling those regular appointments with your dentist.
Your dentist ensures your teeth are healthy and can spot oral health problems in the early stages when they’re easier to treat. Dental records help your dentist track changes over time, which can also help diagnose problems early.
5. Protect Your Teeth
Damage to your teeth can also come from different activities. Chewing on pens, using teeth to open packages, or using your teeth for other non-eating activities can cause damage, including chips and breakage. Avoid chewing on anything that isn’t food.
Sports can also cause tooth injuries, especially sports with lots of contact. A mouth guard or helmet with a facial shield can protect your teeth from those impact injuries.
Grinding your teeth can also be damaging. Many people grind their teeth at night without realizing it. Wearing a mouth guard at night can prevent damage caused by grinding.
6. Stay Healthy Overall
Being healthy overall can support the health of your teeth. Improving your general health condition helps you avoid issues throughout your body.
A strong immune system means your body can repair tissues faster, including tissues in your mouth. Sleeping well, exercising, reducing stress, and eating a healthy diet can strengthen your immune system.
Smoking can be particularly damaging because it hurts your immune system and can slow the body’s healing process. It can also stain your teeth and increase your risks of oral cancer.
7. Consider Cosmetic Dentistry
Looking into cosmetic dentistry can help you improve your smile and the condition of your teeth. Cosmetic dentistry isn’t just about looking good. Many of the services help improve the strength and health of your teeth.
Braces and other teeth straightening options can make you feel more confident in your smile. They can also fix alignment issues that make chewing difficult or that cause you discomfort.
Dental bonding and crowns can help improve teeth that are damaged. Dental implants offer a permanent solution if you have a missing tooth.
Maintain Your Healthy Teeth
Starting good oral hygiene early helps you and your kids have strong, healthy teeth for life. Make changes to your oral care routine to improve your oral health now. Head over to our health and wellness section for even more tips on how to keep your family healthy.