Following a daily checklist of tasks to maintain healthy teeth and gums is important to prevent gum disease, bad breath and tooth decay.
Committing to such a daily schedule and following up with regular dental visits will ensure you maintain a healthy smile and will prevent costly corrective dental work in the future.
Maintaining healthy teeth on a daily basis involves three main activities, daily brushing, daily flossing and scheduled regular dental visits.
Importance of daily brushing
Brushing teeth daily removes food particles and plaque from the mouth and prevents gum disease, tooth decay and bad breath. Plaque is a soft sticky film that develops on the surface of the teeth and consists of millions of bacteria. Brushing twice a day is usually adequate, but the perfect frequency would be after each meal in order to keep the mouth clean.
The following points should be followed for optimum teeth care:
- After each daily brushing, you should rinse your mouth with an anti-bacterial mouthwash to kill any germs
- After each brushing you should store your toothbrush uncovered and in an upright position
- After consuming sugary or acidic foods, you should wait 30 minutes before brushing your teeth because the enamel is temporarily softened as these foods interact with the plaque in the mouth
- Brushing immediately after consuming such foods will cause additional damage to the teeth surface
- Purchase a replacement toothbrush with soft bristles. Using a soft bristled toothbrush is preferred and brushing should not be done too vigorously as that would cause recession of the gums and erosion of the teeth enamel
- Keeping a food diary to be aware of the foods you eat and to curb potential bad eating habits
- Chewing sugarless gum containing the sugar replacement Xylitol helps prevent the bacteria in plaque from metabolizing sugars in the mouth. This metabolizing of sugars produces acids which breakdown the enamel of the teeth, and Xylitol stops that process
- Eat some cheese daily because it is high in calcium, low in sugar and benefits teeth health. The casein protein in cheese strengthens the surface of teeth
- Eat raw vegetables and fresh fruits since their fibrous nature stimulate saliva production in the mouth
- Drink plenty of water daily, especially if that water contains fluoride. Acids in the mouth strips away the enamel layer of teeth and fluoride in water re-mineralizes the teeth surface again
Flossing teeth daily
Daily flossing of teeth is essential to preserve optimum dental health because it removes food particles from hard to reach places the tooth brush cannot access and those food particles that get stuck between the teeth
The build up of plaque in the mouth leads to periodontal disease, cavities and gingivitis. Men with periodontal disease experience a 70% greater risk of suffering with coronary disease and a 40% greater risk if they suffer from gingivitis.
Gingivitis is caused by the build up of plaque in the mouth and along the gum line, and is the beginning of periodontal disease if it is not stopped in its tracks. Gingivitis can cause tender and soft gums, bleeding gums and bad breath. The build-up of plaque is prevented by daily flossing, and it is a process that most people do not follow on a consistent daily basis. It should be done as frequently as brushing the teeth to maintain healthy teeth and gums.
Proper flossing frequency is essential to healthy teeth:
- Floss after every meal and especially before going to bed to clean away food residue in the mouth and remove food tastes from the taste buds. Flossing releases the pressure exerted by food particles between the teeth and gums.
- Food trapped in the mouth release sulfurous products that smell like rotten eggs. If these food particles are not released, the rotting food gives rise to halitosis or bad breath.
- Daily flossing of the teeth will prevent buildup of plaque which results in its hardening to form a substance known as tartar which can only be removed by a dentist.
Scheduled dental visits
The above daily tasks should be followed consistently to ensure healthy teeth and a great smile. However, it is also important to maintain a good relationship with your dentist and to schedule regular dental visits to stay abreast of any conditions that may need treatment and to prevent later costly corrections.