April is recognized as National Dental Health Month across Canada and the United States. Though maintaining good dental health is something that should be addressed year-round, many dental offices take advantage of this month to promote good oral hygiene and instil proper habits into their patients. Taking good care of your teeth is a lifelong commitment and should be something that is taken seriously. Here are 6 ways you can maintain healthy teeth for life:
1. Brush Twice a Day!
Brushing your teeth twice a day is the key to good oral health. It is recommended that you brush once right after breakfast and once again right before bed for two minutes each time. Think “2 for 2”. This helps to remove unwanted debris from the gaps between your teeth and keeps plaque and bacteria at bay.
2. Use a Soft Bristle Tooth Brush
It would make sense to assume that the harder the bristles on a toothbrush means a deeper cleaning, but that is not necessarily the case. In fact, hard bristle toothbrushes can actually be more damaging to your teeth in the majority of cases because many people apply too much pressure when brushing their teeth. To counteract this, it’s recommended by dentists that all patients use soft bristle toothbrushes and apply them to their teeth in a light, circular motion.
3. Limit Sugar Intake
Unfortunately, this can be a difficult feat as the majority of our foods within North America are stuffed with unnecessary refined and added sugars. Sugar is the leading cause of tooth decay and has the ability to erode the protective layer of enamel on the outside of your teeth. To help limit your sugar intake avoid things like packaged juices, pops, candies and alcohol.
4. Eat a Balanced Diet
Eating a diet filled with healthy vegetables can maintain a proper pH balance within your mouth and provide your body with the nutrients it needs to promote optimum oral health.
5. Check Your Mouth Out
Keep a close eye on your gums, teeth and tongue to make sure everything looks normal – by doing a quick check daily you prevent gum diseases or infections from getting out of hand. When doing a check, look for these signs:
- Red, shiny, or puffy gums
- Bleeding after brushing/flossing
- Persistent bad breath
- White or red patches
- Sores or lumps
6. Go for Regular Check-ups
It’s recommended that everyone visits their dentist at least every 6 months. If you start to notice any abnormalities within your mouth, book an appointment with your dentist to address the problem and avoid further complications.