Dental care is one of the most impactful ways to protect your health. From preventing cavities to preventing disease, oral hygiene is paramount to your success in every aspect of life. With 50 years of experience specializing in taking care of your teeth, the Charvet Dental Center knows exactly what it takes to keep your teeth clean, healthy, and beautiful.
Want to know how to keep your shiny teeth, well, shiny? This article covers:
- Why oral health is important
- Creating a hygiene routine
- Avoiding sugary foods and alcohol
- Drinking more water
- Quitting tobacco
- Visiting the dentist every six months
Why is oral health so important?
Keeping your teeth clean is essential for so many reasons. Other than the most obvious answers – preventing bad breath or yellowed teeth – dental care helps pave the path to your overall health in many different ways. Before we explain how to keep your teeth healthy, let’s explore why it is vital to do so in the first place.
Plaque and Tartar Buildup
If you’ve ever been on a long road trip with no way to brush your teeth for longer than you usually wait, you’ve probably felt like you’re wearing little sweaters on your teeth.
Enter plaque: a sticky layer of bacteria that clings to your teeth between brushes. Plaque thrives off of sugary or starchy foods, using them to produce acids that wear down the enamel on your teeth over time. After a while, plaque can lead to cavities.
Dental plaque is extremely common, but if you aren’t regularly brushing it away, it can harden and lead to a more severe and permanent buildup called tartar. Tartar attaches to the gumline and is responsible for tooth discoloration due to its ability to trap stains in the foods that you eat. A dentist must remove tartar during your regularly scheduled cleaning.
Risk of Gum Disease
More easily defined as an inflammation of the gums, gum disease is a severe condition that can ultimately weaken the bone structure that holds your teeth in place. This means that tooth loss becomes a possibility and, in some cases, a likelihood.
Risk of Oral Cancer
Oral cancers are commonly found within the mouth’s tissues, including the gums, tongue, and throat. This side effect makes up approximately 3 percent of all cancers diagnosed per year in the United States and is a serious condition requiring extensive medical treatment.
Overall Health Benefits
Because your mouth is the gateway to your respiratory and digestive tracts, your oral health directly correlates to your overall physical health. Preventing the growth of bacteria in your mouth means that bacteria is less likely to spread to other areas of your body. According to the Mayo Clinic, oral hygiene has been linked to diseases and conditions such as cardiovascular disease, pneumonia, and even birth complications.
Tips for Healthy Teeth
Many of the items listed above can seem overwhelming but don’t worry! Fortunately, they are primarily avoidable conditions that can easily be prevented with good hygiene habits.
Create a Hygiene Routine
First things first: one of the most important aspects of keeping your smile in top condition begins with simply brushing your teeth. By using a fluoride-based toothpaste and brushing twice daily for 2 minutes, you can remove that uncomfortably sticky plaque buildup that causes cavities and harms your teeth over long periods. Fluoride helps strengthen your teeth, protecting them against cavities, and is even found in your water. Making sure you find a fluoride-based toothpaste is essential to the health of your teeth. Try setting a timer to be sure you brush for 2 minutes at a time – you might be surprised that it can feel a little longer than you think!
Your hygiene routine doesn’t end there, however! Flossing is just as important because it helps remove plaque from those hard-to-reach places like the spaces between your teeth and the teeth in the back of your mouth. You’ll need to floss at least once a day to ensure your teeth are spic and span.
Additionally, it is absolutely necessary to rinse your mouth with mouthwash at least once per day. Rinsing helps to flush out leftover food particles that bacteria thrive off of.
Avoid Sugary Foods and Drinks, Including Alcohol
Pay attention to the health labels of the foods and drinks you consume. Foods with high sugar or starch contents are likelier to draw bacteria that use sugar to produce enamel-eroding acids, potentially leading to cavities down the road. Even foods and drinks marketed as health-conscious contain high levels of sugar that may eventually cause damage to your teeth.
Alcohol is especially harmful to teeth, as it can cause dry mouth and bad breath over time. Alcohol is both sugary and acidic, making it an even more distinct issue for oral health, and it can even increase the risk of oral cancer.
Drink More Water!
Hand in hand with the last tip, drinking more water means that you will be consuming less sugary beverages and less alcohol overall. Water also helps rinse away food particles and provides a clean alternative that benefits your overall health.
Avoid Tobacco Products
There is no better reason to quit smoking or chewing tobacco than for the health of your teeth. In addition to the myriad of health concerns tobacco poses in general, it can also cause tooth discoloration and escalate the build-up of tartar, which may eventually lead to tooth decay and loss of teeth as well as cancer.
Visit Your Dentist Every 6 Months
And finally, the tip you’ve all been waiting for: visit your dentist! Our experts at the Charvet Dental Center are always excited to meet with our patients. Every six months, make sure you are scheduled for a check-up and a cleaning. Our dental hygienists know how to remove the tartar buildup that inevitably lands in those hard-to-reach places, and a 6-month cleanup ensures that your smile is always happy and healthy!
Check-In with Charvet Dental Center
For 50 years, Charvet Dental Center has been Metairie’s mainstay for smiles. Our patients know our team to be a personable source of knowledge for themselves and their families. If it has been a while since your last dental check-up, check in with Charvet today!