Dental Health Lessons - How To Keep Your Teeth White and Sparkling!
Every night I ask my girls, “did you
brush your teeth?” only to be met with rolled eyes and groaning.
Does this sound at all familiar to you? Brushing seems like such
an easy way to keep our teeth healthy and yet, many people overlook
this basic rule of hygiene. Flossing is often forgotten as a compliment
to brushing. Neither practice requires more than a few minutes
each day compared to the oral difficulties we could experience
if we neglect to establish these habits into our daily routine.
A daily regimen of cleaning will keep our teeth healthy in between regularly
scheduled visits to the dentist. Ok, so why is it so important to brush and floss?
Bacteria naturally builds up in our mouths and on our teeth. If it isn’t
removed, it will turn into plaque and then to a hard substance called tartar.
By removing the bacteria, we prevent gum disease (you know, when you see blood
in the sink after spitting) and saves us from embarrassing bad breath. Brushing
alone can’t remove all of the bacteria, so that’s where flossing
comes in handy. Flossing removes the build up of the smelly bacteria from between
our teeth and therefore prevents tooth decay, gum disease and foul smelling breath.
It is never too early to brush your children’s teeth and to train them
in the basic habits of keeping their teeth white and sparkling. If you instill
the daily routines of brushing and flossing at an early age, then they’ll
probably be diligent about continuing those habits throughout their life. However,
if by age 2 your child hasn’t managed to include brushing and flossing
on a daily basis, they might not develop good oral hygiene practices.
Fluoride is another weapon to use in fighting tooth decay and a host of other
dental problems. Be sure to drink fluoridated water and utilize a toothpaste
containing fluoride. A fluoride rinse can also be added to your daily regimen.
All ages can benefit from fluoride treatments as well.
In addition to brushing, flossing, and fluoride, you can help keep your teeth
white by avoiding tobacco, alcohol, hard candy (only have occasionally), gum
and sugar-laden snacks. My dental hygienist once told me that potato chips can
be one of the worst snacks we can choose. When the potato gets ground up and
lands in the ’valleys’ of our teeth, the starchy substance turns
to sugar if it isn’t removed quickly enough. It’s like placing sugar
directly into your teeth and letting it sit there. If you are a coffee, soda
or tea drinker, consider using a straw to drink your beverages so the staining
liquid bypasses at least your front teeth. Remember to brush at least twice a
day. Ultimately, the best way to keep your teeth white is to brush every time
you eat or drink something. If that isn’t possible, rinse your mouth out
with water until you can brush thoroughly.
If you are already incorporating these steps into your daily tooth care and you
want even whiter teeth, then you might consider having your teeth whitened professionally.
Many products are now available over the counter to whiten your teeth at home.
However, if you have any doubts if the process will work for you, it is probably
best to have the procedure performed by a professional dentist.