When you’re ringing in 2015 with a set of fresh resolutions, don’t forget your teeth! There is evidence that problems in your mouth affect your overall health. Proactively taking care of your oral health can prevent a number of health issues.
Here are a few tips you may want to add to your New Year’s Resolutions.
1. Change your toothpaste
The protective coating on your teeth, called enamel, can be damaged by acidic foods or abrasive toothpastes that act like sandpaper. Changing your toothpaste can help protect your enamel from damage and reducing your exposure to acidic foods can also help.
Regular exposure to acidic foods, including tomatoes, citrus fruits, sodas and even salad dressings, can actually damage your enamel over time, according to the American Dental Association. Research shows that one in three young adults are already showing signs of enamel damage, which tends to get worse with age.
Charles River Dental recommends using toothpaste with low abrasion levels such as Sensodyne Pronamel, which also offers protection against acid erosion.
2. Floss! Seriously!
Not flossing, or even flossing incorrectly, can lead to inflammation of the gums and gum disease. Gum disease has been linked with a variety of other health issues: heart disease, cancer, diabetes and may put you at risk for certain respiratory infections, including pneumonia, when you breathe bacteria from the mouth into the lungs. The risk of these conditions can all be minimized by flossing, correctly, at least once a day.
A 16-year Harvard study, involving 51,000 men found men with a history of gum disease had
• A 64% higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer than the men who had healthy mouths.
• Nearly twice the risk of kidney cancer
• A 30% higher risk of a blood-related cancer
Researchers suspect that inflammation-triggering bacteria may be a culprit, according to the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP).
Using the proper flossing technique (saw up into your gum, buff both sides of every booth) can help fight against inflammation and gum disease.
3. Time yourself when you brush.
Did you know the average person takes 37 seconds to brush their teeth? You should spend 2 to 3 minutes to effectively clean your teeth and improve your oral health.
Build up of plaque / acid / bacteria can lead to weaker teeth and further health problems. Your mouth contains millions of bacteria which can enter into the blood stream and digestive system.
Be sure to brush with a soft toothbrush and spend the recommended amount of time (2-3 minutes). Many people achieve great oral health using an electric toothbrush. Charles River Dental recommends Philips Sonicare DiamondClean to patients.
4. Brush nice
Brushing your teeth with a hard toothbrush is similar to pushing your cuticles down on your fingernails. KEEP your gums! Get a soft toothbrush and quit trying so hard!
Brushing with hard toothbrushes and/or brushing aggressively hurts your gums and can lead to gum recession. Without gums – you have nothing to hold your teeth! When your gums recede, you’re more likely to get gum disease or lose your teeth!
Only use a toothbrush with soft bristles! Hold the brush like a pencil, and do not put any extra pressure on your toothbrush when cleaning your teeth . Angle your brush 90 degrees to your teeth and simply move back and forth. Even easier – get an electric toothbrush and let that do the cleaning for you.
5. Drink your morning coffee – Faster!
When you are eating or drinking sugary or acid filled foods, you are feeding the bacteria on your teeth which can cause long-term damage to your teeth. The longer your teeth are exposed the sugar or acid the more problematic it can be.
Sipping just one can of soda over the course of a few hours can do permanent damage to your enamel, according to the Indiana Dental Association. The worst offenders are drinks with a low pH, such as wine, sports drinks, sodas and fruit juices. Saliva in your mouth helps to protect your teeth, so if your mouth is dry, the damage may occur more quickly.
When enjoying these types of foods or drinks, choose smaller servings and drink up! You may use a straw to reduce damage, or better yet, opt for a healthier choice, such as water. The damage is increased when you sip that “light & sweet coffee” all afternoon instead of finishing it in under an hour.
In 2015, consider how your dental health can affect the rest of your body! Use these simple tips to prevent future problems and decay – and to help remedy existing problems.
In addition to regular brushing and flossing, enjoy a visit to your dentist at least twice a year to have your teeth professionally cleaned and examined. Your dental professional can spots signs of trouble early – when they are most treatable.
Some practices, such as Charles River Dental in Boston, are providing their patients with the advantage of a new methodology called Caries Management by Risk Assessment (CAMBRA). CAMBRA allows inclusion of a patient’s history and lifestyle factors to develop a personalized risk profile for gum disease and decay. Incorporating individual risk factors, while developing a prevention and treatment program, minimizes the likelihood of future dental pain and tooth loss.
During this New Year, take control of your oral health! Follow these simple tips and visit your dentist regularly – you will be on the road to a happy and healthy 2015.
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