lifestyle

Mouth Healthy: Tips for Staying on Top of Dental Health

lifestylehealth-wellness

No matter who you are, you only get one set of adult teeth. Dental care is something you probably don't think about beyond the daily brushing and occasional flossing, but there is so much more you can do to be truly "mouth healthy."

smiling family

The American Dental Association (ADA) offers some amazing facts, tips, and resources for taking care of our precious teeth. They shared some tips to take care of your teeth in a recent Twitter party with Mom It Forward.

Perhaps the most important thing the ADA wants you to know about maintaining good dental health is this: "Dental health impacts overall health. Your teeth are connected to your bloodstream. If you get a dental infection, it can spread [and affect other parts of your body]."

"Taking care of your teeth and gums isn't just about preventing cavities or bad breath," says the ADA. "The mouth is a gateway into your body's overall health. Brushing and flossing are more important than ever."

To maintain good dental and overall health, the basics are brushing twice a day for two minutes, flossing once a day, eating a balanced diet and scheduling regular dental visits. Beyond that, what can you do?

How to Keep Your Mouth Healthy

  • First, consider that brushing your teeth correctly does much to prevent the loss of enamel and the development of tooth decay. "Brushing too hard or drinking acidic juices are common causes of enamel wear." The ADA offers this PDF on correct brushing technique, and notes that: "it's not how hard a brush you have, but how long you brush. It's better to have a soft brush." Brush for two minutes, which may seem hard until you think that the average t popular song is longer. Pull out your MP3 player while you're brushing. The ADA provides a list of approved brushes and products.
  • Second, keep in mind that Fluoride is nature’s cavity fighter. When you brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste, or use other fluoride dental products, you're helping to rebuild weakened tooth enamel and reverse early signs of tooth decay. You can achieve the maximum reduction in tooth decay by both drinking and brushing with water that has been fortified with fluoride.
  • And thirdly, avoid brushing teeth after vomiting especially when pregnant. Instead, rinse your mouth with a teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water to help prevent erosion.

So, what if you're already experiencing tooth decay, discomfort, bleeding, or other symptoms?

How to Know When to See the Dentisttoothbrush picture courtesy of flickr orofacial

  • People often wonder about bleeding gums. The ADA's advice: "If your gums are bleeding easily, go and see your dentist immediately."
  • If you don't have a dentist, utilize the ADA’s tips to help find a dentist.
  • Pregnant moms should be especially conscious of their dental health. The ADA says: "Moms: don’t put dental care concerns on the back burner, as the complications could outweigh potential risks!"
  • If you’re experiencing a dental health issue, visit the ADA’s Symptom Checker to learn more. And when in doubt, always go see your dentist.

Our teeth are truly precious resources, often taken for granted but ever so necessary. After all, we all need to be "mouth healthy!"

Family photo courtesy of Flickr. Toothbrush picture courtesy of Flickr as well.

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