Dos & Don’ts For Healthy Teeth

When it comes to taking care of your teeth and gums, can you read the signs?

Our teeth are pretty incredible when we stop to think about it, our teeth are pretty tough – given what we put them through and how they serve our quality of life on the regular.

Although tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, they’re no match for neglect, misuse, or downright abuse.

DO Brush Them 2-3 Times Per Day

And for two minutes each round – ideally after every meal.

“Make sure you wait 30 to 60 minutes after each meal, which gives the acidity time to neutralize and the teeth time to remineralize,” says Debra Gray King, DDS, FAACD, of the Atlanta Center for Cosmetic Dentistry.

Brushing too much, too hard, or with a hard-bristle brush can also erode our tooth enamel. Brush gently, using circular strokes and a brush with soft or medium bristles.

DON’T Use Your Teeth As A Tool

Opening bottle caps, ripping into that bag of chips, tying a fish hook…those are just a few of the ways we can do some real damage to our teeth by trying to use them as a tool.

Our teeth help us speak, chew, eat, and even swallow. Just imagine how difficult life could be without teeth!

That’s what they made bottle openers for, and scissors, and a knife or nail clippers – even hammers. The next time you reach for that cold one, or bag of chips, or had that lunker lunch your lure…stop and think about the damage you could be doing to your teeth.

DO Floss Them Often

That means not just when you come to see your dentist, and not just before date night. Flossing stimulates gum health by cleaning between the teeth and under the gum line.

If your gums bleed when you brush your teeth, don’t take that as a reason to NOT floss your teeth. Bleeding gums is actually one of the first signs of gingivitis, or inflammation of the gums, which if left untreated can lead to tooth loss.

DON’T Skip Regular Dental Checkups

We can say with some level of confidence that 5 out of 5 dentists recommend a checkup, exam, & cleaning at least every six months.

If we choose to ignore our trusted wise beyond their years dentists, we have nobody to blame for that high dental bill than ourselves.

Skipping regular dental appointments allows plaque – that sticky invasive food residue that isn’t removed from brushing or flossing – to form tartar, which attracts more plaque on its surface, carrying the plaque deeper within the gums.

As with most things health related, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Wouldn’t you rather invest in a preventative daily dental health routine and visit your friendly neighborhood dentist 2-3 times a year than shell out major duckets for major dental work when things get to bad to bear?

DO Wear A Mouthguard

OK, maybe you’re playing days are long gone, then at least make sure the athlete(s) in your family wear a mouthguard next time they take the field or court. It doesn’t matter how tiny they may be, if they have teeth and their playing sports, make sure they wear a mouthguard!

Mouthguards comes in all shapes and colors, but to get the best fit possible ask you dentist about a custom fit mouthguard to give your little go-getter the best protection available for their teeth.

DON’T Bite Your Nails OR Chew On Ice

Yes, that’s actually two things – but the negative impacts of nail-biting or chewing ice are the same.

Ice is cold and hard, therefore chomping on it can cause serious damage to your teeth. Nail biting is often a habit, doing so can not only cause chipped or broken teeth and damaged tooth enamel – like the ice chewing – but chronic nail biting can also cause your teeth to become misaligned by actually moving them out of place.

DO Smile More

It’s clinically proven, smiling is contagious!

Maybe that’s a reach, but couldn’t we all use some more smiles in our life?

According to a recent article from on smile confidence, a white smile doesn’t just indicate healthy teeth and gums; your dental health also plays a significant role in how confident you feel.

“When you smile, others are more likely to smile back, and are more drawn to you, thereby increasing your confidence and happiness even more.”

DON’T Forget To Smile

Research shows that the better you feel about your looks, the better you feel about yourself, explains psychologist Ann Demarais, Ph.D. as cited in the aforementioned article.

“When your teeth look white and sparkly, you can relax, be in the moment and laugh. You are more confident and radiant,” she says, adding that the mere act of putting your mouth in the shape of a smile changes the blood flow to the brain and actually makes you feel happier.

The fact that smiling itself boosts your mood has a further positive impact because smiling has a contagious effect.

So we can actually apply some smile science to the hypothesis that smiling is contagious…

Check out this video to see other ways we can treat our teeth with some more TLC…


Got Any Other Healthy Teeth Tips To Share?


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This post originally appeared on Dental Patient News and has been republished with permission.

Image Credit:Nick Schnelle/Columbia (MO) Daily Tribune

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