The reason that so many people develop serious dental issues that require serious interventions is not because oral health is so difficult to maintain. On the contrary, it’s fairly easy to keep up healthy teeth.
The reason dental problems are so common is because many people aren’t consistent about taking care of their teeth. And many also have unhealthy habits that cause damage to teeth over time.
Eating a lot of candy on Halloween, for example, may not have long term effects, but a daily candy habit will certainly catch up with you.
The good news is that there are a few simple tweaks to your routines that can go a long way in helping you take care of your precious pearly whites.
1. Swear Off Soda
By now, there’s no claiming ignorance about the detriments of sugary drinks like soda. We all know that scary factoid about how one can of Coke has 10 teaspoons of sugar. While you’d never heap that much sugar into your coffee, it’s easy to down a can of soda without thinking about what you’re actually drinking. Still, many have trouble giving the stuff up.
If you have a soda habit, we suggest trying sparkling water instead. It will fulfill your carving for carbonation without the sugar. You can even add in a bit of natural fruit juice for flavor. And now, there are many home carbonating machines on the market, so it’s easy to make a healthy version of soda in your own kitchen. Just stick to natural flavoring to keep it good for teeth.
2. Rinse it Out
We know that it’s pretty unrealistic to expect everyone to permanently swear off soda and sweets. Even the most health-conscious dentists occasionally enjoy a sweet treat. But what you can do is minimize the damage of these acid-causing foods by immediately rinsing with water. No matter where you are, you can always slip away to the bathroom and swish around with water to lessen food’s damage to teeth.
3. Chew Away
While you’ll usually hear dentists telling you to avoid candy and gum like the plague, you might be surprised to learn that we’ll fully support your use of sugar-free gum. In fact, it can actually be good for your teeth. Chewing sugar-free gum after meals helps rid your mouth of the harmful acid that hangs around after eating.
Next time you’re at the convenient store, look for ADA-endorsed sugar free gum that has been officially deemed safe by dentists. Then just keep the pack in your pocket and chew a piece for 20 minutes after you eat. It’ll help your teeth and give you fresh breath.
4. Have Your Cake and Eat it Too
Maintaining oral health doesn’t mean never touching dessert again. It’s more about being aware of when and how many times you indulge. It’s best to reserve a sweet treat for just once a day. You might be surprised to learn that you’d be better off eating a lot of sweets once a day than you would eating one piece of candy at 5 different times throughout your day. The reason? Each time you have sugary foods, it does damage for about 20 minutes – so snacking on sweets all day can quickly add up to hours of damage.
5. Checkups Early and Often
Of course the best way to maintain oral health is to visit your dentist at least every 6 months for a thorough cleaning and checkup. Just because you don’t feel any issues with your teeth doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Visiting the dentist often ensures that any issue will be caught and treated before it does long-term damage that may result in lengthy and costly treatments down the road.