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Beyond the Dentist’s Office – Maintaining Good Oral Health at Home

Jun 15, 2018 by Comfort Keepers Newark, DE

Did you know that the way we treat our mouths can actually impact the rest of our health? You may think skipping that second tooth brushing or not flossing very often won’t be a big deal, but over time, it can lead to a disease diagnosis that could’ve been prevented.

Here are some tips to up your oral hygiene game and keep you at your healthiest self:

Invest in the Right Tools

Are you brushing your teeth with the same rickety toothbrush you’ve had for years? What’s the status of your flossing? Is mouthwash part of your routine?

Time to upgrade the tools you use to keep your teeth clean and healthy. Consider throwing out that old toothbrush and upgrading to an electric one. Be sure to switch to a new toothbrush head as directed to make sure it’s cleaning your teeth adequately each and every time.

As far as floss goes, it may be too difficult for you to floss in your older age, but that’s okay – look into buying a Waterpik or a simple handheld flosser (sort of like a toothbrush, but for flossing).

Think about buying mouthwash to use at night before you go to bed, too. There are alcohol-free mouthwashes available now so that it won’t burn your mouth, leaving your teeth just as clean without the sting.

Take Care of These Tools

Once you invest in these new teeth tools, you need to make sure and take care of them, because what good will they do you if they are dirty or run-down? Replace the heads on your toothbrush as needed, and clean your toothbrush and flosser frequently.

There are other dental tools you may need to take care of, too, such as dentures, bridges, or crowns. Ensure you are cleaning each different appliance correctly and frequently. This includes any dental implants you may have – you should be treating them like your own teeth and brushing them, too!

Watch What you Eat

You may have heard the phrase “sugar rots your teeth,” and frankly, it has some degree of truth to it.

Sugary foods and drinks aren’t the only culprit, however. Some foods wear down your enamel, some stain your teeth and give you bad breath, and some are sticky and potentially damaging. Try reducing your consumption of the following foods, or even get rid of them altogether:

  • Almonds. Not only are they a tough nut to eat, but the shape of them and the resulting angle needed to bite down on one can actually fracture your teeth.
  • Dried fruit. Dried fruits contain much more sugary than fresh, and are also quite sticky and difficult to chew. Sticky foods can cause bacteria to cling to your teeth more easily, especially if you don't clean it out of your teeth all the way.
  • Citrus. As healthy as they are for you, citrus fruits are incredibly acidic, which wears down on your enamel.
  • Coffee and tea. Use a straw when drinking these, as they can stain your teeth. Coffee can also be acidic if consumed frequently.
  • Pickles and other pickled things. This is another example of acidic food damaging your teeth.
  • Peanut butter. This sticky food is delicious and nutritious, but can again be packed with sugar and stick to your teeth in places that are hard to get out.

Brush Your Teeth

This sounds like cliché advice, but it’s a good reminder that you should be brushing your teeth twice a day, with toothpaste that contains fluoride. Be sure to get every surface of your teeth, and to brush for at least two minutes.

Also, don’t forget your tongue! Brush it, too, or use the tongue scraper sometimes put on the back of toothbrushes. Lots of bacteria can build up here, but people aren’t quite aware of that.

Report Any Anomalies to Your Dentist

If you notice any of the following symptoms, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible:

  • Tooth or gum pain
  • Dry mouth
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Change in taste
  • Anything out of the ordinary or any concerns you may have

They could signify an underlying medical problem, and greatly degrade your quality of life if not taken care of. If you do not have a dentist you can find one in your area using the ADA's Online Dentist Locator.

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