It’s the time of the year where we all think a little longer about what we’re thankful for. Whether it’s having a warm place to sleep, a good job, food in our bellies, or having our favorite people around for the holidays. Everyone has something that fills them with gratitude, but have you ever wondered what your teeth are thankful for?
Our teeth do a lot for us on a daily basis. Between being the starting point for digestion and maintaining your facial structure -day or night, your teeth are always on the clock. Which means you should be too when it comes to taking care of them. Here are 10 helpful tips and tricks for keeping your teeth happy, healthy, and thankful this Thanksgiving!
- Brush your teeth twice a day: This is crucial for keeping your teeth thankful as well as intact. When you go to bed without brushing you’re allowing the bacteria on your teeth to sit and harden all night. This can lead to plaque, tartar, and even gum disease. This is why it’s super important to brush your teeth in the morning and before you go to bed for at least 2 minutes each time.
- Flossing at least once a day: It’s as important as brushing. The bristles on your toothbrush aren’t small enough to get into those little spaces between our teeth. When you don’t floss plaque starts to build up in those little crevices. The longer it sits there the harder it is to remove and then it becomes easier to develop gum disease. Flossing can be difficult, especially with children, ask us about recommended alternatives to traditional floss string.
- Minimize acidic drinks: Beverages such as fruit juices and sodas all have very low PH balances. Which means they are more acidic and break down the shiny, smooth layer of protection on your teeth called enamel. It’s your enamel’s job to protect your teeth from plaque and tartar. When the acid eats away at it you lose that protection and it doesn’t grow back. It’s best to limit these drinks to special treats and drink lots of water immediately after.
- Beware of sugary foods: Whether its candy or foods that have a high amount of sugar in them, the bacteria in our mouths pair with that sugar and turn it into acid. The acid then eats away at your enamel, which we covered in No.3. It’s important to limit these foods as well as drink water after, you also want to wait 30 minutes before brushing after you eat or drink sugary things. This helps avoid grinding the acid deeper into your enamel.
- Avoid tobacco: Not only can smoking and chewing tobacco turn your teeth yellow, but it also puts you at a higher risk of tooth loss, developing gum disease, and oral cancer. Tobacco damages the gum line around your teeth leaving pockets where bacteria, plaque, and tartar easily build up. Once those pockets are festering, the bacteria starts to eat away at your bone structure.
- Only use your teeth for chewing: A lot of people have the bad habit of opening bottles, cracking nuts or seeds, ripping open packages, and doing other things with their teeth. This can lead to cracked or broken teeth and even mouth sores. Remember to only use your teeth for chewing and if you have a cracked or broken tooth call your dentist right away. Teeth don’t fix themselves!
- Research before poking the hole: An oral piercing, much like any piercing, can make you feel great about yourself but have you thought about the potential harm? Your mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria and when you introduce a healing wound to it, there are endless amounts of infections you could get if the piercing is not taken care of properly. There is a risk of uncontrollable bleeding and nerve damage. You are also at risk for chipping or breaking teeth, and swallowing or choking on balls or studs if they come loose. Be sure to do the research and only go to a licensed and reputable piercer.
- Protect your teeth: Injury can happen in any physical activity which is why it’s very important to wear a mouthguard if you play any sports. The mouthguard protects your tongue, teeth, cheeks, lip lining, and gums from serious injury. Ask us about which mouthguard works best for your sport.
- Drink water: Water has lots of benefits not limited to keeping us alive. When you drink water between meals and brushing it helps to rinse away some of that harmful bacteria. It also helps to prevent dry mouth while strengthening your teeth and gums!
- Visit your dentist at least twice a year: Seeing your dentist twice a year is crucial to your dental health. Get cleanings, check for gum disease, and make sure everything is working the way it’s supposed to.
Terrace Oaks Dental
Patrick Gibbs, D.M.D.
5218 E. Fowler Avenue
Temple Terrace, FL 33617