Taking care of your teeth doesn’t have to require receiving expensive treatment from Dr. Beck and our team at South Waterfront Dental. Dental fillings, crowns, and implants can all be avoided by making a commitment to practicing quality oral hygiene on a daily basis. Unfortunately, if you only pay attention to your oral health when something goes wrong, that just means you’re likely to have more problems overall.
Fortunately, Dr. Beck has a few tips for patients on how they can strengthen their teeth and prevent developing future oral health problems. So while brushing and flossing will always remain the most effective habits for preventing tooth decay and gum disease, here are a few other ways you can strengthen your smile.
Be Selective About Your Toothpaste
While they may all look similar sitting on the shelves of your local grocery store, not all brands of toothpaste work equally well at protecting your oral health. Before we discuss which brands to avoid, make sure that whatever brand you do select contains fluoride; it works to rebuild weakened tooth enamel and reverses the early stages of tooth decay.
You should be very cautious before using any brand of whitening toothpaste. These types of brands often contain added agents that make the toothpaste more abrasive so they can better scrub stains from the surface of enamel. However, these same abrasive agents can also weaken enamel, especially if your teeth are already damaged by decay. If you want to whiten your smile, consult with Dr. Beck to make sure your teeth are healthy before starting any treatments.
Chew Sugar-Free Gum
Despite what some people think about chewing gum – it’s actually illegal in Singapore and not allowed at Disneyworld – the practice actually has some benefits for your oral health. Chewing gum helps to increase the amount of saliva produced by your mouth. If you chew gum after eating a large meal, this increased saliva flow will help to neutralize and wash away any acids produced when the bacteria in your mouth breaks down the food.
Furthermore, research has found that chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after a meal can help to prevent tooth decay. To find the right brand to chew, make sure to look for brands that contain active agents that can help to remineralize your teeth, reduce plaque deposits, and prevent gingivitis. If that sounds complicated, just look for brands that carry the ADA’s seal of approval. The ADA only puts their seal of approval on sugar-free gums.
Cut Down on Sugar
Any food or beverage that’s high in sugar or starch is harmful to your long-term oral health because it creates bacteria on the surface of your teeth. This bacteria then feeds on the sugars we consume to produce harmful acids that slowly erode away at our tooth enamel. Over time, this bacteria – commonly called plaque – will contribute to the development of cavities and gum disease.
You want to watch out for highly acidic foods and items that combine both sugar and acid together like sour candies. These types of items typically contain high amounts of citric acid, which can cause some serious damage to your tooth enamel. Other types of foods to avoid include gummy, sticky, and hard candies that stay in the mouth for an extend period of time. The more time sugary items stay in the mouth, the more plaque can use their sugars to produce the substances that weaken enamel and cause decay.
Improve Your Diet
The added benefit of cutting back on sugars and starches is that you get to replace those food with items healthier for your body and oral health. Your body can even reinforce tooth enamel that’s been weakened by consuming fortifying foods. Dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, and milk have the phosphorous and calcium necessary to strengthen and remineralize tooth enamel. They also have the added benefit of helping to promote the production of additional saliva in the mouth, which has preventative properties against harmful bacteria.
Certain types of foods – such as celery – actually help to clean the mouth as you eat them. Crunchy vegetables with a high water content scrub the surface of your teeth when eaten while also helping to flush food particles from your mouth. Combined, these properties have given these types of foods the nickname of “nature’s toothbrush.”
At South Waterfront Dental, We Can Help
While these tips can help improve your oral health at home, it’s still important that patients schedule regular exams and cleanings with Dr. Beck to enjoy a healthy smile for a lifetime. Exams and cleanings give our staff at South Waterfront the chance to spot the signs of decay and disease early on while still easily treatable.
Take pride in the health and appearance of your smile by contacting our office today!