Don’t Give Dental Hygiene The “Brush Off”

Our last few Wellness columns have talked about good nutrition and the importance of careful use of salt and sugar. We also know that healthy teeth and gums can play an important role in overall health. If you have children at home at the moment, you might consider setting aside some time to talk about healthy dental hygiene with your kids. This could be an ideal time for conversations and role-playing that help every family member develop healthy habits.

Here are some reminders and a few tips that many folks often overlook in taking good care of their teeth.

Floss is the boss. Regular flossing as part of each teeth brushing activity is a must. It’s the step right before mouthwash that gets rid of food particles and the plaque that forms between your teeth, that often lead to cavities.

Brush regularly. At a minimum, thoroughly brush your teeth before and after going to bed to help minimize the bacterial build up in your mouth that can often be a cavity contributor. If your schedule allows, also make time to brush (and floss) right after every meal. This is the best way remove food particles that collect during the day. Your ideal brushing session should last about 2 minutes. Don’t forget to run your brush across your tongue as well. This simple added step will make your breath a little fresher and cut down on the amount of germs and bacteria in your mouth.

Eat & drink healthy. For starters, try to avoid sugar-laden products, especially soft drinks and other sweet beverages. Sugar encourages teeth decay. Water is a much better option. Similarly, healthy foods usually include vitamins and minerals, which can help to strengthen your teeth and gums.

Don’t ignore discomfort. Finally, if you are experiencing any kind of pain, please contact your dentist right away. Pain, even a mild throb or occasional twinge, is your body’s very effective way of telling you that something isn’t quite right. Often, its an indication of an infection of some sort. Neglecting discomfort and problem areas with your teeth and gums inevitably lead to more extensive and invasive procedures in the future. Being proactive with dental health is always the better option.