Proper home care is one important key to maintaining optimal dental health. Your teeth and gums need your full attention to look and feel their best. That means brushing twice a day, using light pressure and circular brush motion.
In the office and at home, fluoride plays an important role in keeping your teeth healthy. When you brush at home, a fluoride toothpaste is recommended to provide extra protection. Flossing, too, is essential. It clears away food from places your brush can’t reach, eliminating safe havens for bacteria and debris. Mouthwash can also be an effective way to control the bacteria that form plaque along the gum line and cause periodontal disease.
Beyond these basics, there are many choices we can make every day to improve the health of our teeth and gums. Some, such as smoking, impact our overall health.
Smoking yellows the teeth, causes bad breath and vastly increases your risk of cancer. And the newest fashion of the moment, vaping, isn’t much better. Although vaping does not coat the teeth with tar, it does transmit nicotine, and sometimes dyes that are added to flavored vaping liquids. Regular vaping also damages gum tissue.
Another bad habit is consuming foods that have the potential to damage teeth or cause decay. It’s not hard to guess what types of chewing behaviors are bad for your smile — opening bottles with your teeth, for example. Biting down on hard candy, popcorn kernels and other unyielding foods creates small fractures in teeth, and can ultimately lead to more serious problems.
In this same category of negative behaviors are continual snacking throughout the day, which allows bacteria to build up in the mouth. Some foods are naturally adept at staining teeth. Most people know that drinking large amounts of wine, coffee or tea will discolor teeth, but many sodas have the same effect. Acid in soda damages enamel, and sugary drinks promote decay. Deep pigment in foods can act as a natural dye, darkening our teeth. In this category are blueberries, blackberries, beets, pomegranates and even turmeric, which is a key ingredient in many curries.
In addition, clenching and grinding can reposition teeth and lead to jaw pain and headaches. If you find this is a hard habit to break, Dr. Añonuevo can supply you with a mouth guard to prevent nighttime grinding. Special protective devices are also available for patients who engage in vigorous contact sports.
Once you’ve mastered these home care fundamentals, it’s important to remember to schedule a dental appointment at least every six months. Regular exams can catch developing problems early, such as cavities and gingivitis. And dental cleanings by your hygienist will help to promote good dental health and preserve a dazzling smile.
If you would like to discuss your specific dental needs with a respected, trustworthy dentist in Charlotte, we invite you to book a consultation with Dr. Añonuevo. Please call or email Inspire Dentistry of the Carolinas today to make your appointment.