Ever notice how, sometimes, the more toothsome a tempting treat may seem, the more trauma it means for your teeth? There’s no doubt about it, oral health issues–whether we’re talking tooth decay, unusual sensitivity, or something else–can really bite. What’s more, research continually emphasizes the significant connection between oral and overall health. In fact, in addition to being Heart Health Month, February hosts National Children’s Dental Health Month, so there’s no time like the present to fine-tune your routines when it comes to being proactive for your pearly whites, especially with Valentine’s Day at hand!
You’re already brushing and flossing, right? Limiting sticky, sugary foods and drinks? Well then, give yourself a pat on the back, keep up the great work, and check out these easy tips for showing off that stunning smile.
Snack on apples. An apple a day has potential to do a whole lot more for your health than just keep the doctor at bay! It may curb those dental expenses, too. Apples have often been referred to as nature’s toothbrush because they stimulate the gums, increase saliva flow, which helps to decrease the acidity in the mouth and wash away food particles. This helps to reduce built-up bacteria as well. Consider rounding off each midday meal with a crisp, juicy apple or other fresh fruit, and routinely pack in kids’ lunchboxes.
Go for clean and crisp. In addition to apples, crisp, firm foods like raw carrots, celery, and even popcorn help clean teeth as soon as they’re eaten, removing sticky particles and increasing saliva. Include these in your end-of-meal routine when you know the chance to brush is a little while away.
Chuck the brush. Simply remembering to get a new toothbrush (or change the head on your electric one) every two to three months goes a long way in promoting oral hygiene. Over time, bacteria build-up means you’re doing little more than transferring bacteria around your mouth when brushing. Remember too, hold your toothbrush at approximately a 45-degree angle for best results.
Get your gargle on. It may sound silly, but it only takes a moment. Gargling a little apple cider vinegar in the morning before brushing as usual can help remove stains, naturally whiten teeth, and kill bacteria.
Eat a balanced diet. Just as unhealthy teeth and gums can be indicators of more widespread health problems, so too can a diet that’s healthy for your body as a whole be helpful for your teeth. Choose nutritious, whole foods to get the nutrition you need. Some studies suggest hearty-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish such as wild salmon and sardines, as well as some plant based sources like walnuts and flaxseeds, can reduce inflammation and help prevent gum disease.
Check in with your dentist. Regular cleanings are essential for the whole family. Skipping out is likely to land you feeling pennywise, pound foolish. It is recommended kids visit the dentist around their first birthday, and are scheduled for cleanings every six months, just like their parents, from the time they are three. For teething babies, wipe gums with a washcloth after feeding to help control plaque buildup.