Smile! Do’s and Don’t’s for Oral Health
Oral health, which includes everything relating to the mouth—teeth, gums, tongue, etc., is an important part of overall health. We hear about cavities and gum disease, but did you know that poor oral hygiene is also linked to diabetes, heart disease, stroke, childbirth complications, and cancer?
Obviously the importance of brushing, flossing, and keeping regular dental appointments cannot be overstated. Additionally, here are some other important things to keep in mind when it comes to taking care of your mouth.
Eat plenty of nutrient-rich foods.
As with all things health-related, a nutrient-rich diet is important for a healthy mouth and teeth. Specifically, calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium are all very important for oral health. Instead of trying to micromanage intake of each of these nutrients, focus on a diet rich in quality protein and fat, with an abundance of vegetables and fruit.
Drink plenty of water.
It may sound simple, but drinking water helps to keep the mouth clean. It washes away debris and dilutes acids that can harm teeth. Check out our blog on staying hydrated for more information on drinking water.
Have some green tea.
Green tea contains antioxidants that have potent antibacterial properties. Regular intake of unsweetened green tea is linked to prevention of cavities and tooth decay. BONUS: there’s also evidence that drinking green tea may reduce bad breath!
Pay attention to symptoms.
While regular dentist visits will typically catch any issues before they present symptoms, it’s important to know when your mouth needs professional attention. Here are several warning signs that you shouldn’t ignore: ulcers/sores that don’t heal after a week or two, bleeding or swollen gums, pain/toothache, loose teeth, receding gums, cracked/broken teeth. For more warning signs, click HERE.
Neglect your tongue!
We hear about plaque buildup on teeth, but plaque can also take residence on the tongue. This is a contributor to bad breath and can lead to oral health issues in general. In addition to regularly brushing your tongue, you may want to look intotongue scraping.
Go heavy on the sugary foods.
You’ve surely heard this for as long as you can remember, but its importance can’t be overstated. Sugar creates an acidic environment in the mouth by feeding cavity-causing bacteria. So, while “bad” bacteria is ultimately the issue, sugar is what helps the bacteria thrive. And while it’s not reasonable or necessary to completely avoid them, also keep in mind that acidic fruits, teas, and coffee can wear down tooth enamel, which is what helps protect teeth from being damaged.
Have questions? Comment to let us know! We hope that these do’s and don’t’s serve as a helpful reminder for what you already know and also equip you with some new information to better your oral health. The mouth is the entrance to both the digestive and respiratory tract, so it’s very important to keep it in good shape.