Leading a Dental Healthy Lifestyle
Good dental care goes beyond brushing twice a day. We all know about avoiding sugar and trying to floss every day, but if you want to keep your teeth well into old age, you might need to make some small lifestyle changes.
But what to do? There’s so much conflicting advice out there that it can be hard to nail down what’s good and what’s bad for your teeth. Fortunately, we’re here for you. Here are a few basic, easy to follow rules to live by that could help you keep your teeth healthy and strong for decades to come.
Supporting your teeth with the right foods
Choosing teeth-friendly foods is no different and no harder than choosing low-cholesterol foods to stay heart healthy or avoiding excessive alcohol to preserve your liver. There are two key interrelated culprits behind a lot of tooth decay – acid and sugar.
While everyone knows that sugar is bad for your teeth, a lot fewer know why. Sugar from the food and drinks we consume feed bacteria living on our teeth, who then use this sugar to produce acid, dissolving and damaging the enamel of the tooth, resulting in decay. Avoiding sugar in your diet can reduce the production of bacterial acid, and regular brushing can help to remove bacteria from the teeth, giving your mouth a rest from the acid.
Avoiding or minimising your consumption of acidic foods and beverages such as juice, citrus, tomatoes and wine can also help to reduce the rate of enamel erosion. Certain drinks such as tea and coffee, as well as the aforementioned wine, can also stain the teeth, dulling them to a slightly browner colour. Staining is not a sign of damage but may be worth raising with your dentist if you’re concerned about the beverage’s effect on your enamel.
Making the right choices
There are lots of other things you can do to protect your teeth into old age. Athletes and sportspeople should ensure they always wear a properly fitted mouthguard to protect against breakages or chipping. Smokers should consider quitting as this can increase the rate of plaque production, putting you closer to gum disease. And everyone should be having regular dental check-ups. Don’t wait until something goes wrong, ensure that you’re visiting your dentist every six months so you can take preventative – not corrective – action.