Yeah, I know, no brainer, right? If we want fresh breath, a nice smile and no cavities we know we should brush our teeth every day, but then reality happens and by day’s end we’re so dog tired we just want to fall face-first into a pillow. Mornings start with groggily flailing at an alarm until forced out of bed with minutes to spare, and often doing a quick breath check and popping a mint or some gum while running out the door.
Most of us do brush our teeth better than that guy, but some of us are not as thorough as we should be, especially if we’ve had good luck at the dentist’s office so far. What are the essentials to know, then?
That’s how long we should be brushing each time. Set a timer to get an idea of how much longer that is than what you’ve been doing. Yeah, me too. Oops.
Always brush your teeth before bed, because that’s when all the nasty stuff we talked about in the flossing article just dig in to destroy your enamel.
How to Brush Properly
When brushing your teeth, position the bristles at an angle of 45 degrees near the gum line. Both the gum line and the tooth surface should be in contact with the bristles. Brush the outer surfaces of the teeth using a back-and-forth, up-and-down motion, making sure to be done gently in order to avoid bleeding. To clean the inside surfaces of the teeth and gums, place the bristles at a 45-degree angle again and repeat the back-and-forth, up-and-down motion. Lastly, brush the surfaces of your tongue and the roof of your mouth to remove bacteria, which causes evil breath.
What If There’s No Time?
If you’re too busy to brush as often as you’d like, at least rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after eating.
What to Avoid
Cut down on alcohol, drink your lattes with a straw to avoid staining, perhaps choose white instead of red wine, and just leave tobacco alone.
Diet Soda too! Interestingly, it doesn’t matter if it’s sugary pop or diet soda, although sugary is worse. The problem is that soda contains a lot of phosphorous, which depletes your body of calcium as your body struggles to digest it. Less calcium, less strength in your bones and teeth, right?
Drugs, including prescription drugs cause dry mouth, and without enough saliva all those acids and sugars don’t get washed away from tooth surfaces making for brittle teeth and eroding enamel. Among the illegal drugs, meth especially causes fast erosion of the teeth because it’s so very caustic. Dentists have even coined the term ‘meth mouth’. If you’re not familiar with the term, do a google image search. Horrifying. Many drugs also cause bruxism, or teeth grinding, which can literally break your teeth. Heroin addicts get hung up on sugar, as do alcoholics, causing tooth rot that way. Just don’t get started. It’s not worth it.
Bulimia will also ruin your oral health. because of the effects of stomach acids eating the enamel on your teeth, not to mention the fact that you’re not getting the nutrients you need from a healthy diet.
Looks are completely dependent on how well you take care of your body through diet and exercise. That means getting the minerals you need as well. Calcium and Vitamin D are necessary for maintaining the health of gums and teeth. Vitamin B complex is also essential for the protection of gums and teeth from cracking and bleeding. Copper, zinc, iodine, iron and potassium are also required for maintaining healthy dental hygiene, and the best way to get those is by eating well.
So eat your veggies, drink healthy beverages, and don’t forget to visit your dentist twice a year for checkups and cleaning. Smile. 🙂
What works for you?