When you think of healthy teeth and gums, you might not immediately think of other health issues. But the fact is that good oral health is very closely connected to good overall health. Gum disease, for example, has been linked to serious health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, respiratory problems and even Alzheimer’s disease. This is why it’s so important to achieve and maintain good oral health. Here is a list of five simple ways to improve the health of your teeth and gums.
- Floss every day. Do more than just brush your teeth (although brushing is certainly important). Any oral hygiene routine that does not include flossing is inadequate to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Food particles routinely become trapped between teeth, and that leads to bacteria forming, which all too quickly leads to tooth decay and gum disease. Floss at least once a day, and preferably after you brush your teeth and right before you go to bed.
- Buy a good toothbrush. Your brush doesn’t have to be an expensive, top-of-the-line electric model, but it should be one with soft bristles that easily fits inside your mouth. You should be able to reach all tooth surfaces with the brush, and remember to replace the toothbrush (or the brush head, if you use an electric brush) every few months. Brush at least twice a day, and take the time needed to do a thorough job.
- Start using an antibacterial mouthwash. Using a good mouthwash at least once a day helps wash away any remaining food particles from in between teeth and under the gum line, which prevents bacteria from forming. The less bacteria you have inside your mouth, the lower your risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease.
- Consider a water flosser. Using a water flosser tool at least once a day is yet another way to remove leftover food particles that flossing and mouthwash may leave behind. The sequence of your oral hygiene routine should be: 1) brush; 2) floss; 3) water floss; and 4) rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash.
- Eat right and drink tap water. The foods you eat have a significant impact on your oral health. Generally speaking, you should eat nutritious whole foods (i.e., not processed) and avoid eating too much sugar. Certain foods are especially good for your oral health, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese. When choosing a beverage, make it tap water – particularly if you live in a town or city with fluoridated water. Drinking more water not only washes away leftover food particles, it also helps you to stay away from beverages that are extremely damaging to oral health, such as sugary sodas, for example.
Improving your oral health isn’t that difficult or complicated. It simply requires sticking to a daily oral hygiene routine, eating a healthy diet, drinking more fluoridated water, and visiting your dentist at least twice a year for professional cleanings and oral exams. Following these simple steps will help to improve not only your oral health, but your overall health as well.