Did you know that June is Oral Health Month?
To celebrate, we’ll show you how to prioritize your oral health with some helpful tips. To maintain a healthy mouth, we suggest filling your home with tooth-friendly foods and limiting those that damage your teeth. It’s also crucial to keep a consistent oral health routine, only use your teeth for chewing, wear protective oral health gear when needed, and visit your dentist regularly.
Ways to prioritize oral health
Taking care of your oral health doesn’t need to be difficult. Simple changes in your everyday life can help keep your smile healthy.
Be conscious of your diet
A consistent and nutritious diet can benefit your oral health as well as your overall health. Here are some tooth-friendly options to consider:
- Fruits and vegetables: Fruits and veggies that contain fiber can clean your teeth and gums as you consume them. Apples, pears, carrots, and celery all help keep your teeth clean and benefit your well-being.
- Dairy products: Things like cheese, yogurt, and milk can help your body create more saliva, provide a needed source of calcium, and can help with tooth enamel.
- Drinks and foods containing fluoride: Water that contains fluoride, as well as drinks and certain food items made with this water, can help your oral health. This can include store-bought and “prepared foods, such as poultry products, seafood, and powdered cereals.”
Remember to read labels when grocery shopping to avoid buying food with excess sugars that may damage your teeth.
Now that we’ve looked at some tooth-friendly foods, here are foods that you should try to avoid or consume in moderation:
- Candy: Not all sweets are created equal, and it’s best to avoid sticky, sour, and long-lasting candies because they’re trouble for your oral health. While treats like chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, potentially have benefits for your mouth and your heart, items that keep harmful sugars in your mouth and on your teeth, like “lollipops, caramels, and cough drops,” should be avoided.
- Breads and chips: Starchy foods can be a bit of a double-whammy for your teeth because your saliva can break the starch down into sugar and they can get stuck between your teeth. That’s the perfect place for cavities to form.
- Alcohol: Consuming alcohol may lead to a dry mouth. Chronic dry mouth can cause discomfort and negatively impact an individual’s quality of life. When consuming alcohol, remember to drink plenty of water.
- Carbonated drinks: While sparkling waters may not be as bad for your teeth as you might think, carbonated soft drinks have the potential to be. That’s because of the added sugar and acids that can cause cavities and damage tooth enamel. We recommend limiting soda consumption to protect your enamel.
Only use your teeth for chewing
The enamel on your teeth is one of the toughest substances in your body and it’s crucial to maintaining a healthy mouth. But that doesn’t mean you should use your teeth like a Swiss Army knife. Don’t use them to chew ice, cut things like they’re scissors, or open bottles or other packaged items.
The best way to protect your enamel is to use your teeth to chew food, pronounce words, and smile.
Use protective gear when playing sports
Good oral health protection includes considering the potential for teeth and mouth injuries when participating in sports, particularly those with contact or high speeds. According to a 2019 systematic review and meta-analysis, athletes who wear mouthguards are “82 percent to 93 percent less likely to suffer dentofacial injuries.”
Here are some sports where a mouthguard should be utilized:
- Mountain biking
Have a consistent oral health routine
Keeping a consistent oral health routine should be second nature. This includes brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day, flossing once per day, and visiting your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups.
We get it. Brushing for two minutes (and flossing) might seem like an eternity, but it’s essential to ensure each tooth is cleaned correctly and your mouth is free from cavity-causing debris and bacteria.
Dental visits are just as important, and they should occur twice a year (every six months). Your dentist can clean plaque in unreachable places and check for signs of cavities, tooth decay, and even oral cancer and other diseases.
If you or a loved one is scared of the dentist, try these tips to ease dental anxiety.
To learn more about why it’s important to prioritize your oral health, check out this blog: Life with Unhealthy Teeth.