Start the new year out right with some healthy teeth habits! January is a great time for new resolutions and changing your life for the better. Starting with your health—especially your dental health—will get you ahead this year. What you do with your eating and teeth habits and your oral hygiene routine will determine how strong and healthy your teeth and gums are. Learn 5 things about your teeth that will make a difference in the health of your mouth for years to come!
Your Dental Health
One of the biggest concerns when it comes to the health of your mouth is avoiding tooth decay. Some people get cavities and feel like it is simply a part of life. However, cavities are 100% avoidable if you have healthy teeth habits. Just like any other part of your body, you have to take care of your teeth every single day to keep them healthy. You do this through brushing your teeth and flossing them every single day. The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth at least twice a day.
Most people have tooth decay at some point in their life. You know tooth decay by the name of cavities. Cavities are common in children, but they are also a problem in adults. In fact, tooth decay (also known as “dental caries”) is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases in adults and children. Tooth decay happens without you even realizing it. When you eat, sugars in the foods you eat mix with bacteria in your mouth. This creates a sticky, acidic substance called plaque. Plaque sits on your teeth and the acids in it erode away your tooth enamel. The more sugar you eat, the more plaque your mouth makes, and the higher your risk for tooth decay.
Healthy Teeth Habits
There are other teeth habits you have to think about to keep your teeth healthy. Some foods are very hard and can break your teeth. Other foods are acidic (including drinks) and will erode your tooth enamel. As we mentioned, sugar is also an enamel-killer, so you also have to watch out for foods high in sugar when you’re eating and drinking. Some healthy teeth habits you should consider include:
- Avoid chewing on ice. Ice is hardened water, but it is hard enough to chip, crack or fracture teeth. When it comes to ice, suck on it instead of chewing it.
- Eat balanced meals to stop constant snacking. If you snack often, chances are that you are choosing foods full of sugar to give you energy. Not only will this sugar increase your risk for tooth decay, but it will also lead to weight gain, energy crashes and an increased risk for diseases (such as diabetes). Plan meals and snacks ahead of time so you make a healthy choice for your teeth and your body.
- Get help from a dental professional for grinding and clenching. Many people grind or clench their teeth and don’t realize it. This can wear down your teeth over time and can lead to broken teeth. Many people also have daily headaches that will go away with proper dental appliances for grinding and clenching.
- Learn correct tooth-brushing methods to avoid tooth erosion. Brushing your teeth is how you will avoid tooth decay. However, you can brush your teeth too hard or too much, which can lead to tooth erosion. Make sure to choose a soft-bristle brush and to brush your teeth about 1 minute twice a day or after every meal.
- Break your tendency to bite your nails. Biting your nails can damage your teeth. You also want to avoid chewing on pencils, pens and other hard objects. These habits can crack or chip your tooth enamel. Also avoid opening packages or other items with your teeth.
Best Foods for Your Teeth
We can help you with many more tips to get healthy teeth. Avoiding bad teeth habits will get you ahead on your dental health, as you will avoid chronic problems before they start. Avoiding certain habits is only part of getting to a healthier smile and a healthier you. What you eat can help your dental health or hurt it. If you want to make your teeth stronger and healthier, you should eat foods such as dairy products, leafy greens, carrots and celery, as well as most vegetables. Veggies are high in vitamins (such as vitamin A) and high in many minerals such as calcium. Dairy products such as cheese, milk and yogurt, will be high in calcium and protein. Your teeth need vitamins such as calcium and phosphate to stay strong and to remineralize throughout the day. You get those vitamins and minerals from what you eat.
Celery and carrots (as well as hard veggies or fruits like them) help brush plaque from your teeth as you eat them. However, choose veggies over fruits to avoid high sugar. If your diet is still lacking in vitamins and minerals, consider a vitamin supplement to aid your teeth habits and diet.
Changing Teeth Habits Is Easy
January is a time for making changes and setting goals that will help you soar higher and achieve more. Many people make resolutions and goals for diet and exercise. Don’t forget to make new teeth habits that will keep your smile shining bright in 2018! We can help you with healthy teeth habits and with your oral health goals this year. Call Niles Family Dentistry at (303) 652-0400 for tips and to schedule your appointment for a cleaning and comprehensive exam!