Most dental professionals advise that poor oral hygiene, such as not brushing, not flossing, or not rinsing enough is the leading cause of gum disease and tooth decay. But this is just one way of attacking the problem. Whether you realise it or not, the foods you consume can affect your smile as much as brushing or flossing. Each time you eat sugary or starchy foods, the bacteria in plaque gets another chance to form decay-causing acid and bad breath can make you want to hide even the most pristine teeth. Therefore, choosing the right foods that naturally fight bacteria, remove plaque, strengthen the enamel, and freshen breath is equally important to preserve your pearly whites. I have listed here certain sure shot methods which will take care of your breath and pearly teeth, tempt you to keep smiling always, and thereby ensure an overall improvement in your general health too:-
1. Brush your teeth when you wake up in the morning and before you go to bed at night. In addition, brush your teeth every time you eat something solid, and at least after your breakfast and lunch.
2. Use a straw when consuming drinks which cause teeth-stains. It might feel awkward to drink coffee or red wine through a straw, but doing so can help minimise direct contact between your pearly whites and these staining liquids.
3. Rinse your teeth sometimes with hydrogen peroxide. A small amount of this mixed with water makes a great anti-bacterial and whitening rinse after brushing. But remember not to swallow! Occasionally, brush with baking soda, a gentle abrasive that can clean like toothpaste.
4. Always brush in circular and linear motion, not horizontal. Horizontal brushing may give you psychological satisfaction, but will not actually clean your teeth.
5. Change your tooth-brush every three months as they become ineffective after that time.
6. If you have sensitive teeth and delicate gums, use soft toothbrush. You can also find relief from rough bristles by running the toothbrush under hot water before brushing.
7. Don’t keep tooth-brushes near the toilet. The bacteria in the air might get transferred onto the brush.
FLOSSING & TONGUE CLEANING
8. But brushing is not enough, you must also floss. Flossing helps in thorough removal of bacteria in food particles trapped in the gaps between your teeth.
9. Follow with a thorough tongue cleaning session because a large number of bacteria reside in the rough corrugated surface of tongue. Tongue cleaning is very important. It helps reduce bad breath and improve oral hygiene status.
10. Drink plenty of water. It is a natural mouthwash that can help reduce stains left by coffee, soda and red wine.
11. Ensure that you include a lot of fruits and vegetables in your diet. By eating crisp fruits and vegetables such as apples, celery, cucumbers and carrots, your mouth is naturally cleaned. Plaque and food particles between your teeth and gums are removed during this process.
12. Grab a piece of cheese. After dinner, munch on some cheddar — it can help neutralise acids in your mouth.
13. Chew sugar free gum. Chewing gum increases saliva production, which helps to wash away plaque acid and bathe teeth in needed minerals to strengthen tooth enamel.
WHAT TO EAT
14. Avoid sugar and starches. Both sugar and carbs can feed bacteria that cause tooth decay. It’s just not the sweet stuff — a handful of crackers can have the same effect as a candy bar at feeding bacteria.
15. Try these healthy snacks that don’t attack your teeth — celery and carrot snacks with hummus or avocado dip, vegemite crackers with cheese or plain yogurt, fresh fruit and nut.
16. Cashew nuts help maintain healthy gums and teeth. The extra chewing it requires produces plenty of saliva, which neutralises the bacteria that causes cavities. Additionally, chomping on naturally abrasive foods massages gums and cleans between teeth.
17. Studies have shown that peanuts contain a good amount of calcium and vitamin D. Together these two promote good healthy teeth. Peanut butter sandwiches, salted shelled peanuts, unshelled or unsalted, however you like to eat them, there’s no denying that these wonderful little legumes are a healthy choice for the teeth.
18. Almonds are a great source of calcium. Studies have proved that the consumption of 12-15 almonds on a regular basis stuffs your body with around 40-50 mg of calcium. Almonds promote good healthy teeth and the calcium helps nourish and support healthy gum tissue.
19. Walnuts contain plant protein, folacin, dietary fiber, magnesium, iron, thiamine, niacin, vitamin E, vitamin B6, potassium and zinc, which are beneficial for teeth. The magnesium and phosphorus in walnuts is important for dental health.
20. Even if you don’t suffer from toothache or gum problems, visit your dentist (once every six months). A regular visit to a dentist for a clean up or a cavity check will incur minimum expenditure but would save you from maximum expenditure in the future.
THE LAST WORD
Good and healthy teeth are necessary for oral health and having good teeth makes you look younger, which is why you should visit a dentist regularly to help prevent problems before they get out of hand. So if you want to keep your pearly whites their brightest, your breath freshest and general health at its best, then follow religiously the 20 tips on oral hygiene and healthy food that I have given above. If you want to know more, then go to these sites: