According to the World Health Organization, Worldwide
- All the adults and 60-90% children have dental cavities, one of the most common types of oral disease.
- 15-20% adults in the age range of 35-44 years have gum diseases (main cause of tooth decay)
- 30% people aged 65-74 have no natural teeth(1)
Dental care is an essential part of our healthcare. Maintaining our dental health in a good condition can help us protect our overall health. And, remember that prevention is the best cure. when it comes to your gums and teeth.
Here we have prepared a short guide for you that will help you to take care of your oral health. This would help you in restricting tooth decay and making your teeth and gum stronger.
1. Eat a healthy diet.
Since we are talking about teeth that get in contact with all the foods we consume it makes sense to find out how exactly food affects our dental health.
It is vital to know how sweet or savory food changes the enamel.
First of all, everything we consume starts a reaction with the plaque which is a white coating on our teeth. It makes tooth decay come faster than you expect. Tooth decay spoils the teeth and usually results in fillings.
To avoid problems with your teeth it’s advisable to follow a healthy diet which should include fruits and vegetables.
American Dental Association recommends eating cheese.
According to a study published in the Academy of General Dentistry in 2013, cheese contains enough pH to help prevent tooth decay. Apart from that eating cheese can strengthen your enamel.(2)
Of course eating fruit and vegetables will be good for your teeth too.
Nuts like almonds are perfect for your dental health too since they contain a lot of calcium and protein.
One half cup of these nuts every day will improve your teeth a lot. That much serving may give your body 126 mg of calcium and 10 grams of protein.
Also, the good thing about the watery foods is they help produce more saliva that helps clean out the cavity.
If you found yourself in a situation where you can’t brush your teeth regularly (e.g. camping or staying somewhere overnight without your toothbrush),eating an apple is the closest thing to brushing your teeth. Apples have also vitamin C that reduces the risk of periodontitis.(3)
A 100 gram serving of raw apple can provide 4.7 mg (8% of RDV) of vitamin C.
Yogurt is also a surprisingly good meal for your teeth. It contains protein which makes your teeth stronger. Of course, we are talking about plain yogurt without sweeteners.
2. Quit smoking and prevent tooth decay.
While many people smoke, not all of them understand how much harm cigarettes can cause to their health.
Smoking affects all the organs of our body and of course, it influences dental health as well.The habit can lead to gum infection, staining of teeth (mainly due to tar and nicotine), loss of teeth or tooth decay, and sometimes even trigger mouth or oral cancer.
As for the gum infection, it is still considered to be the main reason of tooth decay among grown-ups. The explanation behind that is that smoking produces bacterial plaque. If you smoke, there’s going to be much less oxygen in your blood which will prevent your gums from healing quickly and fully.
It is the best to quit smoking and improve your overall health.
3. Brush your teeth properly.
Brushing your teeth is probably the most important step of dental care.
Dentists advise brushing teeth twice a day with an electric or manual toothbrush. It is recommended to do it the first thing in the morning after you wake up and the last thing before going to the bed.
The toothbrush you choose is important since it should be comfortable for your teeth and gums, but what is more essential is that you take care of all the surfaces of the teeth.
Usually, it takes about 2 minutes to cover everything. Also, you should pay attention to the toothpaste you use. The key is the right amount of fluoride.
Depending on your teeth, you will need to use toothpaste containing 1350 ppm and up of fluoride.(4)
If you worry about your children’s dental care, you should know that the toothpaste they use shouldn’t necessarily be for children according to British NHS. Also, children younger than 7 years old must be supervised while brushing their teeth.
4. Eat foods rich in vitamin A, & C.
Not so many people enjoy eating celery but you might want to give it another try. It helps to clean your teeth just like your toothbrush.
It scrapes the little pieces of food from the gaps between your teeth. Last but not least, celery contains vitamin A and vitamin C that are essential for those who care about their teeth.
If you don’t like celery, you can make it more tolerable by dipping it into a creamy sauce.
You should also include carrots into your ration since they are rich in fiber. More than that, eating carrots triggers the production of saliva, which is essential for avoiding cavities.
Of course, carrots contain vitamin A, important for teeth. Carrots can be enjoyed on their own or in a salad.
5. Get rid of gum diseases.
If your gums bleed and look red, you should consider consulting your dentist, since these are the early symptoms of gum disease.
Other symptoms include unpleasant breath and loosening of the teeth.
There are many reasons people have gum diseases but the main one is poor hygiene. Apart from that other factors might add up to the cause.
If you are a smoker or any of your family members have diabetes, you are more likely to suffer from gum disease. However, you shouldn’t worry.
As soon as you take care of your mouth hygiene, your gums will feel better. You might want to pop in your dental clinic to get a professional cleaning and polishing and also check if you need root planing.
6. Avoid these foods for better dental health.
Before we move on to the actual food you should know that ice is not as harmless as some people believe it to be.
True, it’s just water, so there’s no chance it contains sugar, artificial additives or something else. But the low temperature and the fact that ice is hard are making it worse for your health.
First of all, if you like to chew ice, please stop. You are spoiling the enamel and the plaque of your teeth. And the cold of the ice makes your gums more vulnerable to the influence of other unhealthy foods.
If you are a fan of citrus flavors, give the following information a minute. Fruits like lemon and lime are sour and acidic, and that means they can damage your enamel and make your teeth weaker over the years.
Even beverages like lemonade or water with a slice of lime add up to the effect of citrus. Of course, you should not avoid lemons and limes since they also contain a lot of vitamin C. Just be careful.
Since we are talking about beverages, let’s not forget about tea and coffee.
Also, as you probably know, coffee will change the color of your teeth making them more yellow, just like smoking cigarettes. When drinking these beverages, try to add more water and avoid adding much sugar.
Finally, avoid sticky snacks like dried fruit or fudge. Such foods stay on your teeth for longer periods and it’s very hard to clean them off fully even if you brush your teeth. A glass of water after sticky fruit will help you.
7. Use the right tools to clean up your mouth every day.
When it comes to mouth hygiene, the toothbrush is not the only tool that can help you. But even toothbrushes come in different shapes and sizes.
Remember, that it should be comfortable for use and it shouldn’t hurt your mouth.
Keep in mind that toothbrushes should be changed 4-5 times a year.
Also, you can use your toothbrush not only for your teeth but also for your tongue. Move it along your tongue from back to front 2-4 times and it’s done.
If you prefer manual toothbrushes, work on your technique. Dentists advise to hold it at an angle of approximately 45 degrees to the gum line.
Also, don’t forget about mouthwash and dental floss.
When it comes to the dental floss, many people cut their gums with them.
True, it’s not very pleasing. But please don’t stop using floss. It helps your gums to heal faster and become stronger in the future.
While flossing, look at your gums and check their color. You certainly need professional help if your gums are red and not light pink.
8. Visit your dentist.
It is recommended to visit your dentist at least once in 6 months even if you think your teeth are in perfect condition.
Such visits usually consist of a check-up and cleaning. Your dentist will assess your dental health and let you know whether you need additional visits.
Keep in mind that your dentists are not magicians, and they can’t fix all your problems in one visit. Also, much depends on you.
The better you take care of your dental health the easier and cheaper will be your visits. Make your research before choosing a dental clinic, because it’s better to go to experienced and trusted professionals even if it’s more expensive.
While in some countries like Russia dental care is free, in many other places like the UK and the USA you have to pay for it.
Still, there are several exceptions. e.g. pregnant women and children under 18 are entitled to free dental treatment in the UK.
If you want to find more specific information about your country, please consult your dentist or National Healthcare websites.