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Proper teeth and gum care does not require excessive time or expensive oral hygiene instruments. Avoiding simple sugars, and implementing daily gentle tooth brushing and flossing is the basic foundation.
Additionally, not smoking, drinking plenty of water, and getting regular dental cleanings and checkups are needed to keep gums healthy and teeth cavity free.
Fast facts on tooth and gum care:
Brushing teeth with fluoridated toothpaste is the best method of reducing plaque. The American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) recommends brushing for 2 minutes, twice daily.
Proper brushing technique cleans teeth and gums effectively. Keep the following tips in mind:
A toothbrush should be replaced at least every 3 months, as well as after any illness.
Daily flossing is necessary for removing plaque and food particles that your toothbrush cannot reach.
The area just beneath the gum line and the tight spaces between teeth are vulnerable areas where plaque can build up and turn to tartar.
If you do not floss regularly, the build-up of plaque and tartar can lead to cavities, as well as gum disease.
There is overwhelming evidence that sugars are the biggest dietary contributor to dental disease. Specifically, it is the amount and frequency of free sugars consumed that determines the severity of decay.
Sugar and candy intake should be limited; this is because the bacteria in the mouth need sugar to produce the acids that weaken enamel and damage teeth. Each time teeth are exposed to sugar, the demineralization process begins, and it can take up to an hour for the mouth to return to normal, non-acidic pH conditions.
Specifically try to avoid:
Other fermentable carbohydrates are also involved:
Studies show that consumption of starchy staple foods and fresh fruit are associated with lower levels of dental caries, so the risk is not as high as sugar.
Consuming a variety of foods rich in nutrients and avoiding those that contain sugars and starches is important for keeping teeth and gums healthy.
Crunchy fruit and vegetables such as apples, pears, celery, and carrots are good in between meals as the chewing activity increases the production of saliva, and saliva helps protect teeth.
Water should be consumed liberally, and any soft drink or fruit juice beverage (diet and regular), should be consumed with caution.
Most soft drinks contain phosphoric acid, which interferes with the body’s ability to absorb calcium. Fruit juices will also bathe the teeth in damaging sugar. Drinking these beverages through a straw can help minimize the time the teeth are exposed to the acid.
Chewing sugarless gum for 10 minutes after meals and snacks can also help reduce decay.
Dental decay affects people of all ages, but the severity of the disease increases with age. Dental decay is comprised primarily of:
Cavities and tooth decay are among the world’s most common health problems. They are especially common in children, teenagers, and older adults. But anyone who has teeth can get cavities, including infants.
The best way to care for teeth and gums is to follow good eating habits, brush, and floss daily, and have regular dental cleanings and exams.