The Importance of At-home Care
Aside from brushing your teeth thrice a day (or twice a day, don’t worry, we won’t tell your dentist.) and flossing every now and then. What else do you do to take care of your oral health at home? Exactly. It’s unfortunate that a lot of people fail to recognize the importance of taking care of their teeth and gums, especially when you consider how strong the link is between oral wellness and overall health.
Now, if you’re reconsidering your oral health at home routine, then perhaps it’s time you applied a few new practices into your regimen. Try out these 5 tips for better oral health that you can do at home or at work, and wow your dentist the next time you pay their clinic a visit.
1. Chew some gum.
Wait. Didn’t our dentists tell us to avoid gum at all costs? Before you head down to the store to buy a pack of your favorite, sugary, fruit-flavored gum, it’s important that you know not all kinds of gum are good for oral health.
Natural gum that isn’t packed with flavorings or artificial sweeteners can help remineralize your teeth. So gum options that incorporate xylitol can be a great choice to help combat bacteria buildup, tooth decay, and even bad breath.
Chew on a piece of natural xylitol gum when you’re stuck in situations that make brushing difficult. For the most part, this can be ideal for cleaning your teeth after snacks in between meals or if the situation just isn’t convenient enough for you to rush to the bathroom for a brush.
Keep in mind, though, that there are limits. Avoid chewing your gum for more than five minutes. Doing so could cause mechanical damage to your teeth, which would be counterintuitive to your intention.
2. Steer clear of lentils.
Yup, you read that right. Phytic acid is an anti-nutrient that fights the absorption of certain micronutrients. It’s also been proven to work against dental remineralization, which is why you’re encouraged to avoid phytic acid in your diet if you want to restore your smile.
Foods like lentils, corn, soybeans, wheat, and rice are packed with phytic acid. Try to limit your intake of these foods, or at least brush your teeth after a serving to make sure that nasty stuff doesn’t stick around.
3. Avoid saltine crackers too.
You probably never heard of anyone telling you to avoid saltine crackers if you wanted to restore your teeth, but it’s true. Foods like saltine crackers, pasta, white bread, and white rice are made of simple starch. Once you eat them, they turn into sugars almost instantly and can break down the enamel of your teeth.
If you’ve ever taken the time to notice, you might feel a fuzzy, rough texture on your teeth after chowing down on these types of food. That’s actually bacteria clinging to your teeth after it has been attracted to the sugar-coated enamel. Talk about gross.
Again, if you’re not too keen on taking these foods out of your diet altogether, that’s alright. Just make sure you brush your teeth after a serving to prevent that nasty bacteria from sitting on your teeth and causing any damage.
4. Time your tooth brushing routine.
Most office workers and students brush their teeth immediately after lunch because, hey, we only get one-hour breaks. But dentists assert that you might want to wait a little longer before you brush your teeth after a meal.
Studies have found that certain foods can change the pH balance in your mouth and, thus, soften your enamel for a period of time after consumption. If you were to brush your teeth before the pH returns to normal, you could damage the outermost layer of your teeth and cause serious degradation.
Make sure you wait at least 30 minutes before heading to the powder room to brush your teeth. If you can’t wait that long, wipe your teeth down with a clean cloth and wait five to 10 minutes before brushing.
5. Massage your gums.
Your gums are just as important as your teeth. As the soft, pink tissue that holds your teeth in place, your gums are vital for proper oral wellness, and they will ultimately have a very significant impact on your dental health altogether. Unfortunately, not a lot of people seem to know that.
According to recent statistics, up to 50% of the adult population in the USA suffers from periodontal disease, a disease that affects the gums. If you don’t want to be part of the statistics, it’s important that you make sure you give your gums the time of day to keep them healthy and protected against disease.
One of the ways you can do that is by trying to massage your gums. A daily gum massage can increase the blood flow to the tissues and strengthen them against disease. Simply rub and press against the soft tissues with a clean finger, making sure to avoid snagging them with your nails. Apply firm yet gentle pressure and try to move slowly over the tissues to cover all the little nooks and crannies.
If you want to be a little extra about it, gum stimulators are available on the market, letting you leverage a dedicated tool to your gum massage process.