If there is one part of our body that really gets the shaft when it comes to our health, it is probably the mouth. The effects of poor oral hygiene can take awhile to surface, so we are not fully aware of the damage we are doing until something goes wrong. But, it doesn’t have to be this way. Taking good care of our teeth does not have to be complicated, nor does it require lots of expensive products or treatments. Simply becoming more aware of the bad habits that are damaging our teeth can take us a long way in adopting better ones. Here are just a few of which to be aware.
Waiting Too Long to Replace Your Toothbrush
If you are using the same toothbrush for more than three to four months at a stretch, you are just adding fuel to the bacteria fire. Secondly, the bristles will be worn down, and will not work as well. It is also recommended you get a new one after getting over a cold.
Brushing Too Soon after Eating
While it may seem like a good idea to brush your teeth right after eating to clear out all the harmful ‘stuff,’ this can actually do more damage, depending on what you ate. Acidic foods, like tomatoes, energy drinks and citrus foods can wear down your enamel, but brushing too soon after consuming them actually pushes the acid into your teeth. Instead, drink some water to rinse out your mouth, and wait at least 30 minutes to brush.
Using a Toothbrush with Hard Bristles
You may equate stiffer bristles with superior cleaning powers, but they can actually do extensive damage to the gums over time. Opt for a softer brush, which will do the job as effectively, without the risk. Look for soft-bristled brushes that bear the ADA, which stands for the American Dental Association. This means the toothbrush is firm enough to get rid of plaque.
Brushing Too Hard
Aggressively brushing your teeth is not the way to go for optimal dental health. You may think really hard brushing will more effectively strip away plaque, food particles and the like, but in the process, it will cause lots of problems. Brushing too hard will increase sensitivity to cold, wear down enamel, irritate the gums, and may even increase your risk of cavities.
While on the subject of brushing, it is important to adopt the proper technique. Avoid the back-and-forth –sawing-like motion. It makes the gums recede, and can expose the root of your tooth.
Watch Your Snacking
Snacking throughout the day has it benefits—it may boost metabolism, and keep you satiated between major meals. But, small amounts of food lead to small amounts of saliva produced by your mouth, which means it is not getting cleansed optimally. Food particles will linger for a longer period, presenting a prolonged opportunity for damage. You don’t have to give up snacking, but try not to eat too many starchy or sugary foods since they are more likely to lead to cavities and plaque.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys blogging about all things health; if you are looking for a dentist in the Lexington, Kentucky area, she recommends visiting http://www.lexingtondentalcenter.com.