As your family dentist in central Oklahoma City, our team at 23rd Street Dental want all of our patients to enjoy the quality oral health they need to keep smiling brightly for a lifetime. Receiving regular dental care significantly lowers our risk for developing a range of chronic illnesses and diseases. That enjoying a healthy mouth and body require regular dental care is hard to ignore, so patients really must make their oral hygiene and health a top priority.
If you want to enjoy a great looking smile, while avoiding the potential health problems associated with gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss, you need to practice the following tips.
Brush Twice a Day for at Least Two Minutes
The American Dental Association recommends spending at least two minutes brushing at least twice a day. Considering all of the hard to reach places, curves, and crevices of our teeth, two minutes is the least amount of time it takes to provide our teeth with the type of cleaning they require to remove plaque deposits and lingering food particles.
Unfortunately, studies have found that the majority of Americans spend 30 seconds brushing, for a total of one minute a day! That’s a quarter of the amount of time the ADA says we need to spend brushing in order to ensure optimal oral health. Imagine the results you’d get by spending only a quarter of the time needed to shave, apply makeup, or comb your hair? Yet, when it comes to something as important as our oral health, most people seem willing to cut time where they need to spend it the most.
There are many places were saving time throughout the day makes a lot of sense. Reducing the amount of time you spend brushing isn’t one of them. A healthy smile requires making the effort to brush for long enough each day. Fortunately, those four minutes you spend brushing will become some of the most productive and beneficial time you spend all day.
Don’t Forget to Floss
While brushing ranks as an essential part of protecting the long-term health of your teeth and gums, it’s not the only habit you need to practice daily. Our teeth feature a lot of areas you just cannot clean using a toothbrush. Food and plaque accumulate just as easily between our teeth and below the gum line as they do in more noticeable areas. This makes flossing an equally important habit as brushing when it comes to protecting the health of our teeth and gums.
The ADA recommends flossing at least once a day in order to clean those hard to reach areas of the mouth. Yet, despite this recommendation, studies have found that only 40 percent of adults floss daily, with 15 percent not flossing at all.
Nearly 1/3rd of the total surface area of our teeth are found in areas that can only be cleaned by using floss. If you only washed a third of your body or car, what kind of results would you expect? Spending just one minute a day can lower your risk for cavities and tooth decay by over 50 percent. Talk about time well spent.
Diet Plays a Role
Ever since childhood, most of us have heard how eating sugar will rot our teeth. While that’s not entirely accurate, what we eat does matter when it comes to our oral health. Diets high in added sugars contribute to the development of tooth decay, which then increase our risk for gum disease.
Added sugars are found in places other than just cookies and cakes. Non-diet sodas, sports drinks, and even fruit juices all contain high levels of added sugar. Potatoes and pasta, two common foods found in western diets, contain carbs, which are just another form of sugar.
Just as eating the wrong foods can make your oral health worse, a change in diet can make for a healthier smile. Fresh fruits and vegetables instead of processed foods and artificially added sugars can help to add a real boost to a smile that needs it most.
If you have any questions about the best practices for ensuring you and your family continue enjoying a healthy, great looking smile, make sure to ask your family dentist in central Oklahoma City during your next visit to 23rd Street Dental.