When considering lifestyle changes you can make to improve your dental health, your mind probably wanders to brushing twice a day or to making that long-overdue appointment for a dental check-up. While these examples are important– vital, even– to good oral hygiene, there are some other lifestyle changes you can make that are less obvious but equally effective. Are you ready to get started down the road towards improved dental health? Consider the following lifestyle changes you can make starting today:
Stop smoking. If you needed another reason to throw that pack of cigarettes in the trash, you now have one: smoking wreaks havoc on your oral health. Not only does cigarette smoking stain the teeth, it also leads to gum recession and can contribute to periodontal disease. Simply put: every time you light up, you’re putting both your physical health and oral health at risk.
Cut back on beverages that stain. Coffee, tea, soda, and red wine are notorious for staining formerly white smiles. Sometimes, those stains are surface level, but other times, the stains penetrate deeper and reach the enamel. If you can’t bear the thought of giving up that morning cup of coffee, consider drinking it through a straw. Or, you might opt to rinse your mouth out with water after indulging in a staining beverage.
Go for the crunch. How many times did your mother remind you to eat your fruits and veggies when you were a child? Turns out, she had good reason: not only are fruits and vegetables good for your body’s overall health, they’re excellent for your dental health too. In fact, crunchy fruits and veggies– think apples, carrots, broccoli, bell peppers– can serve as mini toothbrushes by removing particles that are stuck to the surface of your teeth.
Load up on water. Make an effort to carry a water bottle with you wherever you go. Doing so will not only prevent dehydration, it will also help keep your smile healthy. Water rinses out your mouth, dislodging food particles that could eventually lead to decay. Not all water is created equally, though; when given a choice, opt for tap water over bottled water. Why? Tap water contains the recommended dose of fluoride, which helps to protect the teeth against decay.
Protect your teeth. It’s no secret that engaging in athletic pursuits is excellent for your body’s health. However, many athletes neglect to consider their dental health when engaging in sporting events. A leading cause of tooth loss is trauma due to sports-related injuries. Thus, make sure to wear all necessary protective gear– including a mouth guard– when participating in athletic events. Additionally, make sure to stay hydrated by drinking water– not sugar-loaded sports drinks– when playing sports.
Flossing matters– a lot. No matter how dedicated a brusher you are, flossing is still a vital part of maintaining a healthy smile. Why? Toothbrushes only get about half of the decay-causing materials off of your teeth. Floss is responsible for removing the other half– which is lodged in those hard-to-reach areas between the teeth.
Stop avoiding the dentist. Very few people would say they eagerly look forward to dental check-ups. Avoiding the dentist, though, can have a profound impact on your oral health– and ultimately, on your body’s overall health too. After all, poor oral health has been linked to serious health concerns, including heart disease and diabetes. Additionally, when you skip your twice-yearly preventive appointments, issues that would ordinarily be quick fixes can turn into bigger concerns that require more extensive restorative treatment.
Tackling even one of these lifestyle changes today is a major step towards a healthier smile– and a healthier version of you. For more tips on changes you can make to promote your oral health, contact us today!