Mouthing Off About Your Oral Health

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‘Smile!’. It’s one of the words that gets said during a photo or even if you look the slightest bit sad, but it’s something that strikes fear in the hearts of those who are self-conscious about their oral and dental health. Your mouth is one of the biggest focal points on your face. You eat, speak, kiss and laugh with your mouth and due to it being used constantly, you need to take care of it. It’s not just your teeth, either. Your oral health encompasses your tongue, your gums and your breath. If you are worrying about your teeth being discolored, you first have to figure out the reason why your teeth have changed from white to yellow or brown before you can fix it. Most people make a mistake in thinking that if you brush your teeth every day, your oral health will be in tip top shape. This isn’t the case and understanding how to keep your mouth healthy is important!

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Open any magazine, and you’ll see celebrities splashed across the pages with brilliantly white teeth and perfectly pink gums. You rarely see news articles about the halitosis of celebrities. When you have an army of nutritionists, doctors and dentists at your disposal, it’s very easy to have a beautiful smile and perfectly healthy gums. You were taught from a young age to brush twice a day, floss after meals and rinse with mouthwash to keep those gums healthy. Hopefully, you’ve been keeping that routine up and going but even if you do, you can still end up with oral issues. So, how can you take steps at home to keep your mouth in the best shape it can be?

Visit the dentist. It’s one of the most documented fears, but the dentist is not someone to be afraid of. The fear of the dentist usually comes from the lack of control and the vulnerability of opening your mouth and having someone touch your teeth, which can be sensitive. Some don’t attend the dentist due to the cost. Dentistry can be very expensive and if your insurance doesn’t cover you for treatment then you likely won’t spend the money to get your teeth checked out. Spending time with your dentist will help you identify trauma in the mouth and gums. Diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis are common in the gums and can be managed and reversed but if you aren’t attending the dentist, you’ll find it to be irreversible.

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Visit the hygienist. Not quite the same as visiting a dentist, but the hygienist is the person who will scale and polish your teeth. This is to ensure plaque isn’t overtaking your teeth and making your gums recede, which is very common in women after pregnancy and as you age. They are specially trained in gum diseases and if you are afraid of your dentist or hygienist, you can have an appointment with sedation to relax you. In extreme circumstances, you can be put to sleep for a dental appointment so that you don’t panic. Your hygienist isn’t just going to clean out your teeth and gums, but they can educate you on your overall oral hygiene and help you to make good choices about how you manage your health.

Change your habits. It’s obvious that everything you eat and drink goes into your mouth. What you may not think about is how your daily habits impact your teeth. Sugar is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to decay in your teeth. Fizzy beverages are always fun to drink, but the citric and phosphoric acid that gives it that edge is making your enamel softer. By swapping your daily fizzy drink habit to just water, you can stave off tooth decay and cavities. Sugar is fuel for bacteria in your teeth and gums and the way to avoid any decay is purely to brush and floss after every meal. Smoking is another habit that is going to affect your teeth, gums and tongue in a big way. Nicotine and tar leave your pearly whites more a murky yellow and they also eat the surface of the gum. Switching your smoking habit for is a good way to start improving your oral health and also tastes far better. Tobacco can lead to oral cancers so instead of lighting up, find ways to occupy your hands.

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The right tools. You need the right tools for the job when it comes to teeth brushing, and many people don’t understand that their toothbrush may not be right for them. Your brush should last you up to three months, and after that you should be binning it and buying a new one. You cannot use a toothbrush for longer, as the bristles will grind right down and not be effective in cleaning any longer. Soft bristles are the best thing for your teeth, as they are easier on your gums and will still clean your teeth. Blunted bristles will not clean your teeth in the way you need them to be cleaned. If you can invest in an electric toothbrush, do so for definite. You need to use the best tools for the job, else you will find that your brushing is futile. While you’re at it, you should ensure that you use interdental brushes such as these ones so that you can get between the teeth where flossing may not.

Flossing does matter. It may seem icky, but getting between your teeth with floss after meals should be one of the most important parts of your oral routine. It’s a chore, it’s boring but it’s effective. Floss reaches right into the spaces that the bristles of your toothbrush cannot get to and you can get rid of particles of food that otherwise would sit and breed bacteria into your teeth. Carry floss with you at work or outside the house rather than just in the house, as you’ll be eating meals when you’re away from your bathroom sink. You may not be able to brush after every single meal, but you can definitely floss!

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Got milk? You should! Foods that are rich in calcium, like milk, cheese and yoghurt are important for your overall health, but more so for your dental health. Calcium, as you know, is important for your bone health. You can take calcium supplements if you’re not a fan of milk or you are dairy intolerant, and vitamin D is also important for your teeth.

Clean your tongue. Your teeth and gums are always in the forefront of your mind but your tongue should always be considered. Mouth ulcers and cancers are always present on your tongue and cleaning the surface of your tongue daily using a professional tongue cleaner is key. There are countless bacteria that lives on your tongue and these can contribute to bad breath. Curing halitosis is going to be so much more than popping a few minty Tic-Tac. You need to get rid of the bacteria on your tongue to help. Going further back, if you have tonsils that are pitted and scarred from throat issues, bacteria can gather in there very easily. These then form stones which are unsightly and give your breath a bad smell.

Mouthwash matters. You can buy any flavour of mouthwash on the shelves of the local supermarket, but you can buy therapeutic ones that help to fight plaque, prevent gum disease and kill tartar and bacteria in your mouth. These mouthwashes should be used at least twice a day and not after brushing, as the toothpaste coats your teeth. Try and rinse first and brush on waking and before sleeping.

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Your oral health is so much more than teeth brushing. Watching your sugary habits won’t just impact your dental health, but will help your overall wellbeing and weight. Coffee, red wine and chocolate are all things that can stain your teeth easily and if you can avoid bad habits that can impact your oral health, you should. Having good oral hygiene isn’t just going to be a physically good thing, but mentally. Your confidence and self-esteem can be deeply rooted in your smile and if you aren’t confident about your smile then fixing the issue is going to make the difference. Not many people know that gum disease can be linked to heart health, but if you do your research you can see the wellbeing of those teeth in your mouth is going to have a domino effect on the rest of your body.

The mouth is the window into what is going on in your body, but if you don’t take care of it, you’re going to be susceptible to diseases and oral cancers later on. Taking care of your gums isn’t just cosmetic, it’s important. Don’t neglect your teeth.


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