Maintaining good overall health is not easy, and nowhere is that more true than the mouth. Maintaining healthy gums, lips, teeth, and other oral tissues can be a lot of work, but it's important. Various studies have concluded that the health of your mouth may be closely connected to the health of the entire body. So in an effort to live the best life you can, it may be in your interest to improve your oral health. Read on for 4 tips you can implement right away to take your mouth to the next level.
1. Brush and floss better.
If you're not brushing and flossing regularly, start there. Once you've established that habit, perfect it. You should try to brush anytime after eating something, but at the least, try to floss in the morning after breakfast and in the evening once you're done eating for the day. Dentists suggest waiting 30 minutes after eating to brush as food and drinks can introduce acid to the teeth, and brushing right after can damage the protective enamel that coats each tooth.
You should be using a soft-bristled brush. Place it at a 45-degree angle to your gums and move the brush back and forth, covering the outer and inner surfaces of the teeth, as well as the top, chewing surfaces. Finish by swiping your toothbrush over your tongue to remove any bacteria. Your toothbrush should be replaced 3 to 4 times a year.
Following brushing, floss your teeth: Take about 18 inches of floss and wind either end around your middle fingers. Stretching the floss between your fingers until it is taut, gently slip it between your teeth, sliding it up and down between the gum and tooth. Repeat between every tooth in the mouth.
Consuming large amounts of very sugary or very acidic foods or drinks can make your teeth more susceptible to cavities. Ditching these items can instantly improve the health of your oral cavity. Some foods and drinks to avoid:
- Fruit juice
- Desserts - candy, cookies and pastries
- Candy and other sticky foods
3. Kick the habit.
Smoking or chewing tobacco puts your mouth at risk for all sorts of problems, including mouth pain, cavities, bad breath, oral cancer, and a reduced ability to fight infection. In fact, the rate of tooth loss and tooth root infections is twice as high for smokers as it is for non-smokers.
Making the decision to quit and actually following through with it immediately decreases the chance that you will develop these or other issues. If you smoke or chew tobacco, visit with your dentist. Most oral healthcare professionals can suggest medication or other remedies to help you kick the habit.
4. Remove the piercings.
Whether it's a tongue bolt, cheek stud, or lip ring, one thing is true--they can have a negative impact on your oral health:
- Intraoral piercings put individuals at a higher risk for facial pain, infection, or transmission of a blood-borne disease.
- Oral cavity piercings can collide with the teeth and gums, leading to chips or fractures.
- They can injure the soft tissues of the mouth, especially the gums, leading to receded gums, which increase the likelihood of gum disease.
- Piercings can encourage an increase in saliva and affect speech and eating habits (by making it more difficult to chew and swallow).