The best way to maintain a healthy smile for a lifetime is great dental health habits. Here are a few hacks to your daily routine beyond the usual brushing and flossing that can help prevent tooth decay.
Washing a great meal down with a beverage can be very satisfying, and you can give your teeth a healthy boost by ensuring the last thing to touch your lips after a meal or a snack is water. Water can help flush away sugar and debris that the bacteria in your mouth would otherwise get to feed on and turn into tooth decay-causing acids.
Both with meals and throughout the day, don’t just stick to bottled water. Many prefer bottled water due to the taste, but you could be doing your teeth a disservice by avoiding fluoride. Over 70% of Americans live in communities with fluoridated water. Fluoride is a natural mineral that can prevent and even reverse tooth decay and is also found as an active ingredient in toothpaste and mouthwashes (though obviously in much larger concentrations than in tap water). But filtered bottled water has either no fluoride or so little that it has no measurable benefit for your teeth.
All of us know we’re supposed to brush twice a day, and most people brush when they get up in the morning and before bed. But you can give your oral health an extra boost by brushing after every meal, including lunch. The problem is, most of us aren’t at home for lunch, therefore we’re away from our toothbrushes and floss. That’s an easy fix! Just stash a soft bristle toothbrush, travel-size toothpaste and a roll of floss at your desk, in your locker, or in your car. You’ll have no excuses to leave the remnants of lunch stuck to your teeth!
Don’t have an extra toothbrush stashed away? Get some sugar-free gum. Chewing gum after a meal can be about more than just fun flavours and having something to occupy your mouth. The American Dental Association recognizes that chewing sugar-free gum can actually help prevent cavities. That’s because the act of chewing gum stimulates your mouth to create more saliva, which can help neutralize acids from your foods and flush away debris.
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