Maintaining proper oral hygiene keeps your breath fresh, reduces your risk of cavities, and even helps prevent dental emergencies. While you’re no doubt familiar with the basics 一 brushing twice a day, using mouthwash, flossing regularly, and coming in for routine dental cleanings here at Healthy Smile Dental 一 some lesser-known hacks can significantly improve your dental well-being.
Read on as Hannah Baek, DDS, shares eight unconventional yet effective hacks to keep your mouth as healthy as possible.
1. Chew sugar-free gum
Not all gum is created equal, but sugar-free gum helps reduce your risk of cavities. In fact, the American Dental Association even awards the Seal of Acceptance to certain brands of gum that are sugar-free.
How does chewing gum keep your mouth healthy? The act of chewing stimulates saliva production, which neutralizes acid and washes away food particles from your teeth. Additionally, the increased saliva flow aids in strengthening tooth enamel and preventing tooth decay.
2. Use a tongue scraper
Did you know that bacteria can accumulate on your tongue and contribute to bad breath and oral health issues? Using a tongue scraper daily can help remove these bacteria, freshen your breath, and improve your overall oral hygiene. Simply glide the scraper gently from back to front, and rinse it after each stroke.
Clean and dry your tongue scraper thoroughly after each use.
3. Drink water with fluoride
Water is essential for our overall health, and choosing fluoridated water can give your dental health an extra boost. Fluoride helps strengthen tooth enamel, making it more resistant to acid attacks and cavities. Opt for drinking tap water or bottled water with added fluoride to reap the benefits.
If you struggle to reach your daily ounces, try carrying a big refillable water bottle with you. You’re more likely to reach your goals if you have to fill up your bottle frequently. Add lemon slices, fresh mint leaves, or even blueberries to your water for an extra punch of flavor.
4. Eat crunchy fruits and vegetables
Incorporating crunchy fruits and vegetables like apples, carrots, and celery into your diet can work wonders for your teeth. These foods act as natural toothbrushes, stimulating saliva production and scrubbing away plaque and food debris. Moreover, the vitamins and minerals found in these fruits and vegetables promote healthier gums and stronger teeth.
Tip: Add carrots, apple slices, or celery sticks to your daily snack rotation.
5. Try oil pulling
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic technique that involves swishing oil in your mouth to improve oral health. Take a tablespoon of coconut oil, swish it around your mouth for 15-20 minutes, and then spit it out. This practice can help reduce harmful bacteria, prevent plaque formation, and promote fresher breath. Some oil pulling formulas include mint or other essential oils that can also freshen your breath.
Note: oil pulling doesn’t replace medicated mouthwashes or routine dental care.
6. Limit acidic and sugary foods
Acidic and sugary foods wreak havoc on your teeth, eroding enamel and contributing to cavities. Minimize your consumption of soda, candies, and other sugary treats. If you do indulge, rinse your mouth with water afterward and wait at least 30 minutes before brushing to avoid damaging your enamel.
7. Use a mouthguard for nighttime teeth grinding
Grinding your teeth during sleep, known as bruxism, can cause dental problems like tooth sensitivity and jaw pain. Using a custom-fitted mouthguard can protect your teeth from grinding forces and minimize the potential damage. If you suspect that you grind your teeth while you sleep, don’t hesitate to address it with Dr. Baek.
8. Eat a more balanced diet
What you eat directly impacts your overall health, and that includes your gums. Foods rich in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, strawberries, and kiwis, promote healthy gums by strengthening blood vessels and reducing inflammation. Leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale are packed with antioxidants and folic acid, which aid in gum tissue repair and reduce the risk of gum disease. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish like salmon and mackerel have anti-inflammatory properties that support periodontal wound healing.
Get started with these hacks today
By incorporating these lesser-known hacks into your daily routine, you can enhance your dental health and maintain a beautiful smile. Remember, regular dental check-ups and professional cleanings are essential for comprehensive oral care, so stay proactive, stay committed, and enjoy the benefits of a healthy mouth and teeth.
To schedule your next dental exam and cleaning with Dr. Baek at Healthy Smile Dental, call our Woodridge, Illinois, office at 630-910-1900. Or, book an appointment online.