It can easily be said that our teeth are getting unhealthier and unhealthier as we have become more sedentary. Not only are the majority of North American people overweight or obese according to all of the latest statistics, but they are also that way because of the excessive processed sugars and carbohydrates that we have been adding to our diets. Most dentists will agree that one of the major causes of dental issues is due to the excessive amount of sugar that people are getting in their diets. Sugar can break down the enamel on the teeth, cause cavities and also feed bacteria which can grow in those cavities and contribute to tooth and gum disease and inflammation.
When the old saying says, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, it is partly true. The other side of this is that if you eat too many sugars, fruit juices, starches and carbohydrates, this can also have a negative effect on your overall health as well as the health of your teeth and gums.
Good Daily Oral Hygiene
Children need to be taught early and encouraged to practice good daily oral hygiene. Different methods work best at different ages:
– For young children, work out a system of rewards and punishments to learn to brush their teeth every day after waking up and going to bed; encourage extra rewards for brushing teeth after lunch
– For older children and teenagers, the rewards might seem childish, so you will have to adapt them to be appropriate as they get older; also a good tactic that might work here is appealing to their vanity (your boyfriend won’t kiss you)
– Don’t just brush your teeth when you do; also use antiseptic mouthwash and floss to remove larger food particles; use toothpicks at every meal
– Wash your hands regularly every day; if you need to touch your mouth or lips for any reason, wash your hands before you do
– Don’t share cups and glasses even in a family; it is very easy to spread cold sores and other infections this way
Eating Right and Getting the Right Nutrients
Apart from good daily oral hygiene, there are many other ways you can improve your dental health just related to your diet. Strong bones and teeth develop from plenty of calcium, phosphate and potassium when your body is growing as a child. Children should get plenty of green leafy vegetables filled with minerals (broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, cabbage, asparagus, etc.) as well as dairy products if they are not lactose intolerant. If they are lactose intolerant, this is usually caused by casein, so you can try dairy products that have had the casing removed (some cheeses, whey protein, etc.)
It goes without saying that it is not just the minerals that a growing body needs, but to make sure that the immune system is strong and healthy encourage a diet rich in vitamin C (citrus fruits, peppers, cantaloupe), vitamin D (plenty of sunlight, bananas). Vitamin A, B, E and K are all important as well, but it is best to use foods for these as supplements can be toxic if too much is taken at once.
See a Dentist Regularly
The last step of having great dental health is to go for a checkup to your dentist on a regular basis. If there is nothing wrong with your teeth, then 3-6 months is an adequate period of time to go between checkups. Your dentist will let you know anyway if there is some work that needs to be done and he or she will also be able to advise you on a great number of tips in addition to all of the above.