12 Ways to Maintain Healthy Teeth and Gums

Updated on April 30, 2021


Adults may not pay much attention to their teeth and gums until an issue arises. If you have had a toothache, you know pain is inevitable until you get help from your local dentist. It turns out that oral and dental health is an important part of general well-being and health for everyone – from first tooth to old age. 

Making sure you have healthy gums and teeth should be a priority. Poor dental hygiene leads to issues with gum disease and cavities which are linked to other diagnoses like cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Here are some top ways to maintain excellent oral health. 

#1: Brush your Teeth Regularly

Most people know they should brush in the morning and at night. What they may not know is that using the proper technique is important. Brushing should take about two to three minutes and should be done with circular movements, not sawing back and forth. Brushing too hard can damage your teeth and gums. 

#2 Don’t Go to Bed without Brushing and Flossing

It is important to brush your teeth before bed. This gets rid of plague and germs that build up in your mouth during the day. If plaque is left in place, it hardens becoming calculus buildup leading to early gum disease known as gingivitis. 

#3 Use the Right Kind of Toothbrush

It is recommended by American Dental Association (ADA) to use a toothbrush with soft bristles. A toothbrush should be replaced every three months or when it becomes frayed. 

#4 Brush Your Tongue

Plaque can build up on your tongue leading to bad breath and oral health issues. Brush your tongue each time you brush your teeth. Research shows that tongue brushing reduces bacteria in your mouth. One of the studies showed that after just three days of brushing your tongue, the total bacteria will be significantly reduced. The less bacteria, the less options for infection and disease. 

#5 Use Fluoride Products

Fluoride is an important defense against decay. It fights germs that lead to decay and gives you a protective barrier on your teeth. Use toothpaste and mouthwashes that provide fluoride protection. 

#6 Floss Your Teeth

Flossing is for much more than getting that piece of popcorn kernel that is stuck in between your teeth. It removes bacteria and plaque in places your toothbrush can’t reach. Flossing helps lower inflammation as it stimulates your gums and reduces plague. Both the Centers for Disease Control and the ADA recommend it.

#7 Don’t Give up on Flossing

Teaching children to floss can be difficult. Flossing can also become difficult as you age and deal with arthritis. Don’t give up on the habit. It is too important to your oral health. One option is using helpful tools like ready to use flossers sold at drugstores. These can make the process much easier on a daily basis. 

#8 Drink More Water

Sugary drinks are one of the number one culprits that cause cavities in the U.S. Water, on the other hand, is still the top beverage for overall health. One healthy habit which improves oral health is drinking water after every meal. This will help wash away foods and beverages between brushing. 

#9 Stop Smoking or using Tobacco

Smoking and tobacco use are top risk factors for gum disease. People who smoke also tend to experience slow healing after a dental procedure. Chemicals in tobacco products weaken your teeth, eroding the enamel. Without the protective coating, the chemicals are able to destroy your teeth causing them to rot. In addition, smoking leads to bad breath as well as yellowed teeth. 

#10 Eat Healthy Foods

Surprise! Healthy foods are not only good for your overall health, they are good for your teeth. 

Fresh produce contains more fiber and is a good workout for your jaw and teeth. Fruits and vegetables eaten raw, like carrots, apples and celery, help to clean plaque from your teeth and freshen your breath. They also have antioxidants and vitamins that help protect gums from infection and keep them healthy. It’s easier to eat healthy if you remind yourself that a good diet can help you avoid tooth loss and teeth surgery.

#11 See your Dentist Regularly

It is recommended by the ADA that you have a dental checkup every six months. Two important things happen at your checkup. The hygienist will clean your teeth removing hardened tartar and plague. Your dentist checks for gum disease, cavities, cancer and all other possible oral health issues. 

The six month checkup also applies to children and teens. The entire family benefits from regular checkups making sure any oral health issues are caught early requiring less treatment and less financial cost as well. 

#12 Consider Healthier Snacks

Excess sugar in your diet can damage the enamel of your teeth. Consider healthier snacks to protect your teeth and gums. Pick options like pretzels, popcorn and candy bars with nuts. Better sweets to choose are sugar-free gum and lollipops or dark chocolate which has less sugar than milk chocolate. You can satisfy your craving without consuming snacks with excess sugar. 

It is important to make sure that you have a lifelong commitment to healthy teeth and gums. Maintaining good oral health will help you to avoid costly dental procedures as well as possible health issues. Plus a healthy, happy smile gives you confidence socially and professionally throughout your life. 

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