The Best Routine for a Healthy Oral Hygiene

The Best Routine for a Healthy Oral Hygiene

Having a good oral hygiene doesn’t have to be difficult.  The most difficult thing to do, in fact, is getting started on a routine.  But that goes with anything.  It’s hard to get up in the morning, but the more we do it the more it becomes habit.  It’s difficult for us to get to the gym or get some sort of daily exercise.  But as we continue to do it everyday, it just becomes routine.  In fact, it almost becomes a necessity to include our daily habits in our routines, otherwise we feel unsteady.  There are certain things we want to include in our daily routine so that it just becomes habit.  An oral hygiene routine needs to become a habit.  Research shows that you have to do something consistently for at least 66 days for something to become natural to you.  Just a little over two months.  And those two months are usually the hardest when starting something new, especially something rigorous (source).

But oral hygiene doesn’t necessarily have to be rigorous.  It’s most definitely something you want to start doing in order to build a habit, because you want to have a good, healthy smile.  And let’s not forget that one of the most powerful and influential pharaohs of ancient Egypt most likely died due to dental problems.  If that’s not motivation enough for you to take care of your teeth, I don’t know what is!  Maybe google some gruesome pictures.

But I’m here to help you get started on a regular dental routine so that you can keep a healthy smile.  Keep it up for a couple of months and it will just come natural to you.

1. Brush 2-3 times a day

Brushing once you get up in the morning and before you go to bed are ideal.  When you get up in the morning, your mouth has not been producing enough saliva, which is a good time for bacteria to start attaching to your teeth.  Giving you bad breath and making you prone to cavities.  At the end of the day, before you go to bed, that is, you want to brush your teeth again so to get rid of the bits of food your mouth has not completely digested.  Food that may have been left between your teeth where bacteria loves to camp out over night.  The magic number is two, meaning you want to brush your teeth at least twice a day.  You can maybe brush after lunch if you really want to up your routine, but it’s not absolutely necessary all the time.  And brushing your teeth any more than that may start causing damage to your enamel.

2. Don’t forget to clean your tongue

The tongue is home to alot of bacteria considering the texture of our tongues is a little more abrasive than our teeth.  Think about that next time you see your significant other! It can be the cause to some serious bad breath issues.  It’s important you brush your tongue or use a tongue scraper every time you brush your teeth, otherwise your missing a major part of cleaning your mouth.

3. Floss once a day

Flossing once a day is so easy to miss and to so many, it’s even tedious.  And it’s understandable.  It can be a hassle and some teeth are harder to reach.  We try to get out of it by making excuses, but let me assure you that you cannot skip out on flossing once a day.  Your toothbrush does not reach all the crevices between your teeth and even below your gumline.  Understand, food left in our mouth, even food we cannot see, is food for bacteria.  Surely you know that food is being left behind between your teeth.  Plaque and tartar tend to build up here because we ignore flossing.  This can lead to some serious gum disease.  Make it a habit to floss once a day, and it doesn’t matter whether you do it in the morning or at night, as long as you do it.

4. Carry flosser picks

This does not count as your one time a day for flossing.  Flosser picks are good for after you’ve eaten something and maybe you have something caught in your teeth.  It’s good to carry them around for this purpose.  But I also want to point out that after eating certain foods, you may want to use a flosser pick you have handy on you.  Such as eating something with a high sugar content or something very acidic.  Flossing after eating or drinking such foods will help tremendously.  Speaking of which…

5. Limit sugary & acidic foods

We’re not saying this is the cause to your cavities.  But we are saying you may want to watch what you eat and the effects these foods will have on your teeth.  Sugar, acid, and bacteria in your mouth is the perfect equation for cavities and tooth decay.  Limit these types of foods, or at the very least consider brushing your teeth after you consume these foods.  For example, if you’re a morning coffee drinker, drink your coffee first and then brush your teeth in the morning.  If you’re an afternoon coffee drinker, consider adding a third brushing to your daily routine. Or even more convenient…

6. Consider mouthwash

Using a proper mouthwash after you brush and floss helps quite a bit in keeping a good clean mouth.  It can reach some of the spots you may have missed and kills the bacteria.  But consider carrying a travel sized bottle on  you if you are a coffee or tea drinker.  This will definitely help in controlling the bacteria in your mouth that causes cavities and tooth decay.

7. See your dentist

I understand if you haven’t kept up with a good oral hygiene routine, going to the dentist can be the most dreaded time of the year.  But if you keep up with a good routine, it doesn’t have to be.  Going to the dentist and getting a cleaning twice a  year is one of the best things you can do, because the dentist can see things you cannot.  Don’t consider going to the dentist to make up for all the flossing you didn’t do.  Go to the dentist as a precaution for future issues you cannot necessarily prevent on your own.

Keep up with this routine and I promise you’ll have one of the best smiles around!  

The Best & Worst Foods for Your Teeth

The Best & Worst Foods for Your Teeth

Believe me, I understand!  We are already concerned about food’s effects on our bodies as far as calorie intake and saturated fat and sugar content and all sorts of things!  Why am I stressing you out more about food!

Well trust me when I say we have the best of intentions, and remember, a healthy mouth is a healthy body!  And fortunately for us, it’s not too much to remember.  Certain foods do really terrible things to our teeth, however, there are ways to treat it and prevent it.  And there are also foods that are great for our teeth, which we want you to consider when you’re choosing your meals.

The Best Foods

Crunchy Fruits & Vegetables

Raw fruits and vegetables that require a lot of chewing (celery, apples, carrots) and provide a good crunch are great for your teeth because chewing more creates more saliva.  Saliva is necessary to fight bad bacteria in your mouth.  The more saliva (without the drool) the better.  These foods create more saliva.

Not only that, the crunch of the food will also remove leftover food and bacteria left on your teeth and sort of scrub your teeth.  Imagine that!  A cleaning and a snack!

High Fiber

Eating high fiber foods also creates more saliva, which as we know fights bad bacteria that causes tooth decay and cavities.  Fiber is good for your overall health, so eating plenty of it is only going to benefit you.  Some yummy high fiber foods include raisins, bananas, oranges, and almonds.  You can make a pretty great granola with just those ingredients!

High Calcium Dairy

Milk, yogurt, cheese, and other dairy products are great for your teeth because they have a high source of calcium.  Cheese in particular is great because it also generates saliva.  If you remember the Does a Body Good ads, then you know that milk and other high calcium foods are good for strong bones.  While teeth are not bones, they still need calcium, similar to bones, to help put back minerals your teeth might have lost due to other foods.  Including a good amount of calcium in your diet is pertinent to maintaining healthy and strong teeth.

Foods with Fluoride

A good toothpaste has a good amount of fluoride, and this is because fluoride helps fight plaque and tartar.  Therefore, consuming food and drinks with fluoride is good for your teeth.  Fluoridated drinking water, powdered juices (that don’t contain a lot of sugar), and commercially prepared foods (poultry, seafood) have fluoride in them and are great for your teeth.

The Worst Foods

Sticky Candies

If you’re going to eat something sweet, first of all, eat it with a meal.  Give your other foods a chance to take out the leftover sugars and bacteria created from the processed sugar.  Second of all, choose a sweet that doesn’t stay too long in your mouth.  Lollipops and caramels are not too good for your teeth as they stick to your teeth and create the perfect environment for bad bacteria that causes cavities and tooth decay.  If you do decide to eat these foods, be sure your rinse or floss or even do a quick brushing of the teeth as a precaution.  We all will falter sometimes!

Popcorn

Any starchy foods that get stuck in your teeth should mostly be avoided, if we’re being honest.  Popcorn just happens to be the biggest culprit.  This however can easily be avoided by staying away from the foods or rinsing, flossing, or brushing after having said foods.  Another thing you can do is follow it up with a crunchy fruit or vegetable to help take out the leftover food.  The most important thing to consider however is to make sure that big chunks of food is not left behind for bacteria to fester in.

Sodas and Other Carbonated Drinks

Of course, we all know how much sugar is in soft drinks which is terrible for your teeth, but as a double whammy, most carbonated drinks contain phosphoric and citric acids.  Sugar, acid, and bacteria is the perfect equation for tooth decay, and not only that acids erode tooth enamel.  Overall, we want to do our best to stay away from these drinks.  Rinsing and brushing after helps a bit, but overall, we mostly want to stay away.  Your body will thank you later, trust me!

Alcohol

Too much alcohol dries out your mouth which prevents your mouth from naturally keeping away bad bacteria in your mouth.  If you’re having a night out, then it’s important when you get home you brush your teeth and are drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated and keep your mouth clean.  As well as prevent a hangover!

4 Ways Oral Health Effects Your Overall Health

4 Ways Oral Health Effects Your Overall Health

Having a healthy mouth and a clean smile is clearly important for your oral hygiene, but would it surprise  you to know that your oral health effects other parts of your body?  In fact having a healthy oral hygiene can prevent a few diseases and issues in your body and life.

Keeping your teeth clean and having your dentist lecture you about brushing and flossing isn’t just to keep your pearly whites attractive.  It’s to make sure you are, in fact, healthy, and living the best life you possibly can.  Here are a few issues that can be prevented with a good healthy oral hygiene.

Cardiovascular Disease

“Some research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke might be linked to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause” (source).  The issue lies with patients not seeing their dentist, assuming they have healthy teeth because they’re not bother them.  But statistics show that more than 80 percent of Americans are living with periodontal or gum disease, and most of it goes undetected.  This puts them at risk for heart disease as their gum disease progresses.  Your mouth, particularly your gums, re connected through the blood stream.  Having gum disease means you have a collection of bacteria in your gums.  As this bacteria starts to flow within your bloodstream, it will eventually reach your heart.  This can cause a number of cardiovascular diseases including endocarditis (an infection of the inner lining of the heart), atherosclerosis (clogged arteries), and even stroke caused by oral bacteria (source).

Vising the dentist regularly and keeping up with your daily oral hygiene routine can put your mind at ease and you can feel comfortable in knowing you are in fact taking preventive measure for not only oral disease, but cardiovascular disease.

Dementia

“The bacteria from gingivitis may enter the brain through either nerve channels in the head or through the bloodstream, that might even lead to the development of Alzheimer’s disease” (source).  The specific bacteria is called Porphyromonas gingivalis.  In a recent study, resarches studied 20 donated brain samples.  Ten samples were from people with dementia and the other ten were without.  Four of the samples with dementia contained this bacteria, and it is theorized that this particular bacteria may cause changes in the brain contributing to symptoms including confusion and memory loss (source).

There is still much research to be done, but either way, this specific bacteria we do not want in our blood stream.  Flossing and brushing everyday and seeing your dentist regularly is pertinent to keep this bacteria out of the rest of your body.

Respiratory Infections

A study published by the American Academy of Periodontology found that people with respiratory diseases had worse periodontal health than those with healthy lungs.  Interesting, but it also shouldn’t necessarily come as a surprise considering what we breath in goes through our lungs.  Consider the bacteria that is already in your mouth from poor hygiene and how you breath it in regularly.  As you breath in and out, tiny droplets of saliva are carried to and from the mouth with each breath.  If you have an excessive amount of harmful bacteria, you’re body is carrying this bacteria to your lungs.  Usually your immune system can prevent the bacteria from entering the lungs, but the tissue lining can become irritated and inflamed from the bacteria.  This could then cause issues such as bronchitis and pneumonia (source).

Next time you’re feeling under the weather, think about your oral health and have you been neglecting your teeth and gums.

Diabetic Complications

Being diabetic can cause some issues with your oral health, however, it should be noted that poor oral hygiene may also have an effect on your blood glucose control and eventually contribute to the progression of diabetes.  Serious cases of gum disease or neglecting to treat it are at an increased risk for becoming diabetic (source).

Overall, your oral health effects some of the most crucial parts of your body, including your heart, your lungs, and your brain.  Taking care of your mouth is not only pertinent for having a great smile, but it is crucial for your overall health.  Be sure you’re taking care of it by keeping up with a good oral hygiene routine and visiting your dentist regularly.

 

4 Reasons You Should be Flossing Everyday

4 Reasons You Should be Flossing Everyday

It should come as no surprise to us that many Americans do not include flossing in their daily oral hygiene routine.  To be more specific, 32 percent of Americans say they never floss and 37 percent claim they floss, but not on a daily basis.  And let’s be honest, how many of  us have lied to our dentist and claim, “Yeah, I totally floss everyday” (source).

shutterstock_488717200.jpg

Despite our dental visits and lectures about the importance of flossing, most patients tend to take it in stride.  Maybe keep up with it a day or two after their visit, but ultimately, the task becomes tedious or they may feel it doesn’t make much of a difference.

But I’m here to tell you that flossing may do much more than just lengthen your oral hygiene routine.  In fact, here are four reasons you should be flossing EVERYDAY.

Brushing Only Cleans the Surface Area

You may claim you have a pretty vigorous routine when it comes to brushing your teeth.  Maybe you count the 72 brushes over your teeth each time, or you have one of those toothbrushes with a timer.  I once saw one that plays Lady Gaga while you brush!  But either way, you brush your teeth, then that’s fantastic!  But, brushing your teeth alone is not enough!

We’re visual people, for sure, so when we see clean white teeth, that’s satisfying enough for us.  But the surface area is only part of the tooth.  “Gum disease starts between your teeth where a toothbrush can’t clean” (source).

Brushing your teeth takes care of less than half of the plaque on your teeth, which means there’s about 57% of plaque in between your teeth you’re not getting!  Which leads to all sorts of gum diseases and tooth decay.  Brushing is not enough!

Prevents Gingivitis & Other Gum Diseases

Plaque tends to start at the gum line, especially if you’re not flossing.  If you continue to ignore this plaque buildup it hardens and becomes tartar.  Not the kind you dip your fish sticks in!  As it becomes worse and worse,  to the point where you can develop an infection below the gum line where your teeth attaches.  This is gingivitis.  If left untreated, your tooth can become unstable and you may even lose it.  You’re either putting a hole in your wallet or in your smile when you refuse to floss (source).

Save Money on Preventive Care

Besides gingivitis, not flossing can cause a number of issues with your teeth, such as cavities.  You’re looking at issues that can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars, such as root canals ($750 – 900), crown canals ($1200), and implants (up to $3,500!).  Spending an extra couple of minutes and a couple of dollars on some floss is worth it in the long run.  Not only that, even after you get your routines done, you still have to floss!  Start now, and your wallet and mouth will thank you (source).

Have a More Pleasant Dental Visit

Let’s hope that as part of your oral hygiene routine, you’re visiting your dentist at least twice a year for your cleaning.  It doesn’t have to be so dreaded.  In fact, most of the pain and pricking comes from trying to remove hardened plaque and tartar from your gum line.  Admittedly, a very sensitive area.  And yes, it tends to get bloodier and more painful.  But you can actually prevent that from happening with regular flossing.  Your dental visit can even be, dare I say, quick and painless if you just spend a couple of minutes every day flossing.

Tips on Flossing

  • It’s suggested that you brush twice a day.  However, luckily for us, it’s suggested you floss at least once a day.  Still, it wouldn’t hurt to floss both times!  It doesn’t matter whether you brush or floss first and it doesn’t matter if you choose morning or night.  As long as you floss at least once a day.
  • When flossing, go around the tooth in a C shape.  Slide the floss between your teeth to the gum line and wrap it around the tooth.
  • Some people like to use dental picks, unfortunately, it’s not going to be as effective as string floss.  This will get between the teeth, but you need to wrap your floss around your teeth.  “Dental picks don’t reach the contact point between two teeth where bacteria loves to grow.”
  • Go just a little past the gum line, to make sure you reach that bacteria buildup.
  • Use clean sections of floss as you move from tooth to tooth.  You need about 18 inches of floss to get through all your teeth.
  • It’s your preference regarding what kind of floss to use.  Nylon floss tends to shred easily, but is less costly.  A little more expensive is PTFE floss, which slides a little easier in tight spaces.
  • Some people opt for a waterpik.  Unfortunately, this does not have the same effect as flossing.  Flossing “wipes” the plaque off teeth while waterpiks “rinse” the areas.  However, incorporating both helps tremendously.
  • Mouthwash is not the same as flossing, however it is suggested and helps with plaque buildup.

Happy flossing everybody!

4 Reasons You Should Be (1)

6 Common Causes of Bad Breath

6 Common Causes of Bad Breath

Nothing ruins a date, a doctor’s visit, or even a simple conversation like bad breath.  There’s nothing more awkward than to be on either the receiving or giving end of bad breath.  I once had a teacher in college who had awful breath.  I was only a freshmen, so faculty intimidated me like none other, so most of us endured his breath.  Long story short, I taught myself calculus that semester!

The scientific term for bad breath is halitosis.  Most everybody will experience bad breath in their life, particularly of the morning variety.  Some bad breath causes are more severe than others, and most causes of bad breath can be treated.  Bad breath happens naturally when an influx of bacteria is not being broken down in our mouths.

shutterstock_521087086

The cause of bad breath can be a number of things, but here are the six most common cause of bad breath.

Dry Mouth

Most everybody experiences morning breath.  The reason being is because the lack of saliva production when we sleep.

We produce more saliva during the day and when we eat.  The enzymes found in saliva “are essential in beginning the process of digestion of dietary starches and fats.  These enzymes also play a role in breaking down food particles entrapped within dental crevices” (source).

So when our mouths are not producing saliva, our mouths get dry, making it a perfect environment for bacteria to make way, which then causes bad breath.  Hence, morning breath.

You might be a little more of a mouth breather, which tends to dry out your mouth.  If you do breath with your mouth, you might have more issues with bad breath.

You Haven’t Eaten

When we don’t eat, we don’t produce saliva.  This goes hand in hand with dry mouth.  This specifically is sometimes referred to as “Hunger Breath.”  It’s not that hunger is making your breath smell.  It’s the fact that you’re not producing regular saliva.  When you’re not producing saliva, bacteria gathers more easily, and thusly it produces that sulfuric bad breath smell we all hate so much.

Smoking

We’ve got morning breath, hunger breath, and now let me introduce you to “Smoker’s Breath.”  Smoker’s breath is a little more specific and has more factors than just dry mouth.  Although dry mouth still plays a part, considering inhaling that smoke tends to dry out your mouth, which as we know is a big factor for halitosis.

But more specifically, “the most immediate way that cigarettes cause bad breath is by leaving smoke particles in the throat and lungs.  This effect is typical of nearly any tobacco product that involves inhaling smoke or rolling it around in the mouth.  The smell of a freshly smoked cigarette can linger in the lungs for hours” (source).

You’re Sick

Being sick can cause bad breath for a variety of reasons.  First of all, when we’re sick (allergies or a cold), our bodies have produced too much mucus.  When we’re sleeping and our mucus is draining, some of us might experience something called “post-nasal drip” which is mucus collecting in the back of your throat.  A very uncomfortable feeling, but in regards to your breath, the mucus collection in the back of your throat is a great food source for bacteria that causes bad breath.  I know how much we want to stay in bed when we’re sick, but it’s important to brush your teeth, floss, and rinse with mouthwash when we’re sick to rid ourselves of unnecessary bacteria (source).

Strep throat can also cause some serious bad breath.  Strep is a bacterial infection, and as you know bacteria is the culprit of bad breath.

Not only that, some medications, especially antihistamines, diuretics, antipsychotics, and muscle relaxants, cause dry mouth.  Dry mouth is, as we know, bad breath.

Cavities

Bad breath might be caused by a cavity or two in your mouth.  If you have a cavity that has not been treated, chances are you’re collecting more bacteria.  Getting a cavity is caused by plaque buildup.  If you build up too much plaque it starts to eat away at your tooth, which causes it to decay, or give you a cavity.  That cavity is already caused by bacteria which causes bad breath, but on top of that, your daily oral hygiene routine is not getting the bacteria rid of the bacteria that is in the cavity.  Thusly, that cavity and the bacteria collecting in it might be the cause to your bad breath.  It’s important to get your cavities treated, and even more important, prevent them from happening (source)!

Drinking Too Much Alcohol

Alcohol is a little different when it comes to bad breath.  When we consume a copious amount of alcohol, our bodies treat it as a toxin.  We start to break it down to a less harmful substance.  Most of it will be converted into acetic acid, but some of it is released through our sweat and our respiratory system.  If you’ve ever had a hangover, that’s the reason you’re sweating so much.  But, when it comes to bad breath, some of the toxins are leaving through our breath.  Literal toxic breath!  Also, the smell can come from our stomach processing the alcohol and making us burp a very unpleasant smell (source).

 

All of us will experience bad breath at some point, but at least now you know the cause, which will allow you to treat it a little more effectively.  Get some water in you.  Eat a regular diet.  Quit your smoking.  Cut back on the drinking.  And have a happy health mouth!

 

6 COMMON CAUSES OF