*Guest Post by Dr. Dyoco*
The great thing about teeth is that they really aren’t too terribly difficult to keep healthy. You’re probably thinking, “Really? Then why do dental problems seem so common?”
The unfortunate answer is that many people don’t consistently maintain good oral care. They form daily habits that are detrimental to their teeth. These habits aren’t so bad for a day, a week or even a month. But over the course of years, they result in serious problems that require serious treatments.
That’s why it’s so critical to form good habits that you follow every day. If you do, you’ll be much less likely to experience problems and much more likely to keep your own teeth as you age.
Switch to Sparkling Water
Some people absolutely love soda – they crave the sugary stuff like a drug. But here’s the problem: drinking soda not only makes you feel terrible after a while, it’s terrible for your body, your oral health and your teeth. Most people know this but they just can’t stop drinking it.
Well, we’re here to offer you a healthy solution that your teeth will thank you for: switch to sparkling water. You still get the bubbles and when you add a bit of natural fruit juice in the mix, it will help cut your craving for soda. Companies like Sodastream offer home carbonating machines and natural flavoring syrups so you can make healthier sodas and save money.
If you can’t substitute sparkling water for your beloved soda, you can at least take measures to try to lessen the negative effects of soda when you do occasionally partake.
Drinking soda with a straw is better than directly from the cup because it minimizes contact with teeth. Then, after you’re done, rinse out your mouth with water. This will help wash away some of the sugar and prevent harmful bacteria from forming and sticking around. But the best method really is swearing off soda altogether.
Sugar Free Gum
If you chew gum a lot, it’s may be difficult to completely stop. But you should avoid gum with real sugar at all costs. Sugar-free gum, on the other hand, can actually have some positive effects on teeth. If you pop in a piece after a meal, the increased saliva helps prevent decay by getting rid of the acid that builds up in your mouth after you eat.
The ADA even officially endorses chewing gum for about 20 minutes after a meal and they’ve lent their seal to some gums. So, if you can’t brush after eating or need to chew gum, stick to the varieties that are dentist-approved.
Don’t Wait for Dessert
By now we all know how detrimental sugary foods can be on teeth, but even your dentist wouldn’t be so cruel as to forbid you from eating sweets for the rest of your life. When you do occasionally indulge in a sweet treat, it’s actually better to do so right after your meal instead of waiting. The sugar will do less damage when around the same time as other foods.
Visit Your Dentist Often
This should go without saying, but you need to have dentist appointments scheduled for about every 6 months. Not having a toothache doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have dental problems you can’t feel or see. Regular checkups ensure that you maintain good dental hygiene and catch any possible issues that could become more serious problems if they aren’t treated.
Changing habits can be hard, but being intentional about your daily decisions can have a huge positive impact on your health. Use these tips to help you maintain excellent oral care now and you’ll have fewer issues down the line.
About the Author:
Dr. Kimberly Dyoco is a top Chicago dentist and the owner of One Mag Smile, a general and cosmetic dental practice on Chicago’s famed Mag Mile. There, she and Dr. Andrew Wiers offer a wide range of services including cleaning, veneers, whitening and Invisalign. Dr. Dyoco is passionate about patient care and about educating people about dental hygiene and care. To learn more, visit One Mag Smile or connect with her on Google+.