Until science comes up with a way for people to regenerate teeth like sharks do, your best bet is to take great care of the one permanent set you get. You know the basics: brush twice a day, floss once a day, and see your dentist twice a year. But you’re not interested in “good enough.” No! You want to do everything you can to make sure you’re an oral health overachiever. Actually, it’s easier than you think. Follow this list of 10 handy tips to keep your teeth in top shape.
- Wait an hour before you brush
It takes around 40 minutes for your mouth to neutralize the acid contained in sugary foods or drinks. Combine some over-eager brushing with that acidic environment and you’ve got the makings of worn-down tooth enamel, my friends, which can eventually lead to cavities and tooth decay. Instead, wait around an hour for your saliva to work its magic on plaque acids.
- Chew sugar-free gum
To get those mouth-juices flowing and neutralize the acids that can lead to dental problems, chew sugar-free gum after you eat. This helps wash the acid off your teeth and protects your precious tooth enamel.
- Avoid using your teeth as tools
We’ve all done it. Used our chompers to grip a stubborn bottle cap or to bite off a piece of packaging. “Eh, what could go wrong?” you might ask. A real dental emergency, that’s what. It’s best to use your teeth for what they were intended for, and nothing more.
- Go electric
While a good, old-fashioned manual toothbrush can still get the job done, an electric brush makes things much easier. From automatic timers and pressure sensors to personalized cleaning modes, these little tools are optimized for maximum cleaning muscle.
- Fluoride is your friend
Fluoride is extremely important when it comes to healthy teeth. Why? Because brushing your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste or rinsing with a fluoride-fortified mouthwash can prevent tooth decay. Use a toothpaste with 1350-1500ppm fluoride and follow it with a 30-second swish of fluoride mouthwash to stack the benefits.
- Don’t use a toothbrush with hard bristles
Brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush can wear away at your enamel. Instead, use a toothbrush with soft or super soft bristles.
- Brush your tongue
All-around oral health is important for healthy teeth. It’s easy to forget that there’s plenty of bacteria on your tongue. In fact, it’s one of the main causes of bad breath. Brush your tongue gently with a toothbrush, or use a tongue scraper to prevent buildup of plaque and bacteria.
- Eat crunchy foods
Before you ask – no, potato chips do not fit the bill. We’re talking foods like carrots, apples, pears and celery, all of which help clear food residue from your teeth, keeping them clean in between meals and stopping plaque build up in its tracks.
- Use a mouth guard when you play sports
A blow to the kisser, something not uncommon in contact sports, can result in cracked, fractured or totally displaced teeth. A custom-fit mouth guard is the best way to play it safe when it comes to sports. They can be used for any type of sport, from football and basketball to skateboarding and rollerblading. Sporting goods stores also sell mouth guards which work well too.
- Sip, don’t slurp
Many drinks have more sugar than you might think, so rather than let your teeth soak it in, sip most beverages through a straw. The liquid will have a lot less direct contact with your tooth enamel. This can help prevent staining from the likes of coffee, tea, and wine too.