A man with healthy looking teeth and gums practices good dental hygiene by flossing in front of a mirror.

How to Take Care of Your Teeth: 3 Ways to Go Beyond Brushing

Your smile is a part of who you are. Your teeth help you talk, chew, and make facial expressions. Routine care, like brushing and flossing, helps remove plaque and ensure your smile stays healthy for years to come. 

Brushing your teeth is an integral part of maintaining your smile. In addition to brushing twice a day, other factors can affect the health of your teeth.

What else can you do to care for your pearly whites? 

Keep your teeth and gums healthy with these tips. 

1. Floss Daily

Flossing is something you should do daily, and it’s easy to add to your current routine. You can floss before you brush your teeth at night or after a meal. 

Food particles get stuck between your teeth and cause plaque to form. In turn, the bacteria in plaque produce acids that eat away at your tooth enamel and irritate your gums. 

If left unchecked, plaque buildup can cause gum disease and tooth decay. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that almost half of Americans ages 30 or older have some form of gum disease. 

Each time you floss, you remove plaque and food particles caught between your teeth and along the gumline. Daily flossing reduces your risk of gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease, and makes your teeth look brighter.

For those with sensitive teeth or braces, you may consider using a soft floss or electric flosser. 

2. Eat A Balanced Diet 

Your diet doesn’t just affect your body weight or overall health; it has an impact on the health of your teeth. Sugar is a common cause of tooth decay that can affect us at any age. 

What’s wrong with sugar? It’s a feast for bacteria living in our mouths. As bacteria feed on sugar, they leave a parting gift—acid. These acids can break down your tooth enamel. 

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends limiting your intake of sugary foods and beverages, such as:

  • Hard candy
  • Dried fruit
  • Soda
  • Juice
  • Sports drinks

Poor nutrition can also affect your immune system and make it easier for you to get an infection, like gum disease. You should eat a variety of foods from the five food groups, as recommended by the USDA’s ChooseMyPlate

Dairy products have high amounts of calcium, which helps strengthen your teeth. Fruits and vegetables are full of fiber and water, and they take more effort to chew. Eating fruits and veggies can cause your mouth to release more of its natural cleaning solution: saliva. 

Saliva helps wash away lingering food particles. Consuming food as part of a meal, as opposed to a snack, releases more saliva. For this reason, the ADA suggests we limit the number of snacks we eat each day. Many of the snacks we love are also sticky or sugary—qualities that contribute to plaque and tartar. 

3. Visit Your Dentist

Caring for your teeth includes seeing a dental professional. You should visit your dentist every six months (or at your dentist’s discretion). 

At each appointment, your dentist will check for signs of cavities, tooth sensitivity, and gum irritation. You’ll be able to catch more serious issues before they become painful or cause further harm to your teeth. Consistent cleanings and exams keep plaque and tartar in check, so your teeth and mouth stay healthy. 

Are you ready to give your teeth some tender, loving care? 

Contact our team at Ukena Brandes Family Dental. We’ve been helping patients in Springfield, MO for more than 30 years. Our dentists will take care of you and your smile!