While it's important to your overall oral care to regularly visit your Los Angeles area dentist, keeping your teeth healthy is also up to you. There are many things you can do to build up the strength of your teeth and ensure they will last throughout your lifetime. Here are just a few suggestions to help you maintain a smile you can show with pride.
- Start with Choosing the Right Toothpaste
It may seem as though all toothpastes are made the same, but that's not really true. One of the most important factors to look for, when selecting a toothpaste, is a strong fluoride content. Fluoride is vital, because it helps strengthen your tooth enamel, which is the exterior layer of the tooth. Since tooth enamel functions to protect against decay, using a toothpaste that will reinforce this layer is highly recommended. You might also select a mouthwash high in fluoride to help strengthen the enamel of your teeth.
- Your Toothbrush is Also Important
There are dozens of brands of toothbrushes available with each one offering different features. When choosing a toothbrush, your first concern should be that it's small enough to fit in your mouth. Make sure you can maneuver it easily, while brushing. Also, by sticking to brushes approved by the American Dental Association, you'll be assured that you're buying a quality brush. Bristle strength is also important. Bristles that are too soft may not do a thorough job of cleaning your teeth, while hard bristles can cause damage to your gums. For the best results, ask your Los Angeles area dentist which toothbrush is right for your situation.
- Adopt a Brushing Schedule and Stick to It
Most people don't really establish a set schedule for brushing, preferring to brush when they feel they need it. This is a bad habit that can result in advanced tooth decay and gum disease. At a minimum, you should be brushing twice per day. As soon as you wake up, you should thoroughly brush your teeth and, before going to bed, you should repeat the procedure. If you eat sticky, sweet, or sugary foods, you should brush between meals and snacks, as well. As you brush, slide the bristles over your teeth without brushing too hard. Think of it more as polishing your teeth, rather than brushing them.
- Watch What You Eat
Again, sugary foods can destroy the enamel of your teeth and cause tooth decay. When you eat sugary foods, or drink sugary beverages, that sugar clings to your teeth. As it sits, it breaks down into bacteria, which attacks your teeth. By brushing immediately afterwards, you can clean your mouth of sugar, before it does harm. Conversely, eating foods rich in acid should not be followed up with an immediate brushing. As acid, such as that found in citrus juices, can weaken tooth enamel, brushing immediately afterwards can do more harm than good. Dentists recommend waiting one hour, before brushing in these instances.
- Chew Sugar-Free Gum
The act of chewing is good for your teeth, because it produces saliva that promotes stronger tooth enamel. The saliva we produce, as we chew, contains calcium and phosphate, which help rid the mouth of harmful bacteria. Studying the effect of saliva on enamel strength has led researchers to recommend chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes, following each meal. There are now gums that restore healthy minerals to the teeth, while reducing the plaque that causes tooth decay and gum disease.
- Prevent Grinding
If you do grind your teeth, chances are you grind them, while you're asleep. This can have a significant impact on the strength of your teeth, causing enamel to erode away, or chip. The condition is called bruxism and can lead to the cracking and breaking of your teeth, if left untreated. Your Los Angeles dentist may be able to recommend a quality guard that you can wear to bed to prevent you from grinding your teeth at night.
- Try Home Remedies
If you're still concerned about the strength of your teeth, there are some home remedies you can try. For instance, adding baking soda to your toothpaste, or buying a good toothpaste made with baking soda, can help whiten your teeth. Taking calcium and phosphorous supplements will help strengthen your teeth naturally. Zinc is another supplement that may help boost tooth strength, since it is naturally occurring in tooth enamel.
While these practices will help you protect your teeth, seeing a Los Angeles dentist is also essential. Regular visits can help catch decay and other problems early. Contact Smile Angels of Beverly Hills to schedule a free consultation to begin taking better care of your smile.