3 Resolutions For A Healthier Smile
It is the time of year we all make resolutions to improve our lives in the New Year – unfortunately most of those resolutions, like exercise more and eat less, usually don’t last long.
Here are 3 resolutions you should make, and keep, in order to have a healthier smile and avoid the need for filling cavities in the next year and throughout your life.
#1 - Stop sipping soft drinks.
Do you keep a can of soda, an energy drink, or a frothy coffee concoction on your desk and sip away over the course of a couple of hours? Your teeth would be happier if you didn’t drink this stuff at all, but if you must indulge it is better to drink up and get it over with. As you swallow carbohydrate (sugar) loaded drinks, your oral bacteria goes to town creating acids. When you sip all day, you are basically bathing your teeth in acid all day – not a good idea. It takes about 20 minutes for sugar to clear from the mouth. During that 20 minutes the bacteria on your teeth are busy converting the sugar to acids. After about 20 minutes the acid on your teeth is somewhat neutralized by saliva but then you take another sip and the whole process starts again. The acids soften the tooth enamel leading to tooth decay and possible tooth loss.
#2 - Don’t rinse after brushing.
You should spit out the toothpaste so you don’t ingest too much fluoride but you shouldn’t rinse your mouth. The longer the fluoride in the toothpaste can stay in contact with your teeth, the more effective it can be at preventing cavities. This is the same idea as not eating or drinking for 30 minutes after a “professional” fluoride treatment at the dentist. Some patients with a high risk of tooth decay can benefit from prescription high-fluoride toothpastes or rinses. PS – Turn off the water tap while brushing to help preserve this precious resource!
#3 - Keep the saliva flowing!
Yes, brushing and flossing every day is vitally important to oral health but our saliva is there 24/7 protecting our teeth. Saliva is nature’s cavity fighter. Saliva rinses away food debris and keeps plaque forming bacteria under control by washing them away and neutralizing them. Saliva also helps remineralize or harden tooth enamel that has been softened by being in contact with acids. Drink plenty of water and chew sugarless gum to help stimulate saliva flow.