Often overlooked DIY smile fixes
With so many good options for keeping our mouths healthy sometimes it gets hard to keep track of it all. Often with rhetoric about commercial products to improve smiles and white teeth we can lose track of the simple steps we can integrate for free, that often exceed any of the other good choices for providing long term strength and health to a beautiful smile.
I guess we can start with the most obvious. Often we feel like we are doing an adequate job with our brushing but it’s my experience that most people will cut short their standard “two minute” brush times, everyday or almost everyday. If you are an ardent follower of this rule then pat yourself on the back. The next most common brushing failure is cutting out one of your normal brushes (recommended twice daily) Patients who will admit this say it happens rarely once or twice a month.
Get the most out of your brushing. Don’t cut short your brush times, don’t skip it on a late night, don’t’ skip replacing your toothbrush at regular intervals, all of these abuses take a toll on our mouths over time. Finally a reminder that you can skip all the fancy, fangled toothpaste with sparkles, added colors, gimmicks and chemicals to help you think it works better, try an easy, really good homemade brush paste to get your whitest smile without chemicals.
Again another obvious step to a healthy mouth. While flossing might seem unsurprising and should be a routine part of our daily hygiene, it is largely ignored or skipped by patients. Note that flossing can remove as much plaque, food particles and biofilm from teeth as brushing AFTER you’ve finished brushing.
When done properly flossing involves wrapping the floss around three sides of the tooth being flossed and using a “sawing” motion up and down the surface of the tooth all the way into the gum line. Flossing can play a big factor in stopping gum recession and periodontal disease. Floss your teeth, all of them, at least one time daily.
3.) Drink More Water.
Maybe this grabbed you by surprise. Water is perhaps our greatest asset in our whole body’s defense against disease and this analogy holds true even more so inside our mouths. Adequate amounts of saliva are your mouth’s best defense against the food particles feeding bacteria and against the bacteria themselves. The best way to make sure you have enough fresh, slippery, slimy, beneficial saliva? Take your body weight and divide it by two, this give you the recommended number of ounces you need to drink of water, daily to stay adequately hydrated, more if you sweat, its really hot outside or you drink caffeine. Go and get a glass of water to drink while you finish the rest of this article. I’ll wait.
4.) Cut Down on Alcohol, Quit using Nicotine.
Smoking has an immediate and lasting effect on the bodies circulatory system. Changes in blood pressure and heart rate can affect your overall health but in your mouth these processes comprise the tissues and the blood flow to vital nerves and tissues. The tar and smoke and nicotine interrupt the natural process that saliva plays in keeping your gums and teeth healthy. Pair this with the increased temperature from the inhalation of smoke (if you are smoking vs other nicotine forms) and it is the perfect storm to impede the natural ability of the mouth to heal itself.
Drinking alcohol also introduces harmful chemicals to the body. Alcohol, like smoking dries the oral tissues and impairs the natural process of the saliva that is there to protect the teeth. The acidic nature of alcohol invariably weakens and erodes away the protective enamel on the outside of the teeth, thus teeth become even more susceptible to decay. Decay leads to gum disease and bone loss.
Limit alcohol consumption and stop smoking. Long term these are two of the most measurable things you can do for your body’s overall health AND your mouth’s health.
In a four year study of over two hundred patients the largest factor contributing to gum/periodontal disease after smoking was lack of sleep. Those patients receiving six or less hours of sleep had a more rapid progression of disease and inflammation. Surprisingly when subjects increased their average hours of sleep up to seven or eight hours of sleep their gum disease decreased or slowed measurably.
Call our office now at (713) 785-7767 to schedule your next appointment. We look forward to meeting you and earning your trust.