While we continue to practice self-isolation, we have pulled together ways you can take care of your oral health and to optimize your habits from the comfort and safety of home.
Don’t go to bed without brushing your teeth
It’s no secret that the general recommendation is to brush twice a day. Still, many people continue to neglect brushing their teeth at night. However, brushing your teeth before bed gets rid of the germs and plaque buildup throughout the day.
You also want to make sure you are using the right equipment and that the equipment stays clean. Use a remineralizing toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush that fits your mouth comfortably. An electric or battery-operated toothbrush can reduce plaque and gingivitis if you struggle to use manual toothbrush. It is best practice to store your toothbrush in an upright position to allow it to air dry.
Eat crunchy fruits and vegetables
Eating fresh, crunchy produce not only contains more healthy fiber, but it’s also the best choice for your teeth. Crunchy, fresh produce is high in water and fiber, which balance the sugars they contain and help to clean your teeth.
These foods also help stimulate saliva production, which washes harmful acids and food particles away from teeth and helps neutralize acid, protecting teeth from decay. Plus, many contain vitamin C (important for healthy gums and quick healing of wounds) and vitamin A (another key nutrient in building tooth enamel).
Drink more water
Hydrate. Water continues to be the best beverage for your overall health – including oral health. Consider drinking a glass of water after every meal – this can help with some of the negative effects of sticky or acidic foods and beverages between brushes.
The ADA recommends drinking water or unsweetened tea throughout the day and only drinking sugar-sweetened drinks at meal times and in small volumes.
Dry mouth, medically called xerostomia, can imbalance your oral microbiome and lead to overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria. Healthy saliva flow helps rinse away bacteria, maintain neutral pH, and contains critical antibodies (IgA) and minerals (calcium, phosphate) to favor remineralization. Xerostomia long term is a significant risk factor for decay.
Flossing can remove plaque and bacteria from between the teeth, where a toothbrush is unable to reach. It can also help prevent bad breath by removing debris and food that has become trapped between the teeth.
Although there is a lack of long-term studies proving that flossing is beneficial, the ADA continues to recommend it. The CDC also states that people should floss their teeth. You can easily run a two week experiment at home to see the difference in your bleeding levels.
Keep these four points in mind while you continue to practice social distancing and optimize your oral health practices.
Stay safe and be well!