For Your Teeth.
Looking after your teeth and mouth is a way to ensure good
health and less pain for your entire life. Thankfully, among all
healthy life suggestions, tooth and mouth care is one of the easiest to
follow through with. In fact, there is no reason - barring any genetic
conditions or severe health issues - that you cannot keep your teeth
for your entire life. Having said that, tooth care is so much more than
about your teeth or how they look.
It’s essential to understand how to care for your teeth, your mouth,
and your health because it all goes together. Ignoring your teeth can
impact your life in dangerous ways.
Poor dental hygiene can result in severe health complications outside
of losing your teeth. Sure, people get upset when they must lose a
tooth due to decay, but tooth health can affect the rest of your health
too. For example, an infected tooth left untreated can abscess, and the
infection can spread to your bones, brain, heart and other parts of
your body, becoming a danger to your life. In fact, about 8000 people
die each year in the USA due to a lack of dental health care.
To prevent problems, looking after your teeth the right way
consistently is crucial. Using medically sound and researched
information is always going to yield the best results when it comes to
your healthcare, and especially tooth care. The main thing is that if
you are paying attention, you’ll notice changes in your mouth health
and catch any problems sooner. This saves not only money but
potentially your life.
The Importance of Mouth and Tooth Care
The good thing about dental issues is that most problems,
and gum disease, can be prevented through proper tooth and mouth care.
Dental hygiene is about so much more than an attractive smile, although
that has benefits too. As mentioned above, dental hygiene can affect
all parts of your life and health.
* Chewing and Digesting – Your teeth are for grinding down food so that
you can eventually digest it. Not having teeth can adversely affect a
person’s nutrition because they lose the digestive benefits of chewing
if they eat only mushy food.
* Teeth Help You Speak Clearly – If you have issues with losing teeth
due to gum disease or cavities, it can affect your ability to speak
* Tooth Loss Affects Confidence – If you cannot speak clearly and you
are worried about how you look, it’s hard to be confident. If your
teeth are healthy and cared for, you will naturally be more confident.
* Poor Dental Hygiene Affects Relationships – Due to factors that
aren’t always upfront, people who have bad teeth are often unable to
maintain good relationships and have full social lives.
* Tooth Loss Affects Face Shape – If you lose teeth without getting
replacements, you can lose gum tissue and also the shape of your face
can change drastically. This can generate an enormous amount of pain,
both physically and emotionally.
* It’s Hard to Smile If Your Teeth Are Bad – Not only will the pain
overcome you but if your teeth don’t look their best, it can also
affect your smile. Studies show that smiling more boosts feel-good
chemicals and helps you have a better day.
* It’s Harder to Get a Good Job – If you have teeth missing, it’s
harder to get a good job due to other people’s biases. They may not
even be conscious, but people do tend to hire people who are more
attractive and teeth play a significant role in attractiveness.
* Tooth Care Reduces Disease – When you take care of your gums, mouth,
and teeth, you’ll reduce your risk of disease. Bacteria from infected
teeth can infect more than your gums and body. It can cause illnesses
that affect your brain, heart, nervous system, and more. You could even
have a stroke due to poor dental hygiene.
In addition to reducing the risks of many diseases, good dental hygiene
can reduce your risk of cancer, dementia, and premature birth in
pregnancy. Studies show that gum diseases raise the risk of early
delivery and miscarriage, and people with healthy gums can reduce their
chance of Alzheimer’s by 70 percent.
One of the best ways to ensure good mouth and gum health is
to care for
your teeth by eating a proper diet. Let's look at this next.
The Best and Worst Food for Your Teeth
The best thing about tooth health is that the food that is
good for the
rest of your body is also good for your teeth. Food that is bad for
your body is also typically bad for your teeth. Eating a well-balanced
diet that is as close to nature as possible - without additives, added
sugar, and fake fats, is your best bet for creating and maintaining
Onions and Garlic
These aromatics are excellent for oral health because they naturally
have microbial properties that target harmful bacteria that can cause
dental decay and gum diseases. Use them cooked and raw as often as you
desire because you really cannot overeat onion or garlic.
No matter which type of diet you choose for your health, leafy greens
are on it. Greens are rich in vitamins and minerals such as red blood
cell-boosting vitamin C. The other thing is that since you have to chew
a lot to swallow, it will cause you to salivate more which will help
you get rid of food particles, plaque, and bacteria that often hang out
on the gumline causing problems.
It’s perfectly okay to eat citrus fruit. Some people will say that it
can weaken your teeth, but you’re not soaking in it. You’re just eating
it. The vitamin C found in citrus is good for your teeth and gums. The
acid in the fruit is good to help get rid of bacteria that cause tooth
decay and gum disease.
Many mushrooms such as shiitake mushrooms have lentinan in them. This
substance is antibacterial and will stop plaque from building up on
your teeth, thus preventing gingivitis and gum disease. You can eat
mushrooms raw on top of a salad, and you can cook them with your onion
and garlic too.
Crunchy Produce Like
Celery, Carrots, Apples, Bell Peppers
This type of food is excellent for your teeth because when you eat
these things raw, they will scrape away food that is stuck on your
teeth and is causing plaque build-up. Not only that; the high fiber
causes you to chew longer, thus helping you digest the rest of your
food better too.
Food that is high in calcium is good for your teeth because it can make
your teeth and your bones much stronger. Also, the protein in milk and
dairy called casein neutralizes acids that produce the mouth bacteria
which cause gum disease and cavities. You should get at least one
serving of dairy products a day. If you’re dairy-free, you can use a
vegan option that is fortified.
One of the best ways to care for your teeth between brushing, flossing,
and cleaning at your dentist's office is to chew sugarless gum. It
helps keep your mouth moist by causing you to create more saliva, which
in turn helps cut down on bacteria that cause diseases.
Studies show that drinking fluoridated water reduces dental decay by 25
percent. Most people drink bottled water today, which is causing a rise
in cavities and dental problems. Fluoride has been added to municipal
water for more than 70 years, and there are no studies showing that it
is dangerous. In fact, it saves money for most people due to the
reduction of dental problems.
It’s not that you cannot ever have sugar again. It’s just that you have
to ensure that if you’re going to eat something that sticks to your
teeth, you should always clean your mouth directly after eating it.
That means long-lasting candies are a terrible idea. They can also get
stuck and break your teeth, causing even more issues.
Starchy Sticky Food
Anything that you eat that you’ve noticed seems to get stuck in your
mouth - like soft bread, chips, and so forth - can stick to your teeth,
causing spots that can end up with the harmful bacteria on them. Rinse
your mouth after eating such items if you cannot brush your teeth.
Carbonated Sodas and
Even if it’s orange juice, it’s best not to drink anything with sugar
in it - including sports drinks, Kool-Aid, and tea if you can avoid it.
Sodas are especially damaging to the teeth due to phosphoric and citric
acid which wear down your tooth enamel.
Alcohol and Medicine
Naturally, you may have no choice but to take the medicine that dries
your mouth out, but alcohol is especially problematic. Studies also
show that alcohol in mouth wash increases the risk of getting mouth
cancer. The best choice is to reduce the consumption of alcohol and the
use of meds that cause a dry mouth. You can also discuss your dry mouth
with your doctor so that you can find treatments to avoid problems if
this is a concern.
The best way to maintain your dental hygiene when it comes to food is
to avoid between-meal snacks that are sugary and sticky, and stick to
drinking plenty of water and eating whole natural foods that promote
health. Plus, keep flossing daily while brushing your teeth twice each
Taking Care of Your Teeth and Mouth at Home
It is essential to see your dentist twice a year for a
check-up and a
cleaning by the hygienist, but outside of that there is a lot you can
do to look after your teeth yourself at home.
* Floss Daily – Less than 30 percent of the population flosses daily.
The sad thing is, flossing is one of the best ways to ensure good gum
health. It can prevent infections and the more serious complications
from lack of good dental care.
* Brush Twice Daily – Brushing when you wake up and before bed is vital
to good tooth health. After you wake up, it gets rid of any bacteria
that built up in your mouth overnight. Before you go to bed, it reduces
the number of bacteria that can run wild all night.
* See Your Dentist Regularly – For most people, seeing a dentist means
going twice a year for a check-up and a basic cleaning. If you have no
issues, that’s all you’ll need. If you start early, it may be all you
ever need. Without dental insurance in the USA, this may cost about
$300 to $500 per year per person.
* Use Fluoride Toothpaste – There is a lot of controversy due to the
proliferation of health gurus without medical training all over the
net. But for most people, fluoride is perfectly healthy and reduces
* Use a Good Mouthwash – Find mouthwash that does not have alcohol in
it. Mouthwash without alcohol will help reduce dry mouth issues and
will reduce your cancer risk.
* Don’t Smoke – The additives and chemicals in cigarettes (including
vape pens with nicotine) cause a dry mouth, which will make it easier
to get an infection. Most smokers and vapers end up with periodontal
diseases and have a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.
* Cut Down on Alcohol – As mentioned, alcohol can be very drying to the
mouth. A dry mouth is a great host for bacteria to grow, leading to
tooth decay and gum disease. Limit your consumption but also limit the
number of things you put into your mouth that have alcohol added, like
* Report Changes to Your Dentist – A good benefit of flossing daily and
brushing twice daily mindfully is that you’ll notice any changes.
Because of this, you can alert your dentist before something becomes
Finally, eat a healthy diet full of whole foods that have no added
sugar or additional chemicals. Eating a diet rich in vitamins and
minerals like calcium and vitamin C can boost your dental health
exponentially when combined with daily flossing and brushing.
Dentist Versus Dental Hygienist
When it comes to dental healthcare, you’ll need to find a
manage your care. The dentist also has other people who work with them,
and one of the most important of these is called a dental hygienist.
You’ll get to know the hygienist more than anyone else other than the
How It All Works
Typically, the way it works is that you’ll make an appointment with the
dentist. He or she will direct and supervise the hygienist who will
provide treatment for your teeth, gums, and mouth in accordance with
instructions. While you do make an appointment with the dentist, you’ll
usually see the hygienist first. They are all under one roof, employed
by the dentist.
Hygienists are responsible for cleaning your teeth at your twice-yearly
appointments. They work independently but directly with your dentist.
The dentist will do the final check after your cleaning is complete to
ensure you have no additional problems such as cavities, gum problems,
sores, moles, teeth cracks, and so forth. The dentist manages your
care, but others help. You may see others in the office who take x-rays
too, or who help the dentist and the hygienist care for you.
A dentist is a medical doctor whose specialty is anything involving the
mouth, gums, and teeth. This is very important because poor dental
health is a sign of more problems and can lead to stroke and other
cardiovascular illnesses if left untreated. Also, mouth cancers are
very hard to diagnose early for people who don’t see a dentist
regularly. Early detection in this case is key to long-term survival.
When you make your first appointment, you’ll usually see other people
before you even meet the dentist. That’s a good thing. The only time
you need the dentist outside of each check-up at the end of your
cleaning is if something is wrong. Most of the time, you’ll deal mostly
with the other staff in the dental office, unless you need a filling or
other procedure that only the dentist can do.
The dental hygienist will examine you while they clean your teeth in
order to report to the dentist any issues they notice. In addition to
scraping your teeth, they’ll floss and polish them. They may also use a
device to check for gum issues. If they note concerns, the hygienist
will not give you any diagnosis. They’ll pass that information on to
the dentist who will double-check, prioritize your treatment plan, and
then turn most treatments over to the hygienist and others who can
perform specific procedures, or they’ll do the procedure themselves if
it calls for it.
Some practices also employ dental therapists. These are highly trained
individuals who can do fillings, pull some teeth, and do a lot of what
a dentist can do under the supervision of a dentist. If your dental
practice has a dental therapist, it can be a useful way to save money
on treatments that don’t really call for a doctor.
Do Your Due Diligence
For proper dental care, make an appointment with a dentist near you.
You’ll want to go twice a year starting at two years old, or in some
cases when the first tooth pops through. Starting early ensures a less
traumatic experience and a higher chance of good gum and teeth health
If you don’t have dental insurance, don’t worry. Most people don’t have
it, but dentists can work with you on payments. You can also possibly
qualify for a care credit card to help you pay for your twice-yearly
needs. Ask the staff when you call for your appointment about payment
options, costs, and more information. Unlike your regular doctor, they
will give you a correct quote for your care.
The dentist employs the staff that can help you with cleanings and
other issues that you may need to be taken care of when it comes to
looking after your teeth. Finding a dentist that you can use year after
year is also very helpful in terms of ensuring continuity of care. Do
your due diligence to ensure that the dentist you choose has
state-of-the-art equipment and a high rating, and you’ll be a lot
happier with the results.
Common Teeth, Gum and Mouth Problems
While these are common issues for the teeth, gums, and
doesn’t mean that you will have any of these issues. However,
throughout a lifetime, most people will face these issues sooner or
later. With good tooth and mouth care, you can mitigate many problems
or at least lessen their impact.
* Toothache – If your tooth hurts, or the area near the tooth hurts,
it’s essential to see your dentist as soon as possible. You can try
flossing, rinsing, and using Tylenol for pain until you can get in to
* Discolored Teeth – While not a health issue, discolored teeth can be
a sign of other health issues. It may be a stain, in which case your
dentist has treatments that they can recommend. However, if it’s not a
stain, it could be a health issue that needs to be tended to.
* Cavities – Not all cavities hurt or cause a toothache. Sometimes you
just get small holes in your teeth that can allow bacteria to get into
your bloodstream and make you sick. Getting a filling is the best
choice to correct it. Brush and floss daily to avoid cavities.
* Chipped Teeth – While also not necessarily a health issue that causes
sickness, a chipped tooth can provide an easy entry for bacteria to
form a cavity. If you chip your tooth, getting it fixed sooner rather
than later will not only save money but could save your tooth.
* Impacted Teeth – This is mostly a problem for young people who are
growing their teeth, including molars and wisdom teeth. Sometimes these
teeth don’t have enough room to break through the gum, and it can cause
pain and swelling. Sometimes an operation is needed to extract the
* Cracked Teeth – A cracked tooth can break at any time when you least
expect it. This can cause a lot of pain or, sometimes, no pain at all.
Having a cracked tooth fixed as soon as possible can prevent tooth loss
and other issues. Usually, this means getting a crown. They are very
expensive, ranging from $350 with insurance to $1200 without. Don’t let
that scare you, though; talk to your dentist’s billing department as
there may be options for cash payments that you don’t know about.
* Cold Sensitivity – If you have become sensitive to cold things like
iced drinks or ice cream, it’s possible that your teeth enamel is
damaged. You could also have cavities, gum disease, cracked teeth, or
even exposed roots. Don’t ignore this pain. Ask your dentist. If it’s
nothing serious, they’ll recommend using a toothpaste designed to help
desensitize your teeth.
* Too Many Teeth – This is one of many reasons for taking kids to the
dentist yearly is helpful. If your child has too many teeth waiting to
come in, a lot of pain and problems can be proactively prevented with
proper dental care.
* Crooked Teeth – While some people think fixing crooked teeth is all
about vanity, realize that it’s a lot harder to keep crooked teeth
clean through brushing and flossing than straight teeth. By getting the
teeth straight, you can improve gum and mouth health exponentially.
* Gapped Teeth – This is not really a problem unless your teeth become
gapped later in life. Moving teeth can be a sign of gum disease. Some
people will only have shifting teeth as a sign.
* Gum Problems – If your gums swell, bleed, feel sensitive, or painful,
it’s always best to see your dentist as soon as possible. In the
meantime, rinse your mouth with non-alcoholic mouthwash, floss, and
brush. If it causes a lot of pain, skip that area until you see your
* TMJ and Bruxism – A dentist can help by creating a mouth guard for
you to wear at night and even in the daytime if you tend to grind your
teeth. However, you may need to see a specialist.
* Cancer – While not a common problem, it should be included because
regular dental care is one of the best preventative measures against
oral cancers. Early detection is key.
Visiting your dentist twice yearly for cleanings and a check-up while
making an extra appointment the moment you think any of the above could
be an issue is the best course of action to ensure the best mouth and
tooth health you can have.
That You Need to Visit the Dentist
Now that you know a lot of the common dental issues, it's
know when you need to have them looked at. The following is a list of
signs to look for that signal that you need to visit the dentist.
* Pain with or without Swelling – If you’re experiencing mouth pain,
don’t let it fester. It can be something as simple as a piece of corn
stuck in your gum, but it can also be something serious such as a
cracked, broken tooth, a gum infection, or even infected and painful
nerves being exposed.
* Extra Gum Bleeding – If you’re not being treated for gum disease and
you start having gum bleeding, or you are being treated but it gets
worse, you’ll want to call your dentist to make a special appointment
to deal with this problem. In some cases, four times yearly scaling and
root planing for gum disease is necessary.
* You Hate Smiling – If your teeth are "so bad" that you don’t want to
smile, or you find yourself covering your smile, consider seeking a
dentist who can help you. There are specialty dentists that can deal
with all sorts of problems.
* You’re Pregnant – All pregnant women should go to the dentist. Tell
your dentist that you are pregnant so that you avoid the x-ray portion
of the visit. However, keeping gum disease at bay can ensure a healthy
pregnancy, since gum disease contributes to early and low-weight
* You Have a Two-Year-Old – Your two-year-old should be ready to see
the dentist for the first time. There are reasons for going this early
outside of healthcare. It can help a child mentally if twice-yearly
dental appointments are just part of life.
* Your Mouth Is Very Dry – Dry mouth can be a sign of other health
problems, or it can be related to other meds you take. If your mouth is
dry to the point of discomfort or bad breath, seeing your dentist can
* You Can’t Chew Your Food – You may start noticing that you’re having
issues eating certain foods because of your teeth, either due to pain
or something else. If your teeth are preventing you from chewing and
eating food, see your dentist right away.
If you notice changes, pain, swelling, bleeding, discoloration, or any
issue that concerns you, report those concerns to your dentist at your
twice-yearly check-ups and cleanings. However, if you’re having these
problems between appointments, especially if you know a tooth is broken
or there is a lot of pain and swelling, consider making an individual
appointment to deal with the problem.
Fear of Dentists and How to Get Through It
Outside of public speaking, fear of the dentist is reported
something many people say they fear more than death. The problem is
that most of the concerns that people report are either unfounded or
due to an experience with a bad dental professional. To build trust and
lessen your dental anxiety, here are some tips for getting over fear of
Be Open about Your Anxiety
When you call to make an appointment with the dentist you’ve chosen to
work with, tell them that you have dental fear and anxiety. Tell them
what level it is, and if you already know what will help you get
through it, tell them. For example, if you need to take breaks during a
procedure, you need a friend to be with you, or you’re going to need
medication to help you, let them know.
Set Up a Plan with Your
Dentist and Any Professionals Touching You
One way to deal with anxiety during treatment is to work out a
communication strategy with the person giving you the treatment - for
example, lifting your left arm to get a break. After all, your mouth is
full and you cannot talk, which is part of what will cause anxiety in
One reason people experience anxiety sometimes is due to not breathing
correctly. If you have dental anxiety, chances are you’re holding your
breath without even realizing it. Become mindful about breathing air
into your diaphragm and not your chest. One method is called triangular
breathing. It involves breathing in slowly, holding the breath for a
few seconds, then breathing out slowly through your nose.
Listen to Music
Some doctors have earphones that can block the sound and even play
music. If yours doesn’t, ask if you can bring your own noise-canceling
headphones and music to put on during the procedure. But keep in mind
that the less bulk, the better, because you don’t want anything getting
in the way.
Take Anti-Anxiety Meds
Depending on how bad your anxiety is, some dentists offer anxiety
medications to help you. If your dentist doesn’t provide it, sometimes
you can work with your regular doctor to help you with one or two
anxiety pills to get you through the appointment.
Get the Gas, Shot or Gel
If you’re getting a procedure that calls for it, you can get gas and
other pain relievers to help you relax. Today, most dentists put a gel
in your mouth to stop the pain of shots, so even those aren’t as bad as
they used to be - just scary due to the long needle needed to get into
the far back parts of your mouth.
When you choose a dentist to care for you (and anyone you love), it’s
imperative to check their ratings, their licensure, and any background
information you can get. Also, if the staff are not willing to discuss
payment, processes, and treatment with you to your satisfaction, pick
someone else. Most areas have plenty of dentists to choose from, so
there is no reason to stick with someone who doesn’t have the newest
technology and tools and an excellent bedside manner.
Other Dental Care Tips
Looking after your teeth is a healthy habit to get involved
starts in childhood. However, you can start right now, ensuring the
health of your teeth, gums, and mouth is maintained in the best way for
yourself and your family.
* Start Them Young – Before your child even gets their first tooth,
make it a habit to use a soft cloth to wipe off their gums with water
daily. Once they get their first tooth, use a soft toothbrush every
morning and night to gently brush away food from the tooth and gum
area. Take them to the dentist by two years old or when their teeth
* Choose the Right Dentist for You – Don’t pick a dentist just because
your family has seen the same one for years. Choose a dentist that will
care for your health in the way you need, from payments to modern care
using up-to-date technology.
* Use ADA Approved Toothbrushes – The American Dental Association has
approved certain toothbrushes and toothpaste for cavity and plaque
reduction. Using the ones that they’ve approved is always the best
* Consider an ADA Approved Electronic Toothbrush – Some of the
electronic toothbrushes that dentists recommend can reduce your chances
of cavities and gum disease to almost nil. Do remember to use the
products for the right amount of time and in the right way for the best
* Consider an ADA Approved Waterpik – Flossing is excellent, but many
studies show that ADA-approved Waterpiks also work great to reduce
bacteria and germs that cause gum disease and cavities. They help get
food lodged in that even flossing can’t reach between professional
* Find Insurance or Discounts – Even if your job doesn’t offer dental
insurance, you can buy it on the open market. Look to your clubs,
banks, credit unions, and memberships for information. For example, in
many states, you can get dental insurance via Costco.com.
* Add Dental Care to Your Budget – Many people, when making a family
budget, forget about adding dental care and lump it in with health
care, even though most people have inadequate dental insurance.
* Eat a Healthy Diet – Focus on eating whole food that is low on the
glycemic index (low in sugar) and that isn’t sticky or starchy. Eat
more crunchy foods like apples and celery for the vitamins but also for
the crunch that helps remove germs from your teeth.
* Make Dental Care a Habit – The way you care for yourself each day is
essential. You can go to the dentist twice a year and still have
problems if you’re not caring for your teeth daily. Set aside the right
amount of time you need for self-care, so you don’t skip it.
Now that you know what to do to care for your teeth, don’t delay
starting to make this a habit for yourself - and if you have them, your
kids. After all, good habits start young, and that includes the
practice of brushing and flossing, which is probably one of the most
critical actions you can take at home yourself to maintain and improve