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Protecting Your Pearly Whites: A Simple Guide To Dental Care
Source: Open Talk Magazine 11/12/2010 22:12:00
“Every tooth in a man's head is more valuable than a diamond.” -Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote
Miguel de Cervantes was on to something. Perhaps he was thinking of the invaluable appeal—both functional and aesthetic—of having strong, beautiful teeth. Even today, taking care of our pearly whites is a top priority. The truth is, it takes small, inexpensive ways to keep our teeth in great shape. Here’s a few of them:
Floss. Flossing removes plaque between teeth and along the gum line that brushing cannot reach. Flossing is recommended at least once a day, but the best time to do this is just before bedtime. And did you know that flossing also helps fight bad breath?
Brush your teeth. Make it a habit to brush your teeth after meals. If you are out of the house or office, bring a small toothbrush and toothpaste with you. Brush in short, sharp strokes, concentrating at small sections at a time. Did you know that there is an effective technique to brushing your teeth? Ask your dentist about it.
Scrape your tongue. After brushing your teeth, give your tongue a good scrape. Think of it as the “death blow” to the bacteria in your mouth, since your tongue is a breeding ground for bacteria. Check out your local pharmacy for any available tongue scrapers. You can ask your dentist about this, also.
Cut down on coffee, tea, and sodas. One thing these drinks have in common is they are all dark-colored—they tend to stain our teeth. Avoid them as much as possible. Go for the purer, healthier alternative: water.
Drink plenty of water. This serves to “irrigate” your mouth by getting rid of food particles and bacteria. Drinking at least 8 glasses a day has other health benefits: it cools you down, flushes out the toxins, and rehydrates.
Cut down on the sweets. This is a given: sweets cause plaque, leading to tooth decay (and possibly terrible toothaches), and huge dental bills. It’s okay to give in to your sweet tooth once in a while, but lessen your sugar intake whenever you can. The biggest culprits are the sticky, sugary stuff like gummy candy and sodas—steer clear of these!
Quit smoking. Smoking discolors your teeth, darkens your gums, and gives you bad breath. And think of all the other health problems linked to smoking: vitamin C deficiency, throat and lung cancer, and emphysema, to name a few. Enough said.
Visit the dentist at least twice a year. Even if you floss and brush your teeth regularly, no one can clean them the way a dentist can. Part of good oral hygiene involves visits to your dentist at least once every six months.
Show them off! What good is taking care of your teeth if you’re not showing them off? It’s just like polishing precious jewelry that you always keep locked away. Keep smiling!
Taking care of our teeth involves small, no-fuss habits that, in the long run, translate to effective dental hygiene. Go ahead, show off those pearly whites. As the song goes, you’re never fully-dressed without a smile.