Hints to Fresh Breath for Holiday Parties

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The holiday season is stressful enough without having to worry about bad breath at the inevitable holiday parties and family get-togethers that feature rich foods and seasonal beverages. But you can reduce the odds of being burdened with holiday halitosis by following these tips.

Brush Your Teeth – And Your Tongue

For most people, it’s second nature to brush their teeth prior to attending a party or get-together. After all, all those pesky bacteria that hang around on your teeth and gums are removed by a thorough brushing. But don’t forget your tongue – it’s also a favorite place for icky-smelling bacteria to hang out. For work parties, be sure to keep a toothbrush and a small tube of toothpaste in your desk or locker at work so you can be minty fresh before the party. Colgate Wisps and FLIX Interdental sticks are also good solutions for on-the-go cleaning of your teeth and tongue.

Be A Smart Eater

The holiday season features lots of grazing on delectable foods at parties. All that grazing can leave you with a perpetual case of bad breath during the holidays. Here’s some simple tips to avoid that problem.

Beware the Buffet: Certain foods provide a source of sulphur-producing bacteria, which can cause stinky breath. The main culprits are brazil nuts, walnuts, smoked salmon, eggs, beans, and cream cheese. Eat them in small quantities and be sure to graze on other foods that don’t fall into the sulphur-producing category.

Pursue Parsley: Don’t think of parsley and mint as decorations on a holiday platter. Grab a sprig or two and munch on them – the chlorophyll in them is a proven breath deodorizer and odor neutralizer.

Have A Veggie: Vegetables are chock-full of water and Vitamin C, and both are effective bacteria fighters. The water helps flush out your mouth and Vitamin C kills odor-causing bacteria. So be sure to grab a handful of veggies periodically when grazing.

Look for a Lemon: Lemons – and other citrus fruits – kick start your mouth into producing more saliva. And that’s good, since saliva rinses away bacteria and plaque. Add a slice of lemon to your water, or even better, take a bite of lemon and swish the juice around in your mouth.

Drink Lots of Water

A dry mouth worsens bad breath, and alcoholic drinks just exacerbate the bad breath since they dry out your mouth. So keep a glass of water handy if you decide to have an alcoholic drink and sip from it periodically. It will keep your mouth – and your body – hydrated (and help you prevent a hangover).

Keep Sugarless Gum Handy

If you feel like you overdid it on onions or garlic, or your breath still smells foul, grab a stick of sugarless gum to chew. It will provide a double bonus by increasing saliva production in your mouth to rinse away bad-smelling bacteria and cover up odors.

Source: Colgate.com, Express.CO.UK

Tips to Keeping Your Smile Bright For a Lifetime

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Keep your family’s gums and teeth healthy for a lifetime by following these 10 tips for good oral health. You’ll help them keep their smiles bright, avoid toothaches and cavities, and even improve their overall health.

Good oral hygiene can be maintained by spending a few minutes each day on flossing and brushing, along with making smart choices about what you eat and drink. In fact, just about all gum disease and tooth decay can be prevented with proper oral hygiene. Additionally, recent research has linked gum disease to other health issues, including an elevated chance of heart disease.

Here’s 10 tips to help your family maintain good oral hygiene from their early years to retirement and beyond.

Begin at an early age. Your child’s first tooth will appear around six months, and that is when you should start your child’s dental care. Start by wiping their teeth with a clean, damp cloth or an extra-soft toothbrush. Once they reach the age of 2, let them try brushing their teeth themselves while you supervise. If you begin when they are young, you can help your child not be one of the 50 percent of kids between 12 and 15 who have cavities.

Get sealed. Dental sealants are thin protective coatings that your dentist applies to your child’s back teeth to prevent decay. A good time to do this is when you child’s permanent molars come in, which is usually around 6.

Be a friend to fluoride. The good news is that three out of four citizens of the United States drinks water that is fluoridated. But if you drink mainly bottled water, you’re skipping the fluoride, and missing out on the enamel-strengthening fluoride provides. Most toothpastes and mouth rinses have fluoride in them, and you can ask your dentist about having fluoride applied to your teeth the next time you are in for a visit.

Practice a 2+1 regimen. Get in the habit – and stay in the habit – of brushing twice a day and flossing once a day. Plus, be sure to switch to a new toothbrush every three months.

Be a swisher or a chewer After meals, swish your mouth with an antibacterial rinse and/or chew sugar-free gum. The antibacterial rinse will kill bacteria in your mouth, and they are the initial culprit in the formation of a cavity. Chewing gum increases the flow of saliva to your mouth, and saliva washes away that dreaded bacteria and the acids they produce.

Use a mouth guard. If you have a son or daughter playing contact sports, then invest in a custom-fitted mouth guard to ensure their future oral health. Your dentist can make a custom fitting and order a mouth guard for them at an affordable cost.

Give up the tobacco. Tobacco and good oral health do not go well together. Smoking – or chewing tobacco – inevitably leads to stained teeth and boosts your risk of gum disease and oral cancer. If you use tobacco, stop. If you don’t use tobacco, don’t start.

Be a smart eater. Your teeth and gums will love you if you eat a healthy diet. Your gums and teeth will get all the nutrients they need if you stick to a well-balanced diet heavy on whole foods. And eat fish – the omega-3 fats found in fish have been shown to reduce inflammation, which will lower your risk of gum disease.

Say no to sugary foods. The bacteria in your mouth (remember them) love sugar, because they consume it and then produce acids. Those acids attack your tooth’s enamel, which can lead to tooth decay. Two sugar-filled items to really avoid are sugary drinks (soft drinks and fruit drinks), which you tend to sip and thus raise the acid levels in your mouth for an extended period of time, and sticky candies, which attach to your teeth.

See your dentist regularly. Make sure to see your dentist every six months for a hygiene visit and a check-up. That way, any plaque that you haven’t been able to remove will be removed, and any signs of decay will be spotted. Your dentist will also check for any signs of oral cancer or gum disease, and if you are grinding your teeth.

SOURCE: WebMD

These 9 Foods Can Be Tough on Your Teeth

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Your teeth can be seriously impacted by what you eat and drink. Here’s a list of 9 foods and beverages that you should either avoid or consume in moderation. You’ll notice that some of the 9 are pretty obvious – chewing ice has never been a good idea – while others will provide a surprise.

Hard candies are tough on teeth

You might be a fan of hard candies, but because they are packed with sugar, constant sugar exposure can damage your teeth. Plus they can break or chip a tooth if you decide to chew on them. Instead of reaching for a handful of hard candy, grab a piece of sugarless gum.

 Ice is best for chilling, not chewing

Is ice good for your teeth? After all, it comes from water and contains zero sugar or additives. So the answer is yes – unless you decide to chew on that cube or chunk of ice. Then you’ll expose yourself to damaging your teeth enamel or creating a dental emergency. So the next time you put ice in your drink, let it do what it’s supposed to do – chill your beverage – and skip the chewing.

Be careful of citrus

The enamel on your teeth can erode if frequently exposed to foods and beverages that contain citrus. The acid in the citrus is the culprit, and the impact it can have on enamel can make your teeth more prone to decay. If you like citrus drinks and fruit, there’s a simple method to reduce the impact of the acid in citrus on your mouth. Drink a glass of water while you are eating that orange or grapefruit and rinse your mouth out after you have a glass of orange juice.

Coffee can be a problem

Coffee and tea can be healthy beverages – if you avoid adding tons of sugar. Unfortunately, that’s what many of the “coffee” drinks at places like Starbucks and Caribou are chock-full of. Plus coffee and tea that are caffeinated can dry out your mouth (remember, saliva washes away bacteria which cause cavities) and stain your teeth. If you do decide to regularly drink coffee or tea, be sure you’re drinking lots of water and keeping the add-ons under control.

Don’t get stuck on sticky foods

If you like a healthy snack, then dried fruit can be a winner. Unfortunately, they are often quite sticky – which can be a problem since sticky foods remain on your teeth much longer than other food types. Be sure to rinse with water when you finish those sticky foods and of course, carefully brush and floss to remove anything still sticking to your teeth.

If it goes crunch, it might be a bad munch

Potato chips are a wonderful habit for many people. The combination of the crunch and the flavor are hard to beat. But all that starch in a potato chip can get trapped in your teeth, which is the first step on the road to cavities. So be sure to brush and especially floss after you eat chips. That way, you’ll avoid leaving food particles that will become plaque.

Switch water for soda

Did you know that the bacteria that create plaque love sugar? They use the sugar to produce acids that go after the enamel on your teeth. Which means that if you are drinking lots of sugary soda or other drinks, then you are helping those plaque bacteria attack your teeth. Plus the carbonation in soft drinks – including diet sodas – is acidic and negatively impacts your teeth. So the next time you want to reach for a soft drink, think twice. And if you do decide to consume a soda, keep a glass of water handy and alternate between the soda and the water.

Keep a handle on alcohol consumption

Many people don’t realize that alcohol dehydrates your body and reduces the saliva in your mouth. Remember, saliva is good because it helps wash away cavity-causing bacteria. Long-term consumption can reduce saliva flow even when you aren’t drinking. Heavy alcohol use can also boost the risk of mouth cancer.

Beware of sugary sports and energy drinks

Powerade, Gatorade, Red Bull, Monster – lots of people use them to boost athletic performance or as a pick-me-up during a busy day or evening. Unfortunately, sports and energy drinks also share a common main ingredient – sugar. There is also a lot of research that says that sports drinks are in most cases unnecessary for someone engaged vigorous physical activity. A better solution would be to drink water instead!

 

SOURCE: American Dental Association

 

Is An Electric Toothbrush The Right Investment For Your Oral Health?

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Have you thought about getting rid of your manual toothbrush and switching to an electric toothbrush? Often a barrier is the cost, but if an electric toothbrush can enhance your oral health and help you avoid costly dental visits, it might be worth considering. Plus, an analysis of 56 published studies by the international evidence-based research organization Cochrane found that electric models have an edge in maintaining oral health.

So how does an electric toothbrush work to clean your teeth? It makes rapid automatic bristle motions, either back-and-forth oscillation or rotation-oscillation, in order to clean teeth. Motions at sonic speeds or below are made by a motor. In the case of ultrasonic toothbrushes, ultrasonic motions are produced by a piezoelectric crystal. A modern electric toothbrush is usually powered by a rechargeable battery charged through inductive charging when the brush sits in the charging base between uses.

 What are the main benefits of an electric toothbrush?

Provides deeper and more thorough cleaning

Electric toothbrushes have the features and functionalities required to maintain the overall health of not just the teeth but also the gums and the tongue. Using a rotating head with angled bristles, they can remove the accumulated tartar and plaque in those hard-to-reach areas between your teeth.

By preventing tartar and plaque build up, they become an effective tool in fighting gingivitis, tooth decay, and gum disease. And the bonus? Your breath is so much fresher for it.

Maintains health in the entire oral cavity

Most electric toothbrushes have preset timers that encourage users to pay equal attention to the four quadrants or sections of the mouth. Most have the standard four modes of brushing methods programmed into the units: Daily Clean, Sensitive, Deep Clean, and Massage. Plus, the timer makes is easier to know when you have completed two minutes of brushing.

This holistic approach to brushing helps address all important aspects involved in keeping the oral cavity healthy, not to mention that it gives you that refreshing, clean feeling we always strive for in every brushing session.

Benefits those with health issues

For people who suffer carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis or other conditions that are painful or restrict movement, an electric toothbrush can be a life-saver for their oral health. It eliminates much of the stress that manually brushing places on your wrist.

A couple of notes of caution if you decide to shop for a new electric toothbrush. First, dentists recommend that you purchase a quality product. If you decide to “go cheap,” you may not be doing any better than your current manual brushing. Second, be sure to replace the removable toothbrush head on your electric toothbrush every three to four months. Third, be sure to look for an electric toothbrush with the ADA (American Dental Association) Seal of Approval. It has been tested for safety by an independent lab.

If you have decided to purchase an electric toothbrush to improve your oral health, which one should you buy? Check out this article from Health Best Reviews. You can find their rating of 10 electric toothbrushes here.

Sources: Delta Dental, Denticheck.com, Health Best Reviews

What Are the Top 10 Foods for Healthy Teeth?

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What you eat can be just as important to your teeth as brushing and flossing daily. In fact, certain foods and beverages will both keep your teeth in shape and provide them with the nutrition they need. You can’t get your original teeth back once you lose them, and imagine a life of eating and drinking minus your teeth.

So the next time you are looking for something to eat or drink, pick a food or beverage that will make your teeth smile! Here’s list of 10 smile-producing foods to benefit your dental health.

Fruit that is raw is a winner for your teeth because it reduces plaque and gives your gums a healthy massage. Fruits high in Vitamin C are the best because they keep our body cells together. If you are lacking Vitamin C, your gums will become tender and more easily develop gum disease.

Sesame seeds dissolve plaque and help you build tooth enamel. They are also high in calcium, which keeps your teeth healthy along with your jawbone. It’s best to consume sesame seeds on bread or rolls.

Vegetables are a wonderful “foundation builder” for oral health.  Sweet potato, pumpkin, carrots and broccoli are bursting with Vitamin A, which helps to form tooth enamel. Plus if you eat them raw you get a double dose of goodness, since raw vegetables will clean your teeth and massage your gums.

Onions may have some smelly side effects, but they are loaded with bacteria-killing sulphur compounds. Don’t forget, it’s bacteria that does so much harm to your gums and teeth. If you like onions (and aren’t planning on going to a party), then eat them raw for maximum effect.

Celery eaten raw is like nature’s toothbrush. It will clean your teeth and massage your gums. It also prompts your mouth to produce more saliva, which will neutralize the bacteria that creates cavities.

Dairy products like yogurt and milk are a good choice to quench your thirst or have a healthy snack because they are low in acidity and sugar (and both of those lead to tooth erosion and tooth decay). Plus milk is full of calcium, which fortifies your teeth and bones.

Cheese also has important benefits for your teeth and gums. Cheese is packed with calcium and phosphate – which promotes healthy teeth – and helps to balance the pH level in your mouth (which is a good outcome). It also helps you produce more saliva, rebuild important tooth enamel and kill bacteria that create cavities and lead to gum disease.

Green Tea has earned a reputation for providing many benefits for your oral health. A major benefit of green tea is that is provides you with natural antioxidant compounds, which prevent plaque from accumulating. Plaque leads to cavities and bad breath. Plus some green teas have fluoride, which also helps reduce tooth decay.

Proteins such as chicken, beef, turkey and eggs contain a ton of phosphorus. That’s a good thing since phosphorus combines with calcium and Vitamin D to create our bones and teeth.

Water provides an array of good things. It hydrates your whole body (gums included), which is essential. But for your oral health, it helps clean your mouth so your saliva can nourish your teeth. When you rinse with water, it cleans your mouth so that your saliva can nourish your teeth, and it washes away food particles that can lead to cavities.

Source: Dental.Net Print        

 

 

8 Tips to Help Your Kids Stop Sucking Their Thumbs and Avoid Oral Health Issues

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Sucking their thumb, fingers or a pacifier is a natural reflex for most children. It helps them fall asleep, calm down, or to just feel good. When they are babies, it is considered harmless in terms of a child's growth and speech development.

But how long should it go on? Should a child still be sucking their thumb or a pacifier when they are ready for preschool?

Generally, a child who is in the 2- to 4-year range will start to develop other coping skills beyond thumb or finger sucking, such as language development. These coping skills replace the need for a child to suck on a thumb or finger. But for some kids, thumb sucking or finger sucking is harder to kick, which could lead to problems for their growing mouths. Recent research shows that thumb or finger sucking can have an impact even at a younger age - as young as 2 to 4 years old – on the mouth and the jaw.

Remember, sucking their thumbs or fingers is a soothing activity that can help reduce their anxiety. For most children, growing up is filled with anxiety and change.

So if your child is approaching preschool and still sucking away, here's 8 tips on how to handle it correctly:

Try to limit the time that your child sucks their thumb to their bedroom or in the house, not in public. Explain to them that this is a bed activity during nap time and at night.

Don’t turn it into a confrontation. Try to recognize your child and praise them when they are not sucking their thumb instead of criticizing them when they are.

If your child is hurt or injured, don’t prohibit them from sucking their thumb or fingers. They need that comfort zone to cope.

Help your child practice self-awareness by pointing out to them when they are sucking their thumb or fingers. Offer them an option to soothe them, like a blanket or stuffed animal.

Avoid the gross-tasting stuff that is sold to stop thumb and finger sucking. It’s just creates more anxiety, which is the initial reason why your child is sucking their thumb.

Use creative methods to help your child understand that they are growing up and one day won't suck their thumb anymore. Ask your child if their favorite cartoon character sucks their thumb.

Don’t try a glove or a mitten on the hand as a quick-fix to thumb or finger sucking. This will just frustrate the child and cause more anxiety. Plus, they are old enough to just remove the glove or mitten themselves.

Be sure to remember that a child will grow out of the need for thumb sucking or finger sucking when they are good and ready.

SOURCE: WebMD

Protect Your Smile with These 11 Tips

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Making the right decisions can have a huge impact on your teeth and your overall oral health. Remember, once your adult teeth have grown in, you’re stuck with them for the rest of your life. Lose one and you can’t regrow it. So follow our advice with these 11 tips on how to protect your smile in 2018.

Cough Drops

Most cough drops are full of sugar. And sugar is loved by bacteria, which convert the sugar into an acid that damages your teeth. Be sure to rinse your mouth after you take a cough drop, or even better, brush quickly to get rid of the sugar sticking to your teeth.

Grinding Your Teeth

Teeth grinding – also called bruxism – wears your teeth down over time. Causes are generally stress and your sleeping habits, which means it can be difficult to control. Your dentist can fit you for a night mouth guard to prevent the damage that comes from grinding your teeth while sleeping.

Gummy Bears and Their Friends

You may love gummy bears – or gummy worms – but those sugary treats are tough on your teeth. Because they stick to your teeth, the sugar and resulting acids produced by bacteria in your mouth stay in contact with your enamel for hours. That is trouble for your teeth and can lead to cavities. Eat those gummy bears and worms with a meal instead of as a stand-alone snack. The added food from your meal increases saliva production, which washes away bits of candy and the acids they produce.

Not Wearing a Mouth Guard While Playing Sports

If you or your children play a contact sport, wear a mouth guard. There’s no “maybe” on this topic. The mouth guard’s molded plastic will protect your teeth from getting chipped or knocked out while playing sports like football or hockey. You can purchase decent mouth guards at sporting goods stores or your dentist can fit you for a custom-made one.

Drinking Soda and Pop

If you want to consume 11 teaspoons of sugar at one sitting, drink a soda. And remember what sugar does in your mouth – bacteria will feel like they hit the sugar jackpot when you drink a soda. Also, all the phosphoric and citric acids in soda eat away at tooth enamel. If you think diet soft drinks are the answer, consider that you may be avoiding the sugar intake, but those artificial sweeteners may be full of even more acids that a regular soda.

Munching on Ice

If you’re an ice muncher, beware – those little frozen cubes of ice can chip or crack your pearly whites. Plus continual ice chomping irritates the soft tissue inside your tooth, which may lead to regular toothaches and sensitivity to hot and cold foods and beverages. Instead of ice, reach for a piece of sugarless gum the next time you feel an urge to munch.

Beware of Sports Drinks

Like soda, sports drinks are often high in sugar and create an acid attack on your teeth. Use them regularly and you may be opening your mouth to tooth decay. Chug water in the gym or after a workout to rehydrate your body - and skip the sugar and the calories.

Chomping on Potato Chips

Sugar isn’t the only thing that the bacteria in plaque love – they also adore starchy foods. They break them down into acid and attach your teeth for the next 20-30 minutes. Drink lots of water to wash away the acids and floss to get rid of any stray chips stuck in your teeth.

Fruit Juices

Sugar is not your mouth’s best friend, remember? Most people know that fruit juices are full of  vitamins and antioxidants. What most people don’t know is that they are also full of sugar. In some cases, they have as much sugar as a soda. So check the fruit juice label to see how much sugar it contains, and look for brands that don’t add sugar but use the natural sweetness of the fruit.

Drinking Coffee

If you are a fan of coffee, be aware that you could be yellowing your teeth over time because of coffee’s acidity and dark color. But coffee is also one of the easiest stains to treat with whitening solutions. For the best results, see your dentist for a professional whitening solution.

Consuming Wine – Both Red and White

Red wines can be double-trouble for your teeth. But even white wines can impact your teeth. Wines contain acids that are corrosive to your tooth enamel. They create rough spots that make teeth more vulnerable to staining. Red wine also contains a deep pigment called chromogen and tannins, which help the color stick to the teeth. This combination makes it easy for the wine's red color to stay with you long after your glass is empty. Swishing with water after drinking or using toothpaste with a mild whitening agent can fight the staining effects of red and white wines.

SOURCE: WebMD

7 Ideas to Enhance Your Family’s Oral Health

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If tooth decay and gum disease are two oral health problems you want your family to avoid this year, then we have 7 great tips to help your family have a healthy year for their teeth and gums. Remember, most gum disease and tooth decay is preventable if you practice good oral hygiene habits. Make sure you and each member of your family spend a couple of minutes a day flossing and brushing and that you make good choices to enhance your oral health. For a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums, that’s not a lot to ask, is it?

Begin at six months. Start your child’s dental care around six months, which is when their first tooth generally appears. Initially, use a damp cloth or soft brush to wipe your baby’s teeth. Once a child turns two, they can brush for themselves with adult supervision.

Consider sealants. Just 33% of kids in the United States receive dental sealants, but it is a great way to protect your child’s permanent molars when they come in at age 6. The sealant is applied by your dentist to the chewing surfaces on the molars and provides protection against decay.

The daily duo. Be sure to brush twice a day and floss once a day to avoid gum disease and tooth decay. Gum disease has been linked to heart disease, so it’s not something you want in your mouth.

Finish your meals the right way. Rinse your mouth right after a meal with water and/or an antibacterial rinse. Another tip is to chew a piece of sugar-free gum right after you eat to enhance the flow of saliva, which washes away bacteria and reduces acid.

Practice smart eating. Be sure to include whole foods in your diet because they will provide your teeth and gums the nutrients they need to stay healthy. That means to be sure to eat nuts, grains, dairy products, vegetables and fruits on a daily basis.

Say no to soda. Sugary sodas are “double trouble” because of their high sugar content and because people tend to sip them over extended periods of time. Bacteria in your mouth love sugar, because they produce acid when they break down the sugar. Acid erodes the enamel on your teeth, which can then lead to decay.

See your dentist regularly. Make an appointment for a dental check-up and cleaning every six months if you want to stay on top of your oral health. Your dental hygienist will get rid of built-up plaque on your teeth and check for tooth decay. Your dentist will also check for signs of oral cancer or gum disease.

 

SOURCE: WebMD

 

11 Tips to a Happy and Healthy Mouth in 2018

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If you’re a fan of making New Year’s resolutions – and sticking to them – then we have 11 helpful tips for keeping your smile bright and your mouth happy in 2018. Even if you aren’t a fan of New Year’s resolutions, our list is still a great place to start on the road to good oral health this year.

Modifying your diet can whiten your teeth

If you’re a fan of black tea or red wine - or a smoker - your teeth are going to suffer. Dark foods and beverages stain your teeth which equals a dingy smile. Gravies, dark juice and colas are also hard on your smile. To counter these dark foods, brush right after you eat or drink them. Eating an apple is also a great on-the-go solution to clean your teeth.

Toss your toothbrush regularly

Get yourself in the habit of getting rid of your toothbrush every three months. That includes the head of your electric toothbrush. Bacteria settle into the bristles of your brush over time, and after a couple of months, you are just transferring a bunch of bacteria to your mouth every time you brush. Plus, worn bristles don’t clean your teeth as well. In fact, plan for the year by getting out your 2018 calendar now and note every 90 days to change your toothbrush.

Eat foods that “scrub”

Raw carrots, celery and popcorn – along with apples – are great foods that naturally scrub your teeth. Eat them at the end of a meal if you know you won't be able to brush your teeth right after eating. They are great for when you can’t get to your toothbrush and they have the added value of being high in vitamins and fiber.

Use a natural mouthwash like apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a great natural multi-purpose mouthwash. Gargle with it in the morning before your brush. It will help remove stains on your teeth, whiten them, and zap bacteria in your mouth.

Brush your teeth with baking soda once a week

Baking soda will naturally remove stains and make your teeth whiter. Use it the same way you would your toothpaste.

Be a boss of your floss

Less than half of Americans say they floss daily – which is a definite oral health mistake for those who don’t floss regularly. It just takes two minutes once a day. To make it easier to get in a daily floss, stash packages in your purse or backpack, in your desk, and next to your bed. That will make it much more difficult to find excuses not to floss.

Switch your gum

If you like gum, then be sure to use sugar-free gum. For an even better result, purchase gum with xylitol, a non-sugar sweetener that has been proven to reduce plaque. Plus, gum produces saliva, which washes away food particles in your mouth and acid from your teeth.

Brush at optimal times to enhance the results

Brush when you first get up in the morning and just before you go to bed at night. Why? Because saliva – which is a natural plaque fighter – dries up when you sleep, so you should be sure to avoid getting into bed with a mouth full of plaque. When you get up in the morning and brush, your toothbrush will remove any plaque that built up during the night. Plus it will get rid of bacteria, which causes bad breath!

Twice a day keeps the dentist away

Spend two minutes twice a day brushing your teeth and you are almost guaranteed to reduce the bad news (cavities) when you visit your dentist the next time.

Moderate your sugar intake

Bacteria in your mouth love sugar. When sugars aren't cleaned off your teeth, bacteria feed on them and produce acids. The acids then combine with bacteria, food particles and saliva to form plaque, a sticky film that covers the teeth. Once plaque forms, the acids wear away the enamel, which is the tooth's hard outer surface. These tiny openings in the enamel represent the first stage of cavities. So cut down on your sugar intake. Swap water for soda, or sugar-free gum for your regular gum.

See your dentist regularly

Twice a year is how often you should be seeing your dentist. Book a dental hygiene appointment every six months for a professional cleaning of your teeth and gums. Plus, your dentist will take a thorough look in your mouth and spot any potential issues before they become full-blown emergencies.

Sources: Delta Dental, Colgate, WebMD, Stealth Health/Reader’s Digest

 

 

Top Tips to Choosing the Best Toothbrush for Your Smile

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How do you decide what is the best toothbrush for your oral health needs? Do you go with a favorite color? Maybe the type of bristles – soft or hard? How the toothbrush feels in your hand when you are brushing?  Or the cost? All of those are important (even the color of your toothbrush) because you want to be sure that you are doing everything possible to encourage you to brush twice a day. Remember, if you are brushing twice a day for two minutes each time, you will end up spending about 1,000 hours during your lifetime brushing your teeth. You definitely want to give yourself every opportunity to make those hours as enjoyable as possible. 

Here are some simple tips to give you the best “toothbrush experience” possible:

When Should You Buy a New Toothbrush?

As soon as the bristles on your toothbrush begin to look worn or frayed, buy a new one. That usually happens every three months if you are brushing regularly. Remember, a worn-out toothbrush isn’t helping to keep your teeth clean. After an illness replace your toothbrush because germs can linger and make you sick again. Also, if you can’t remember the last time you changed your toothbrush, it’s probably time for a new one.

The Parts of a Toothbrush – Bristles, Head Shape and Handle

Bristles: Soft is Safe

Most dentists agree on using a toothbrush with soft bristles and to brush gently. You may think that scrubbing your teeth with a stiff-bristle toothbrush will improve your oral health, but you’re probably wrong. Instead, you’ll end up damaging your teeth and gums. How? The hard bristles will cause gum tissue to pull back from teeth, which can expose the tooth root and lead to increased sensitivity to heat, cold or certain foods and drinks. Plus the hard bristles will create damage to enamel on teeth, which can leave them exposed to cavity-causing plaque.

Head: Size Matters

Consider the toothbrush’s head shape when selecting your tool of choice. Some toothbrush shapes will suit some mouths better than others. Make sure the head allows your toothbrush bristles to comfortably reach your back molars, as some brush heads may be too large or wide. Brush in front of the mirror to make sure you cover every tooth. If it doesn’t, swap your toothbrush for one that does.

Handle: Get a Grip

The handle of the brush should be long enough to hold comfortably. It should neither be too thick nor too thin to hold. Some toothbrushes today have wide handles. This helps you control the toothbrush better. So, choose a toothbrush with a handle that is long enough and wide enough for you to use. 

Do You Go Cheap on What You Pay for Your Toothbrush?

Five no-name toothbrushes in a package may seem like a steal at a handful of pennies each, but consider the risks. Seeing as you put a toothbrush in your mouth two or more times per day, it’s worth going with a reputable manufacturer. If you buy a cheap toothbrush, you may be getting a product could be from a manufacturer who doesn't care about safety or efficacy. Plus, the toothbrushes could be made of inferior or unsafe materials. Bottom line, cheap toothbrushes are better suited for cleaning grout than oral hygiene. 

Why Is the ADA Way Important?

Buy toothbrushes that have the American Dental Association’s (ADA) Seal of Acceptance. A company earns the ADA Seal for its product by producing scientific evidence that the product is safe and effective. The ADA Council on Scientific Affairs carefully evaluates the evidence according to objective guidelines for toothbrushes.

Does Color Matter?

Sure it does if color is important to you. Using an icky-colored toothbrush won’t motivate you to brush twice a day. Buy one that has a color attractive to you!

The Bottom Line on Selecting Your Toothbrush

At the end of the day, the best toothbrush is the one you’ll actually use. That means the toothbrush handle should fit comfortably in your hand and the toothbrush head should feel comfortable in your mouth and be able to reach every tooth surface. Look for the ADA Seal, your assurance that the product has been objectively evaluated for safety and effectiveness. 

Sources: The American Dental Association (ADA)