Make 2022 a year of better habits and improved health. Oral health is a major contributor to your general health and wellbeing. Good oral hygiene habits act as a natural defence against bacteria that may cause infection. Similarly, gum disease and inflammation can be linked to other medical issues. Here are 4 behaviours to banish in 2022 for better oral health and a happier, healthier year.
1 Brushing Teeth after Coffee
As a health practitioner, one of the most common mistakes I see patients make is to brush their teeth immediately after drinking their morning coffee. Coffee is highly acidic; acids soften the enamel coating on teeth, which is vital to prevent tooth decay and sensitivity. By brushing your teeth immediately after consuming coffee while the enamel is compromised, you are more likely to damage it. Instead, allow 30 minutes before brushing so that the enamel can reharden.
After drinking coffee (and other acidic drinks such as fruit juice, tea and alcohol), swill your mouth with water. Rinsing will help wash away any lingering acids, neutralise pH and protect enamel. An added benefit is that it will help minimise unsightly staining.
2 Failing to Floss
One of the biggest issues I see in my patients is a failure to floss. Flossing is imperative for good oral hygiene as twice-daily brushing is insufficient in eliminating trapped food debris in hard-to-reach places.
Bacteria develop when food gets caught between teeth and under the gumline. Plaque also develops, which is a sticky, stubborn film that builds up and causes tooth decay, cavities, tartar and gum disease. Flossing helps to dislodge trapped food, thus reducing bacteria and plaque build-up.
Daily flossing also helps keep breath smelling fresh. No amount of brushing will improve bad breath if bacteria festers in between teeth and around the gums. We recommend flossing at least once a day prior to brushing. Brushing after flossing helps remove the loosened food particles and plaque, leaving your gum line and teeth cleaner, fresher and stronger.
There are no two ways about it – smoking is terrible for your health. Smoking is one of the leading causes of gum disease and tooth loss. It also causes staining, leaving smokers with discoloured, yellow teeth. Smoker’s breath is another unappealing side-effect. Smoking reduces saliva production, which is important in helping to neutralise pH, maintain oral health, and combat tartar and bacteria build-up. Bad breath can be an early sign of gum disease (periodontal disease) too.
4 Soft drinks and fruit juices
Like coffee, soft drinks and fruit juices are highly acidic. They also contain a high level of sugar, which, as we know, is terrible for tooth health. Acid weakens enamel and increases plaque build-up. Plaque feeds on the sugar to create more acid, amplifying the problem for enamel. It is better to eliminate carbonated drinks altogether, replace fruit juices with real, fresh whole fruit alternatives, and drink water instead. If you still wish to consume the occasional carbonated drink or fruit juice, opt for a (reusable or eco-friendly) straw that helps the liquid bypass the teeth.
The good news is that it’s never too late to improve your oral health, and the new year is the perfect time to make a fresh start. By ditching these behaviours and attending regular appointments for checkups and cleaning at dental clinic in Bentleigh East, you’ll be healthier, happier and smiling brighter in 2022 and beyond. Contact Verve Dental today to book your appointment and start the new year on the right track.