Maintain your physical health How to take good care of your teeth and gums

‘Every tooth in a man’s head is more valuable than a diamond,’ said Miguel De Cervantes - and it’s easy to understand why he felt this way. Damage to teeth and gums can make eating difficult, cause painful toothaches, lead to dental problems and even affect your overall health and well-being.

So how do you take good care of your teeth and gums? There are three key ways.

1. Brush and floss daily

This is probably the best - and easiest - way to keep your mouth healthy, clean and fresh. Brushing removes food and nasty bacteria from the surface of your teeth while flossing gets in between the small gaps.

Brushing twice a day for 2-3 minutes is one of the best dental decisions you can make!

Be sure to use toothpaste with fluoride as fluoride helps undo the damage of cavity-causing bacteria. Electric toothbrushes are more effective than manual ones. Remember to clean all the parts of your teeth - the inside, the outside and the chewing parts. Too often, people just focus on the surface of the teeth that everyone can see.

Finally, flossing at least once a day will help remove the bacteria along the gumline and therefore reduce gum disease.

2. Eat well and try to avoid sugar

You probably already know how damaging sugar can be to your teeth. This is because the bacteria in your teeth turn the sugar into acid. This acid, in turn, breaks down the surface of your teeth, leading to cavities. So, try to be aware of - and limit - the amount of sugar in your diet.

Be particularly aware of sugary drinks! It’s always a good idea to stick with water instead!

The typical can of soda contains nearly 30% more sugar than the recommended daily intake for a typical adult!

You should also:

  • Limit the number of snacks you eat each day
  • Avoid having too much citrus fruit and too many sour drinks
  • Have a well-balanced diet with lots of different fruits and vegetables
  • Limit how much alcohol you drink

Eating well not only affects your oral health, it helps prevent and manage conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. Research also shows that a healthy diet lifts your mood and improves your overall well-being. Sounds like a bargain, huh?!

3. Check your mouth regularly

Visiting your dentist regularly and doing personal mouth checks are important in maintaining good oral health and preventing problems.

You should have a regular dental check-up, for example every six to twelve months, even if you don’t have any problems with your teeth. Dentists can often catch problems early and stop bigger problems from happening. Similarly, it’s a good idea to occasionally inspect your teeth and gums between dental visits. If you see that you have red, puffy or sore gums - or bleeding when brushing or flossing - it might be a good idea to schedule an appointment with your dentist.

Going to the dentist may not be an easy decision for you. Even the thought of going to the dentist causes many people to feel anxiety. This is natural and common, and is something dentists deal with frequently.

If going to the dentist is a big worry for you, then why not tell your dentist of your worries beforehand?

You can be quite sure they will make an effort to make you feel as relaxed and at ease as possible.

The health benefits of taking care of your teeth and gums are enormous. Besides, having nice teeth and gums helps ensure a nice, confident smile. And when you smile that wonderful smile, you will prove to the world that, yes, teeth are more valuable than diamonds!

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