Look around and you’ll notice that products and advertisements for ways to improve your smile are flourishing in the United States. Everyone wants to have better looking teeth and a sparkling smile. You should see your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings, but there are also things you should be doing at home to help both the appearance and health of your mouth. Here are some things to keep in mind as you seek a healthy smile.
Brush, brush, brush!
You should brush your teeth at least twice every day, no excuses! Some people complain that the flavor ruins the taste of foods or drinks later on, and others grumble about the time it takes. These reasons just aren’t good enough to sacrifice your oral health. Bacteria forms on your teeth overnight and should be removed. Brushing at bedtime eliminates food particles and cleans your mouth for the night ahead, when saliva is not helping keep your mouth clean.
Don’t forget to floss!
Flossing your teeth is few people’s favorite pastime, but it’s the best way to get between your teeth to remove debris and bacteria. Dentists recommend flossing at least once every day.
Fluoride is your friend!
Make sure your toothpaste contains fluoride, as it has been proven to be effective in preventing cavities. Also ask your dentist about whether your community provides fluoride in the drinking water, which is another way to get fluoride that helps protect your teeth from decay.
Your tongue can be nasty!
You may not have realized what an important role your tongue plays in your oral health. It collects bacteria and causes it to linger in your mouth, so brushing your tongue is a good way to eliminate even more bacteria than just brushing your teeth does. Also, cleaning your tongue helps with bad breath too.
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The word cancer strikes fear and dismay in most people, and it’s no different when the diagnosis is oral cancer. You should know the risk factors and symptoms so that you can either avoid it completely, or catch it early enough that you’ll have the best chance of recovery.
Who is at risk?
Oral cancer is not contagious, but there are some activities that put you at higher risk for the disease. Both smoked and smokeless tobacco are linked to oral cancer, and the more you use tobacco the greater your risk becomes. Excessive alcohol consumption also increases your risk, and paired with tobacco use your risk is even higher. Sun exposure heightens your chances of developing cancer of the lip.
What are the symptoms?
Oral cancer patients may experience any of these signs of the disease:
• A sore in the mouth or throat that bleeds often and doesn’t heal within two weeks
• A thick area or lump in the cheek
• Patches in your mouth or on your lips that are red, white, or a mixture of the two
• Pain or difficulty swallowing
• Difficulty wearing your dentures
• A sore throat
• Tongue or mouth numbness
• Difficulty chewing, or moving your jaw or tongue
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What should I do if I have symptoms?
If you notice any of these signs, visit your dentist right away to get screened for oral cancer. When diagnosed early, there is an 80 percent survival rate. Unfortunately many patients wait too long to see their dentist, and late-stage diagnosis is the reason for most oral cancer deaths.
A bright, white smile can boost your confidence and make a positive impression on others. Teeth whitening is a popular dental procedure, available at your dentist office or with take-home kits. Natural remedies are also helpful. Here are some hints for reversing years of yellowing and staining on your teeth.
Be careful what you eat and drink
Anything that might stain a white shirt can stain your teeth, so limit dark beverages like coffee, red wine, and tea. Also be careful about foods like blueberries and blackberries. If you do consume items known to stain teeth, rinse with water afterwards.
Quit using tobacco products
Aside from being harmful to your health, tobacco products can badly stain your teeth. Brown stains from tobacco get into the grooves of your tooth enamel, causing discolorations are very difficult to remove. The longer you smoke, the worse the stains get.
Eat foods that help your teeth
A healthy diet will aid your teeth and bones, but also help your smile. Rubbing strawberries on your teeth can actually help to whiten them. Crunchy foods like celery, apples, and carrots trigger saliva, which helps to wash away food particles and remove stains from your teeth.
Chew sugarless gum
Sugarless gum increases the flow of saliva, helping to clean your mouth and neutralize the acid that leads to tooth decay.
Drink plenty of water
Drinking water will remove food debris from your mouth, and reduce plaque buildup. Keeping your mouth moist also reduces bad breath.
Practice good oral hygiene
At minimum, brushing twice a day and flossing once daily will help maintain white teeth. It helps prevent stains, and using whitening fluoride toothpaste can give you an even brighter smile.
Visit your dentist
See Dr. Thanos every six months for cleanings and checkups. Professional cleanings will remove more teeth stains than you’re able to achieve at home.Read More »