Health Brief: Prize Your Pearly Whites

Secrets for a healthier mouth

They help you eat and talk, so return the favor and help keep your chompers in tip-top shape with these 9 secrets to a healthier mouth:

Dry-Brush Your Teeth

Before squeezing toothpaste onto your brush use a dry toothbrush to brush your teeth for about 30 seconds. In half-a-minute you can cut tartar by 60 percent and reduce your risk of bleeding gums. Simply use a dry, soft-bristle brush to scrub the inside of all your teeth and then buff the outer surface. Rinse your mouth and toothbrush and then proceed to brush normally with toothpaste.

Go on a White-Teeth Diet

Worried that your teeth are looking not-so-pearly white? Start paying attention to what you’re putting in your mouth. Coffee, red wine, black tea, and smoking all contribute to a dingy smile. Brush immediately after enjoying any dark colored drinks or foods to help prevent staining.

Get Flossy

Remember – you only have to floss the teeth you want to keep! Start with about 18 inches of floss, and wrap the majority around finger on each hand so you have a taut piece to work with. Gently guide the floss between your teeth, using your gums to guide you, firmly hold the floss against your tooth as you move it up and down. Don’t forget to floss the back of your last molars; this is where the most decay occurs.

Nature’s Toothbrush

If you are on the go and want to freshen up your teeth and enjoy a healthy snack grab an apple! Foods that are crisp help to clean your teeth as you eat them. Other choices include raw carrots, celery and even (unseasoned) popcorn.

Be Good to your Gums

Don’t neglect this pink tissue; more teeth are lost to gum disease than to tooth decay. If you want to do more than just brush and floss grab some raisins. Research has shown that antioxidants in the dried fruit fight the growth of bacteria that can cause inflammation and gum disease.

Chuck your Brush

You should replace your brush every two to three months. If you wait longer than this bacteria will build up as the bristles break down – essentially leaving you with a dirtier mouth and a poor way to clean it.

Keep Teeth for Eating

From time to time you might be tempted to use your teeth for something else – resist the urge. Your teeth are a very specialized tool that should be used for eating and speaking, not popping-open a bottle, untying knots or crushing ice. Invest in a small pair of scissors or bottle opener, rather than expensive oral surgery for a cracked tooth.

Brush with Care

Does your toothbrush look like it was used to scrub out grout? If you answered yes, you’re probably brushing too hard. It may surprise you to hear that brushing with force is actually not the best way to remove plaque, and can actually cause gum recession. Instead, try gripping your toothbrush like a pencil and move it in small circles – this will help prevent you from going too hard on your teeth.

Dance while you Brush

Brushing doesn’t have to be boring. According to British researchers the ideal amount of time to brush is two minutes. Pass the time by humming or playing a song that is about two minutes long. You can even download an app on your smartphone that will randomly play two minutes of a song taken at random from your music library.