Maintaining proper oral hygiene makes your mouth healthier, lowers your risk of cavities, and even helps you avoid dental emergencies.
You know the basics of good oral hygiene by now: brushing twice a day, using mouthwash, flossing once a day, and coming in every six months for professional dental cleanings here at DentAlign NYC.
It turns out, though, that a few lesser-known hacks can also significantly improve your dental health. Read on for eight unconventional yet effective hacks to keep your mouth as healthy as possible.
1. Chew gum — but make it sugar-free
You might be skeptical, but hear us out. Sugar-free gum actually helps reduce your risk of cavities. In fact, the American Dental Association even awards the Seal of Acceptance to certain brands of gum that are sugar-free.
Here’s why it works. The act of chewing stimulates saliva production, which neutralizes acid and washes away food particles from your teeth. Plus, the increased saliva flow aids in strengthening tooth enamel and preventing tooth decay.
2. Get a tongue scraper, and use it
Did you know that bacteria can accumulate on your tongue and contribute to bad breath and oral health issues? Using a tongue scraper every day can help get rid of these pesky bacteria. You just glide the scraper gently from back to front, and rinse it after each stroke.
3. Drink water with fluoride
Water is essential for our overall health, and choosing to drink fluoridated water can give your dental health an extra boost. Fluoride helps strengthen tooth enamel, making it more resistant to acid attacks and cavities.
If you struggle to reach your daily ounces, try carrying a big water bottle with you all day so you can fill it up frequently. If you start getting tired of water, add lemon slices, fresh mint leaves, or even blueberries to give it an extra shot of flavor.
4. Eat your crunchy fruits and vegetables
Adding crunchy fruits and vegetables like apples, carrots, and celery into your diet can work wonders for your teeth. These foods act as natural toothbrushes by stimulating saliva production and scrubbing away plaque and food debris. Plus, fruits and veggies are loaded with vitamins and minerals that will promote healthier gums and stronger teeth.
Pro tip: Add carrots, apple slices, and celery sticks to your daily snack rotation.
5. Try oil pulling
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic technique of swishing oil in your mouth to improve oral health. To do it, swish a tablespoon of coconut oil around in your mouth for 15-20 minutes, and then spit it out. People use this practice to help reduce harmful bacteria, prevent plaque formation, and promote fresher breath. Some oil pulling formulas include mint or other essential oils that can also freshen your breath.
Note that oil pulling should not be used to replace medicated mouthwashes or routine dental care.
6. Minimize acidic and sugary foods
Acidic and sugary foods wreak havoc on your teeth. They erode the enamel covering your teeth and contribute to cavities. You don’t have to avoid them entirely, but you should definitely limit your consumption of soda, candies, and other sugary treats. You can also offset the harm by rinsing your mouth with water after eating sugary foods, and waiting at least 30 minutes before brushing to avoid damaging your enamel.
7. Use a mouthguard for nighttime teeth grinding
Grinding your teeth during sleep, known as bruxism, can cause dental problems such as tooth sensitivity and jaw pain. Using a custom-fitted mouthguard can protect your teeth from the force of your grinding, which will minimize the potential damage.
8. Eat a more balanced diet
What you eat directly impacts your overall health, including your gums. For instance, foods rich in vitamin C (like citrus fruits, strawberries, and kiwis) promote healthy gums by strengthening blood vessels and reducing inflammation.
Meanwhile, leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale are packed with antioxidants and folic acid, which aid in gum tissue repair and reduce the risk of gum disease. And the omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish — think salmon and mackerel — have anti-inflammatory properties that support periodontal wound healing.
Try these hacks in your dental routine today
Incorporating these lesser-known hacks into your daily routine can enhance your dental health and help you maintain a beautiful smile. Don’t forget your regular dental checkups and professional cleanings, either.
To schedule your next dental exam and cleaning at DentAlign NYC, call our office at 716-350-0665, or book an appointment online.