The cornerstone of a healthy smile is brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing at least once a day. Brushing/ flossing helps remove bacteria from your teeth and gums that contribute to tooth decay and gum disease. Toothbrushes can access the front, back and biting surfaces of your teeth, while floss accesses the in-between surfaces of your teeth.
Mouthwash helps to reduce the overall amount of oral bacteria, which can help prevent gum disease. Ensure the mouthwash you select is approved by the Canadian Dental Association or the American Dental Association. For added benefit, choose a mouthwash containing fluoride to help prevent tooth decay.
If you clench your teeth or grind them at night, you may not even notice, but the evidence will appear on your teeth in the form of wear facets and flattened biting surfaces. Signs of clenching and grinding teeth are headaches, neck aches, sore jaw or muscles in the cheeks, sensitive teeth and tooth chips. Wearing a night guard at night is vital to prevent damage to your teeth, jawbone and jaw joint.
Contact sports include soccer, football and basketball, and any other sport with potential contact with another person or inanimate object. Sports guards protect your teeth from any possible impact, which can cause teeth to be lost, loose or fractured. A professionally made mouthguard is custom-fitted to your teeth to create a tight seal for the best protection. Bring your sports guard with you to your dental check ups so the fit can be checked and the guard can be cleaned.
Foods containing sugars and foods with a low pH (acidic) can lead to many problems such as cavities and enamel erosion. It is important to reduce the consumption of these types of foods. Foods particularly high in sugar are sodas, candies, cookies and cakes and even granola bars. Foods high in acids are sodas, limes and lemons. Brush your teeth or rinse your mouth with water after having sugary and acidic foods.
Using a hard-bristled toothbrush or scrubbing your teeth and gums aggressively is likely to cause gum recession. Ensure you use either a soft manual toothbrush or an electric toothbrush, and do not apply too much pressure with the brush. Some electric toothbrushes even have a pressure indicator to show you when you’re pushing too hard with the toothbrush.