How do I keep my teeth healthy?

Jonathan B. Levine, DMD
While saliva is your body’s natural protective mechanism when it comes to your teeth, it still needs help because of the amount of sugary and acidic drinks and foods that pass through the mouth. Brushing regularly with toothpaste and flossing every day is absolutely necessary. But not all oral health ingredients work in collaboration with your body. The alcohol in mouthwash can dry out your mouth, so use it in moderation if brushing and flossing alone don’t do the trick.

To keep your mouth clean and your teeth healthy between brushing, try snacking on natural, crunchy snacks like carrots and celery. Cheese, nuts and milk are also great for your teeth. To help your mouth stay neutral, replace soda with water and rinse with water after drinking coffee, tea, wine or any other beverage that would stain a white T-shirt. Finally, chewing on sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free candy can get the salivary glands to produce more saliva.

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Strong, healthy-looking teeth promote self-confidence and a sound attitude toward overall health and fitness. Yet many people don't put much thought into how they care for their smile; they run a toothbrush over their teeth every day and leave it at that.

Diligent home care (regular and proper brushing and flossing) and bi-annual visits to the dentist for check-ups remain the easiest and most effective methods of maintaining a set of healthy-looking teeth. They look healthy because they are healthy
Healthy teeth are an indicator of health in other areas, especially the heart. To keep your teeth healthy and white:
  • Wait at least an hour after eating before you brush your teeth to help reduce risk of tooth erosion;
  • Sip sweetened drinks and even wine through a straw to reduce decay and the possibility of staining your teeth;
  • Eat foods high in calcium to maintain the density of your teeth;
  • Floss after eating;
  • Avoid over-whitening your teeth, which can contribute to tooth sensitivity and erosion.

To keep your teeth healthy, dentists recommend that you:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day.
  • Use a toothpaste with fluoride.
  • Floss your teeth at least once a day.
  • Avoid sugary drinks and foods.
  • Don't smoke or use other tobacco products.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation (if at all).
  • See your dentist regularly for checkups and professional cleaning.

Keeping your teeth healthy is an essential part of good overall health. To do this, you need to follow these steps everyday:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste;
  • Floss daily with dental floss or other interdental cleaners;
  • Eat a balanced diet and limit between-meal snack;
  • Replace your toothbrush every three or four months; 
  • Schedule regular dental check-ups. 

Following these steps can help you stay Mouth Healthy for Life.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.