7 habits to form for healthier teeth and gums

October 2, 2015

It's true, you can keep your teeth healthy throughout your lifetime. Here's how.

7 habits to form for healthier teeth and gums

1. Skip soda

  • Fizzy drinks attack your teeth two ways: all that sugar and strong acids that erode the protective enamel on your teeth.
  • The worst ones for your mouth are non-colas, which contain more citric acid, and diet sodas, which may contain phosphoric acid and citric acid.
  • Sip water or unsweetened iced tea.
  • Tea may help guard against gum disease.

2. Investigate colour changes

  • Sometimes darkening teeth can signal more than a cosmetic problem.
  • Big cavities, periodontal disease, some oral cancers and some medications can cause staining or darkening of the teeth.
  • Whitening treatments are most effective for teeth that have become discoloured due to yellowing from age, tobacco, red wine, coffee or tea.

3. Chew xylitol-sweetened gum

  • Xylitol, a sugar alcohol made from substances found in birch trees and other woods, may help lower levels of cavity-producing acid.
  • Even if xylitol levels are low, they may help somewhat.
  • Sugar-free gum can also help remove bits of food stuck deep in crevices on the chewing surfaces of your teeth.

4. Treat bleeding gums seriously

You shouldn't live with gums that bleed every time you brush or floss. If this is happening to you, first make sure you're faithfully brushing and flossing. Then, add an anti-gingivitis mouthwash. If bleeding persists, schedule a dental appointment.

5. Watch for signs of gum disease

You may have gum disease if you have any of the following symptoms. If you do, call your dentist.

  • Red, swollen, or tender gums
  • Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Pus between the teeth and gums
  • Loose or separating teeth
  • A change in the way the teeth fit together
  • A change in the fit of partial dentures

6. Schedule semi-annual dental cleanings and checkups

Your smile will be whiter in pictures, and you'll cut your odds of developing gum disease in two ways:

  1. Professional cleanings remove calculus — hardened plaque that can make gums recede — even better than brushing and flossing.
  2. Your dentist will have a chance to check for signs of gum disease.

Schedule appointments even if you have partial dentures, a bridge, dental implants, or a full set of dentures. Your dentist will check your mouth for signs of oral cancer and other problems.

Most Canadians believe their oral health is great, yet they also believe that tooth loss was inevitable with age. But, with the right steps, you can keep your teeth and gums healthy for your entire life.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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