During these uncertain times, many folks are spending more time at home and may be less likely – or unable – to schedule a routine checkup with their dentist in Putnam. If you find yourself in this boat, consider using this time as an opportunity to evaluate your oral health habits and make some positive changes. Want some friendly advice? Here are 5 oral care tips to maintain a healthy smile at home.
#1: Brush After Every Meal
Every time you eat, the bacteria in your mouth feeds on the tiny bits of food and produces acids. These acids weaken tooth enamel and can eventually lead to tooth decay. One advantage of spending more time at home is it is likely much easier to clean your teeth after every meal. Brushing your teeth for a full two minutes after every time you eat will protect your smile from bacteria and prevent harmful plaque and tartar buildup.
#2: Eat Teeth-Healthy Foods
Eating a balanced diet can boost your smile and your overall health. Try to include these natural vitamins and minerals into your meal plan:
- Calcium, which is found in milk, cheese, yogurt and other foods, is an essential mineral that strengthens enamel.
- Phosphorus, which is found in fish, lean meat, nuts and more, is a mineral that works with calcium to build strong, healthy bones and teeth.
- Vitamin C, which is found in citrus fruits as well as tomatoes, peppers, broccoli and more, helps develop and maintain healthy gums and protects against gum disease.
#3: Snack Smart
If you are currently working from home, you may find it hard to resist the urge to snack frequently throughout the day. After all, the kitchen is just steps away! If you do make making periodic trips to the pantry or refrigerator, at least be sure to snack smart by choosing healthy alternatives, such as:
- Bananas, apples or carrots
- Cheese sticks
- Plain yogurt
#4: Stay Hydrated
Whether you are going on runs outside or lifting makeshift weights in the basement, make sure you stay hydrated! Opt for tap water over brightly-colored sports drinks after your workouts to protect your teeth. Many sports drinks are acidic or contain high levels of sugars. On the other hand, many public water sources contain fluoride, a naturally-occurring mineral that strengthens teeth and reduces the risk of tooth decay.
#5: Rinse Away Bacteria
Rinsing daily with a non-alcoholic mouthwash can help eliminate lingering bacteria from your mouth. Swish the mouthwash for 30 seconds to one minute – as advised on the product label – before spitting it out. Mouthwash should always be used to complement daily brushing and flossing – NOT replace them.
Following the 5 tips above will help you maintain a healthy smile and body while staying at home. However, although these tips are great, when you’re able to get a professional checkup and cleaning in the future, be sure to do it!
About the Author
Dr. Walter McGinn has been providing quality dental care to residents of Putnam and the surrounding communities for over 25 years. The Harvard School of Dental Medicine graduate enjoys sharing with patients the connection between oral and overall health and how a healthy mouth is essential to a strong immune system — which is especially important right now! Patients interested in more preventive oral care tips can visit Dr. McGinn’s website or call the office at 860-928-3723.