Taking care of your oral health will help prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. However, there are other reasons to brush and floss. Unhealthy teeth and gums can lead to an increased risk of strokes, heart attacks, preterm labor, and poorly controlled diabetes.
By making simple changes you can look forward to cleaner, whiter teeth with less plaque and fillings and healthier gums.
Smoking causes many life-threatening health problems, but also on the long list of problems is that smoking is bad for your oral health.
In fact, smokers have 38 times increased the risk of developing mouth cancer than people who do not smoke.
Smoking also stains your teeth, giving them a yellow discoloration. It also increases your risk of gum disease and causes bad breath.
The NHS recommends using vaping as a way of giving up smoking as e-cigarettes are believed to be a whopping 95% less harmful than traditional tobacco. Unlike smoking, vaping does not result in bad breath – in fact, there is a variety of e-liquids available that smell fresh like the minty or menthol flavors or sweet flavors like caramel and butterscotch.
Vaping also does not cause tooth discoloration or plaque build-up like smoking does.
Change your diet
In the 1930s, Dr. Weston A. Price made the discovery that certain tribes never brushed or flossed their teeth yet had no tooth decay and perfectly straight, white teeth. His extensive research showed that diet was a huge influence on oral health. Crooked teeth and tooth decay appeared with the Western diet – processed foods, flour, and sugar.
You don’t have to make drastic changes to benefit from improved oral health. Simply cut down on foods containing high amounts of phytic acid like grains and beans and limit nuts.
Also, limit starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and eat more mineral rich vegetables like mushrooms and dark leafy greens.
Cut down on the sugary foods and drinks you consume and try to avoid snacking. If you have a sweet tooth try sugar-free drinks and snacks containing xylitol which helps to keep a neutral pH level in your mouth and stops bacteria sticking to your teeth.
Add supplements to your diets such as cod liver oil, coconut oil, and vitamin D to help keep your teeth strong and healthy.
When the fruit is mashed or juiced the sugars are released from the structure of the fruit. Try to limit smoothies or fruit juice to no more than a small glass a day.
Avoid acidic foods
Foods that tend to cause more acidity are things like processed foods and grains, sugar, fish, high-protein foods and supplements and meats. This acid in food and sugary drink can cause tooth enamel to wear away, making them discolored. The teeth are also weakened by this acid and demineralization starts to occur, leaving your teeth prone to sensitivity and leading to tooth decay.
It is a good idea to brush your teeth after meals, but brushing too soon will speed up tooth wear before the tooth enamel has time to set again – so ideally wait an hour before brushing.
Try eating foods which have a higher pH level alongside acidic foods. These include cheese, bananas, apples, brown rice, mangos, and lean meats and fish. These foods neutralize acids in your mouth.
Chew sugar-free gum after eating as it helps protect your teeth in between brushing. You could also eat a small piece of cheese after a meal as this will neutralize acids.
Limit food and drink which can stain your teeth
It’s not just smoking which can stain your teeth. Tea, coffee and red wine are also culprits. Try to keep them to a minimum to prevent your teeth being stained. Ideally, avoid black tea and coffee and dilute it with milk or a milk substitute and limit alcohol to the weekends.
Regular appointments with your hygienist for a deep clean will also help to keep your teeth as naturally white as they can be.