By now, you probably know the basics of how to keep your teeth and gums healthy: avoid sugary foods, brush and floss, visit our Leesburg dental office twice each year for cleanings and exams, and so on. All of those things are vital to great dental health. But research into dentistry changes every day, so here are a few of the more unusual ways to keep your teeth healthy.
Skip diet soda: Regular soda has a ton of sugar in it, and you know how sugar can quickly lead to cavities. That means diet soda, which has no sugar in it, is great for your teeth, right? Actually, wrong. Yes, diet sodas skip the sugar, which helps cause tooth decay, but they are also full of phosphoric acid. It’s used in soda to help balance the sweetness (sugar or artificial). Outside of sodas, it’s used to get rid of rust. The acid in diet sodas can slowly corrode the enamel on your teeth, making them more susceptible to cavities and sometimes requiring dental crowns or, in drastic cases, tooth removal. The occasional diet drink is great, but if you’re drinking one or more each day, cutting down will help keep your teeth strong.
Get some sun: No, we’re not talking about exposing your teeth to the sun. Your teeth are not technically bones, but they share a lot in common. Your bones need vitamin D to stay healthy and strong, so vitamin D has been linked to stronger teeth as well. There are several ways to get more vitamin D in your diet, such as drinking more milk and taking vitamin supplements, but your body can create vitamin D by getting exposure to sunlight. By going outside and getting some sun on your skin, you increase the amount of vitamin D in your body, which helps your teeth stay strong and healthy.
Skip whitening toothpastes: There are a lot of teeth whitening systems out there. At our Leesburg, VA dental office, we offer two: PureWhite and KöR Whitening. There are a ton of over-the-counter products as well, including toothpastes that claim to whiten teeth. However, you should skip these to help keep your teeth healthy. In order to be sold without a prescription, the whitening agent needs to be weak. To compensate for that, many teeth whitening toothpastes include a substance that grinds away at your enamel to get rid of the stains there. It’s not like you’re going to give yourself cavities with these toothpastes, but you will slowly erode some of the enamel.
Chew sugarless gum with xylitol and real cinnamon: There are two special ingredients in sugarless gum that studies have linked to better oral health: xylitol and cinnamon. Xylitol is a sugar-free sweetening agent that appears to cut down on the harmful bacteria living in your mouth. Real cinnamon (not artificial cinnamon flavoring) also seems to have antibacterial properties. More research needs to be done, but both appear to help get rid of the bacteria that can cause cavities and gum disease
Eat apples and carrots: Certain foods are so tough, they can actually hurt your enamel. Other foods are soft and mushy and do nothing to help clean your mouth. But there are some foods that occupy a middle ground between the two. Apples and carrots are soft enough to not cause damage, but they are tough enough to scrub away food and drink that has clung to the enamel of your teeth. This gets rid of food that harmful bacteria love to eat, so chewing on apple or carrot pieces can actually help scrub your teeth clean.
Drink plenty of water: You already know the importance of staying hydrated and drinking lots of water, but doing that is more than just a good thing for your body. Your mouth needs water to create saliva. Saliva not only makes chewing easier, but it also keeps your gums and teeth moist so it’s harder for food particles to collect there. That means it’s harder for bacteria to live there, making your teeth that much more healthy.
At the end of the day, there is no replacement for twice-yearly visits to our Leesburg, VA dental office, brushing, and flossing. But these unusual ideas can help tip the balance in your favor and keep your teeth clean and healthy. For more information on how to keep your teeth clean, or to schedule your next appointment for a cleaning and exam, call us today at 703-297-4353.