Be Thankful for the Teeth You Have

You may be surprised to learn that the earliest documentation of teeth were not individual structures, but rather tough, bumpy plates that ancient fish would use like sandpaper to crush and shred their food. Fast forward 400 million years and the evolution of teeth have made some remarkable improvements. Thanksgiving is a great time to reflect on how thankful we should be for the teeth we have.

Each person has a unique set of teeth that work extremely hard to chew the amount of food we consume. They also prevent risk for serious medical conditions such as diabetes, strokes, and heart disease. Most importantly, healthy teeth boost confidence levels and allow us to smile as much as we please. If your oral care routine needs improvement, take these steps to get back on track.

Oral Hygiene Basics

To protect your teeth from dental disease and decay, you should keep your teeth, tongue, and oral cavity as clean as possible. The American Dental Association recommends brushing the teeth twice a day for two minutes to ensure a thorough cleaning. Keeping the area where the teeth meet the gums clean helps fight cavities and prevents gum disease. It’s important to use the proper brushing and flossing techniques to remove all food particles that are left behind. Always rinse your toothbrush with water after brushing and store it in an airtight container away from other toothbrushes to avoid transferring germs.

Follow These Steps to Maintain Your Oral Health

  • Pick the right toothbrush – Always look for a small to a medium-sized toothbrush with a head and bristles that are small enough to reach into the crevices of the molars.
  • Brush your teeth properly – Hold your toothbrush at a slight angle – aiming the bristles toward the area where the tooth meets the gum. Be sure to clean the entire surface of your enamel and don’t forget to brush your tongue!
  • Floss Properly – Guide at least 18 inches of floss in the space between the gum and the tooth. Use the floss gently and rub the side of the tooth in an up-and-down motion. Take one tooth at a time and keep up the habit by flossing at least once a day.

When to See a Dentist

Depending on the status of your oral health, you should be visiting the dentist at least twice a year to promote dental health. Early detection and treatment of problems such as bad breath, swollen gums, tooth sensitivity, or mouth ulcers, can help ensure that you keep your permanent teeth for a lifetime.