If you forgot to brush your teeth before bed last night, you aren't alone. In fact, studies have shown that only 56.8% of women and 49% of men brush their teeth twice a day. Fortunately, there is more than one way to keep your teeth healthy. Here are three smart ways to fend off dental decay, so that you can keep your teeth looking fantastic without a lot of effort.
1: Consider a Fluoride Varnish
Wouldn't it be neat if you could shield your teeth from food particles and troublesome bacteria? Believe it or not, you can actually have your teeth varnished to protect them from dental decay by your general dentist.
Fluoride varnish is a clear, temporary, resin-based substance that is painted onto teeth. The varnish contains high levels of fluoride, which are released slowly into the teeth for several hours after the initial application. Although this varnish is temporary, it can be powerful in the fight against dental decay.
In addition to reducing instances of cavities by as much as 50%, fluoride varnishes can also be used to cover root exposure, protect teeth against acidic sodas, and keep orthodontic patients from racking up decay around braces and permanent retainers. The best part about fluoride varnishes is that they only cost about $35 per treatment, so you can protect your teeth easily without hurting your wallet.
2: Eat Foods that Fight Dental Bacteria
Right now, you have around 25 strains of harmful bacteria living in your mouth, munching away on food particles and attacking your teeth. These strains, which mostly belong to the Mutans streptococci family, produce acids as they grow and multiply, which erodes enamel and leaves your teeth open to bacterial infection. Fortunately, you might be able to kill off some of these bacteria just by eating certain foods.
Because bacteria loves to eat simple starches and sugars, limiting your intake of processed foods can help to reduce the food source that bacteria has access to. Some studies have even shown that enzyme-modified milk and coconut oil can slow the growth of Streptococcus mutans, and keep it from clinging to your teeth.
In addition to disrupting the effects of bacteria, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can also strengthen your dental structures, and improve your overall health.
3: Boost Your Saliva Production
If you are like most people, you probably take your spit for granted. However, saliva serves several important purposes. In addition to containing enzymes that help you to digest your food, spit also keeps food particles from sticking to your teeth and helps to fight troublesome dental bacteria.
By boosting your saliva production, you might be able to fight tooth decay. Here are a few ways to keep your mouth moist.
- Chew Gum: Chewing gum can increase your saliva production by as much as ten times. Studies have shown that chewing sugar free gum for twenty minutes after each meal can reduce instances of cavities by as much as 40%.
- Breathe Through your Nose: When you breathe through your mouth, you exhale moisture, which can dry spit fast. To keep saliva in place, try to breathe through your nose.
- Watch those Medications: Unfortunately, certain medications can reduce saliva production. If your medicine causes dry mouth, consider talking with your doctor about switching meds.
- Drink Enough Water: Your body won't produce as much spit if you are dehydrated. To keep your teeth healthy, make sure to drink enough water. Experts recommend taking your body weight, dividing that number in half, and drinking that many ounces daily. For example, if you weigh 180 pounds, you should aim to drink at least 90 ounces worth of water each day to stay hydrated.
Keeping your whistle wet can help you to fend off tooth decay, before it ever becomes a problem.
Understanding different ways to keep your teeth healthy can help you to avoid painful cavities without the hassle of traditional dental hygiene routines.