With all the dental advice available online nowadays, it’s hard to know what’s actually important to your oral health. Dr. John C. Cranham in Chesapeake, VA and his team want you to know the top dental care tips so you can keep your mouth and body healthy for years to come.

1.Brush your teeth every day

You’ve been hearing this advice from your dentist and your parents your entire life: brush your teeth twice a day. Brushing removes leftover food particles that combine with saliva to form plaque, which when left on the teeth can cause cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease.

2. Use toothpaste with fluoride

Fluoride is an important ingredient in toothpaste because it helps attract calcium to strengthen our teeth. Using a toothpaste with fluoride can reverse early signs of tooth decay such as weakened spots in the enamel or exposed roots that could eventually become cavities.

3. Flossing is as important as brushing

Your dental team knows when you haven’t been flossing! Flossing is important because it removes plaque from places that a toothbrush alone can’t reach such as between teeth. If plaque remains in these hard-to-reach places, you could find yourself dealing with gum disease, which is linked to cardiovascular problems and Alzheimer’s.

4. Limit sugar intake, including sugary drinks

Sugar contributes to tooth decay because it feeds the bacteria that live in our mouths. Bacteria feed off of the leftover food particles on the teeth, and the acid from their digestion will also eat away at our tooth enamel.  Reducing the amount of sugar in your diet will help keep oral bacteria at bay.

5. Maintain a healthy diet and stay hydrated

A healthy diet is important not just for overall health, but is important for your teeth in ways you might not expect. In addition to good nutrition provided by healthy foods, many fruits and vegetables are crunchy and chewy, which promotes saliva production. Saliva is good for dental health as it washes away food particles, plaque and bacteria. Staying hydrated also helps your mouth produce saliva

6. Don’t forget your tongue

If your tongue has a white or yellow film on it, you may be forgetting to brush it. When you brush your teeth, don’t forget to run your toothbrush over your tongue to remove the foul-smelling bacterial waste that can cause bad breath.

7. Don’t chew on hard items

This might seem obvious, but try not to bite down on hard candies or even non-food items like pen caps or fingernails. This can damage teeth.

8. Take care of your toothbrush

Your toothbrush doesn’t need any special cleaning, but make sure it is clean and dries out after each use. You should store it upright and exposed to air so that it dries properly.

9. See your dentist twice a year

Regular dental exams are important to preserving your oral health. During your exam, your dentist can detect early warning signs of tooth decay before they become severe, helping you avoid complex dental procedures. They will also perform X-rays to ensure your teeth are secure and well-supported in your jaw.

Dr. Cranham and his Chesapeake, VA team are here to help you maintain your oral health. Schedule an appointment online or call 757.656.4109 today to keep your smile healthy!

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