During this month of candy and costumes, the health of our teeth is often forgotten. So here are some tricks that can help keep scary things from happening to your teeth.
- An apple a day keeps the dentist away. There are a wide variety of delicious apples available now, and this firm, crisp fruit helps clean plaque from the teeth and freshens breath. Other crisp fruits and raw vegetables, such as carrots and celery, do the same, and their antioxidants help protect gums and other tissues from cell damage and bacterial infection.
- Bag the chips for plain popcorn. Plain popcorn is 100 percent whole grain and contains plenty of fiber and only around 31 calories per cup (compared to 139 calories for regular potato chips.) It’s also considered one of the detergent foods for your teeth. BUT, avoid the hard kernels and make sure any popcorn wedged between your teeth is removed. Otherwise, it can wreak havoc on your teeth by cracking them or fostering bacterial growth.
- Brush before you drink or eat. It’s counterintuitive, but brush your teeth about an hour before you drink wine or other sugary, acidic foods and drinks. This reduces the number of bacteria in the mouth and keeps you from “feeding them,” as well as helps prevent staining from dark drinks.
- Change your toothbrush every two to three months. Researchers have found that toothbrushes can be loaded with germs and bacteria — and even be a breeding ground for tiny microorganisms. You can also soak your toothbrush in alcohol, mouthwash, or a solution of half water and half hydrogen peroxide to help control the germiness.
- Brush your teeth first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening. You should immediately brush off the plaque and bacteria that have built up as you sleep. And, at night, your saliva dries up, so it’s best to have all the plaque cleaned off the teeth before you go to sleep. Once a week, brush with baking soda, which will remove stains and whiten teeth!
- Keep the dark chocolate treats for yourself! Avoid the sticky and hard candies and separate out the dark chocolate for your treats. Recent studies have found that dark chocolate (not milk chocolate) helps fight cavities, plaque and tooth decay!