Brush Up on Your Oral Hygiene

dental-hygieneFrom the time we are able to hold a toothbrush we are taught to brush and floss twice a day. And while many of us do just that, there are many other things you can do to improve your oral health. Here are some tips for top-notch teeth and excellent oral health:

Limit dark and acidic foods. Maintaining a light, bright smile may seem more cosmetic than health-related, but highly acidic foods such as coffee and tomatoes break down our tooth enamel. Dark foods also stain your teeth. If you can’t bear to skip your morning cuppa, brush your teeth immediately or at the very least, chase your drink with a glass of water.

Change your toothbrush. Toothbrushes are havens for bacteria. Swap out your toothbrush every two to three months. If you’re concerned about the waste, look into a recyclable toothbrush such as the ones made by Preserve.

Eat “cleaning” snacks. Firm, crisp foods such as popcorn, apples, celery, and carrots have a scrubbing effect on teeth. These snacks also won’t stain your teeth or leave a residue in your mouth. As a bonus, they’re full of vitamins and minerals.

Clean your tongue. Whether you use a scraper or simply brush it, cleaning your tongue removes cavity-causing bacteria. Bacteria also contribute to bad breath (halitosis). Ideally, you should scrub your tongue once a day.

Quit using tobacco. If cancer is not enough to scare you away from tobacco, consider the other health effects of its use. Tobacco users experience an increased risk of gum disease and tooth loss. Plus, tobacco decreases our immune response, which increases the chance that an oral infection could be hard to treat.

Increase your vitamin intake. Whether you get your nutrients from food or supplements, look to calcium, vitamin D, copper, zinc, iodine, iron, and potassium for better oral health. Good foods to eat for oral health besides the snacks already mentioned include broccoli, yogurt, cheese, and other dairy products.

For April’s Wellness Wednesday, dentist Dr. Erin Cutler will be at the Co-op on Wednesday, April 10, 2013 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dr. Erin is a native of Kentucky and moved to Ashland about a year and a half ago to join The Lakes Community Health Center, a not-for-profit organization built by and for the communities of Ashland and Bayfield counties.

Over the past year, Dr. Cutler has developed school-based dental programs in the region and really enjoys doing outreach and meeting community members. Please stop by Wednesday, April 10, 2013 to meet her and bring any questions about oral health and hygiene, prevention or diet. Oral health is a part of whole body health!