You’re on your last set of teeth.
There’s not a third row coming.
You’ve known this your whole life but give it about as much thought as those leftovers in the back of your fridge (side note, here’s a reminder to toss that fuzzy lasagna).
Luckily, with a bit of easy effort, there really isn’t anything to worry about. You can keep this last set of teeth healthy for many years to come.
Tip # 1: Stop Relying on Your Toothbrush
Your toothbrush is exhausted. You’re putting all the pressure of keeping your oral health in tip top shape on a tiny tool that can only do so much.
When it comes to disrupting plaque buildup, that bristly buddy of yours is the man for the job.
When it comes to cavity prevention, you’ll need a bit more help than he can provide.
Tip # 2: Know Your Sources of Acid
Acid is the tooth-dissolving substance that not many people are aware of but should be. It’s the actual culprit behind all those cavities.
You’re getting acid on your smile in two ways:
- The foods and drinks you consume – think coffee, citrus fruits, tomatoes, sour candy, etc.
- Bad oral bacteria, like Streptococcus Mutans, that eat leftover bits of starchy foods and sugary carbs. These suckers then produce an acidic waste that wreaks havoc on your smile.
Tip # 3: Bring on the Saliva
Saliva gets a bad rap. It’s often associated with drooling while you sleep and spitting on the ground like a darn-tootin’ cowboy.
However, saliva is your body’s anti-cavity superhero! One of saliva’s main jobs is to neutralize acid in your mouth.
It also helps sweep away food debris. And, to boot, your saliva is packed full of minerals your teeth need to rebuild.
Tip # 4: Eliminate Acid-Producing Bacteria
And by eliminate, we mean a beat-down level annihilation.
The S. Mutans bacteria in your mouth love all those tasty carbs you eat (as stated above). Luckily for you, they love an ingredient called xylitol even more.
When xylitol is present in the mouth these bacterial baddies will go to town on it. Unluckily for them, they cannot digest the xylitol and end up dying off.
Killing off these bacteria means less opportunity for acid attacks to your smile.
Tip # 5: Give up Alcohol-Based Mouthwashes
Sure, alcohol mouthwashes make sense. They’ve basically been around since dinosaurs roamed the earth. And, we all know that alcohol kills off bacteria. Good, right?
Not so much.
You still want your oral flora to have good bacteria. Using alcohol-based mouthwashes kills these good guys off, too.
By opting for an alcohol-free mouthwash, especially one powered by xylitol, you’re allowing the good bacteria on your smile to thrive, while keeping those other baddies at bay.
Tip # 6: Get Serious About Your Gums
With all this talk of teeth and bacteria, it’s easy to forget about how important your gums are to oral health and overall health.
Good teeth need a good foundation. This is one of the main reasons your dentist is always yammerin' on about flossing.
The mechanical process of flossing helps to open up pockets of bacteria hiding deep in between your teeth and gums, remove pesky bits of food, and stimulate the gums to receive better blood flow.
From string-around-the-fingers to floss picks and now water flossers, you've got a lot of flossy options to choose from.
Tip # 7: Get Serious About Your Gum
Sure, that double-bubble-toil-and-trouble gum you’re used to smacking on all day is tasty and sweet, but it isn’t doing much to help your smile.
As mentioned earlier, xylitol, a natural sweetener, is an ingredient that helps limit your exposure to acid.
Tip # 8: Get a Toothpaste That Does the Heavy Lifting
Most conventional toothpastes only use fluoride to protect teeth. While it’s a nice gesture, a toothpaste can be much, much more than this.
Finding a toothpaste free of sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) can help reduce your risk of canker sores. Who doesn’t want that?
Additionally, your typical off-the-shelf toothpaste is sweetened with sugar alcohols or filled with chemical concoctions (or both).
Getting yourself a toothpaste powered with xylitol will give you even more of a leg up on cavity-prevention.
You’re Exactly Where You Need to Be.
Seriously, good oral health should just be as easy as throwing leftovers in the fridge and never, ever, ever thinking about them again