I am proud to say that I have all my own teeth at the age of 65. While that may not sound unusual to some people, everyone in my family who is my age or older wears dentures. I always tell people that that flossing is the key to good dental health. I have arthritis in my hands, but I don't let it keep me from flossing every day. My trick is to use those little "flossers" you can buy at the drug store. They have plastic handles floss stretched out on top of the handle. These make flossing easier on days when my arthritis is acting up. I started this blog to let other people know that they can keep their teeth healthy into old age when they take care of them. If you have hand pain, find ways to make flossing easier, like I did.
No matter how old you are, you must never take your oral health for granted. If you have healthy teeth and gums, you will be able to chew your food easier and avoid oral health problems like tooth decay and gum disease. However, even if you brush and floss your teeth every day, you may still be making mistakes that can damage your teeth and gums. Here are six mistakes that could hurt your dental health:
Brushing With Too Much Force
Brushing your teeth might seem simple enough, but you can actually be doing it all wrong. For example, if you are like some people, you may think that you have to brush your teeth with a lot of force to remove all the plaque. Unfortunately, this can do more harm than good. If you brush your teeth too aggressively, you can wear down the enamel and even cause your gums to recede. Remember that gentle brushing will be able to remove the food particles and bacteria from your teeth just fine.
Eating Too Many Sugary Treats
It is okay to have a sweet tooth and enjoy a sugary treat every once in a while. However, if you eat sweets too often, it can have a negative effect on your teeth. After you eat something sweet, the sugar will linger on the surfaces of your teeth for a while, attracting bacteria. That's why you should try to keep sweets out of the house and only have them on special occasions. When you do have a craving for something sweet, remember to swish water around in your mouth afterward.
Not Getting Oral Cancer Screenings
Oral cancer is a serious health condition, and more than 30,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with it every year. When you visit the dentist for a checkup, you shouldn't just get a teeth cleaning. You should also request an oral cancer screening. During this screening, your dentist will check your mouth, cheeks, and neck for lumps and other abnormalities. If oral cancer is detected early, it is much easier to treat.
Using You Teeth as a Tool
How many times have you used your teeth to open up a bag of chips or tear a clothing tag off? Many of us have used our teeth as a tool at one time or another. However, that doesn't mean it's a good habit. Teeth may be hard and strong, but they aren't meant to do anything else than chew food. If you frequently use your teeth as tools, you can eventually wear down the enamel.
Not Cleaning Your Tongue
Brushing and flossing may not be enough to remove all the bacteria from your mouth. It is important to clean your tongue every day too. Food particles and bacteria can accumulate on your tongue throughout the day and eventually migrate to your teeth and gums. If you slide a tongue scraper up and down your tongue a couple of times every day, you can remove all the gunk from it.
Holding Onto Your Toothbrush Too Long
Toothbrushes are not meant to be kept around forever. In fact, you should replace your toothbrush about every three months. If you keep your toothbrush around for too long, the bristles can get frayed and won't be able to remove plaque from your teeth as well.
You only get one set of teeth, so take good care of them. Avoid these common mistakes and visit your dentist at least twice a year. If you notice something abnormal, like a lump in your mouth or inflamed gums, schedule an appointment with your dentist right away. Contact a dental office like All About Smiles for more information.