Brushing your teeth is part of everyday life, whether you’re a fan of the task or not. That’s why knowing tips on how to get through your day with a clean mouth can do more than give you a healthy smile. The American Dental Association (ADA), recommends brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time. There are benefits to brushing twice a day, and consequences if you don’t.
What Happens to Your Teeth During the Day
During the day, plaque, which contains bacteria, builds up on your teeth. This can lead to tarter, a hard substance that makes teeth challenging to clean and causes inflammation of your gums. Eventually, you can develop cavities and gum disease if these issues aren’t dealt with, which is why brushing is so important to begin with. When you brush, you’re removing a significant portion of the plaque build-up as well as any food that’s been left behind. While brushing does help, there are other things you can do to ensure your mouth stays clean throughout the day when you don’t have a toothbrush handy.
Eat and Drink with Your Teeth in Mind
Certain food and drink can be problematic for the health of your teeth, especially the enamel. Whether it’s staining, weakening, bacteria-causing, or another issue, knowing some potential culprits can make that in-between brushing time less stressful on your teeth.
- Sugary food and drinks give the harmful bacteria that live in your mouth something to feed on, creating acids that break down the enamel of your teeth and lead to cavities.
- While eating citrus fruits seems healthy, acidic foods erode enamel, making your teeth more susceptible to decay.
- Coffee, tea, and wine stain your teeth, causing a cosmetic issue for most people.
- Sticky foods stay on your teeth longer, causing more damage long term.
- Crunchy chips and other starchy foods can get stuck between teeth easily, and trapped starchy food leads to decay.
- Alcohol and even caffeinated drinks can dry out your mouth. The less saliva you produce, the more tooth decay you’re at risk of having.
Fight Back Against a Dirty Mouth
Besides knowing what food and drink can be harmful to your teeth, it’s also good to know how you can fight back against a dirty mouth. Things like flossing daily, using mouthwash, replacing your toothbrush often, and seeing your dentist are all important, but what else can you do? Here are some top tips to keep that mouth clean in-between brushings.
- Drink plenty of water. Water, like saliva, washes away some of the bad guys. You can also rinse your mouth with water after a meal.
- Avoid frequent snacking, especially on the items mentioned above that are known to cause issues.
- The ADA recommends chewing sugarless gum in-between meals to help loosen and remove some of the trapped gunk.
- Don’t brush right after eating anything that weakens your enamel, like acidic food or drink. Brushing too soon could remove enamel that’s been weakened.
- Use a straw for drinks, especially ones that stain your teeth. It’ll save you some staining, as well as keep more sugars off your teeth.
Clean Mouth, Happy Mouth
When you take advantage of these tips in addition to brushing your teeth as recommended, you’re saving your smile. You’re freshening your breath, preventing gum disease, removing stains, and saving money by reducing dental bills. There are so many benefits to keeping your mouth clean and healthy throughout the day, so it makes sense to take the extra steps to do so.