Achieving Oral Health the Right Way

Working on improving your overall health is an incredibly commendable act. From eating the right foods, to exercising more, to making sure you’re getting enough sleep, small changes in lifestyle add up to big outcomes in health. But did you know that some of the choices you are making could be hurting your oral health? I recently ran across an article in the Huffington Post that was written by a dentist who noticed that some current health trends aren’t exactly ideal for maintaining a healthy mouth. While intentions are usually really great, sometimes we actually do more harm than good. The article listed the following habits that you may want to consider altering.

  • Fruit and veggie smoothies have become a craze with people trying to get in their five servings in one tall glass. While the vitamins and minerals are great for your body, the sugar that ends up coating your teeth is not. The sugar that breaks down in fruit can adhere to your teeth, creating sticky, hard to remove plaque very quickly. Don’t worry though. You don’t have to give up your smoothie habit. In order to minimize the damage, consider sipping water either while you’re drinking your smoothie or immediately after, to help wash away some of the sugar. Additionally, try drinking it through a straw as opposed to simply gulping it. This allows the sugar to avoid a good portion of your teeth all together.
  • Some believe that brushing immediately after eating will keep their pearly whites glistening and healthy. Believe it or not, this isn’t the case, especially after consuming foods and drinks high in acid, like tomato sauce or red wine. Brushing right away can actually push acid deeper into the enamel, doing more damage in the long run. It’s true, the American Dental Association recommends brushing at least twice a day, but ideally you wait 30 to 60 minutes after eating and/or drinking to minimize any negative effects.
  • Recent studies have found that more and more adults are unwinding at the end of the day with a glass of wine. While this habit has been linked to slower aging and has some cardiovascular heart health benefits, that glass of vino may not be optimal for your oral health. Both red and white wine contain acid known to eat away tooth enamel. Not only does this make your teeth more susceptible to decay, it also leaves them more vulnerable to staining. On the contrary, a recent study has found that there are actually some oral health benefits to consuming red wine (read about it here). Again, sipping water during or afterwards will minimize the negative effects.

Striving to achieve the highest level of health possible is definitely a worthwhile endeavor. But sometimes if we don’t educate ourselves on the best practices, we can actually do more harm than good. Just keep trying, keep reading, keep moving, and keep dreaming, and all of the hard work will eventually pay off. Live happy, live healthy.

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