Did you know that healthy teeth are more than just a social asset? Just think of all the world’s healthiest, most disease-fighting foods which tend to be crunchy (think fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts) and they require a good set of teeth to eat them. When teeth hurt your diet goes downhill.
Healthy gums guard against major health problems, too. A growing stack of research shows that even low-level gum disease revs up your immune system around the clock, fueling the chronic, low-level inflammation that contributes to clogged arteries, high blood sugar, and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.
Teeth go through life, too, and they age just like the rest of the body. So taking care of them is very important at any age.
Here are some things to do today to keep your teeth as young as you keep your body!
Brush up your expectations
Many people believe that tooth loss is inevitable with age. This is entirely untrue. We can keep our teeth healthy for a lifetime.
Faithfully follow the basics
Unless you’ve been on a deserted island for the past 30 years, you’ve heard this a million times: Brush twice a day and floss once a day. There’s no better way than that to care for teeth and gums.
Brush along to your telephone’s timer (or egg timer if you still have one!)
Two minutes of brushing, with light to medium pressure, is the most effective way to remove the most plaque. Longer and harder actually is not better – in fact, it may damage your gums as well as the softer, thinner enamel on the sides of your teeth.
To prevent overzealous brushing, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and hold it like a pencil, moving it in circles rather than up and down. Think “sweep” rather than “scrubbing.”
Invest in a floss holder or use disposable floss picks
A disposable one-use holder or disposable floss picks are all good choices. Floss once a day – it will take the plaque and leftover food that a toothbrush can’t reach. Be sure to rinse afterwards.
Clean your tongue, too
Use your toothbrush or a special tongue scraper to gently remove filmy material from your tongue. One study of 51 sets of twins by the New York College of Dentistry, twins who added tongue brushing to the tooth-cleaning and flossing routine reduce gum bleeding by 38 percent after just two weeks- and had less bad breath.
Schedule dental cleanings and checkups the day before your birthday and again on your “half-birthday”.
Your smile will be whiter in pictures, and you’ll cut you odds of developing gum disease in two was. First, Professional cleanings remove calculus – hardening plaque that can make gums recede – even better than brushing and flossing. Second, your dentist will have a chance to check for signs of gum disease.
Turn in earlier – and stop smoking
Japanese factory workers who slept seven to eight hours per night and didn’t smoke cigarettes were less likely to have gum disease than those who snoozed for six hours or less, say researchers. Those who didn’t smoke and controlled their stress had better oral health, too. The connection? Lack of sleep, high stress, and smoking all lower immunity, giving infection under the gum-line free rein.
So, remember to take care of your teeth just as you take care of your body for Long Life Living.
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