6 things you didn’t know about healthy teeth and gums

6 things you didn’t know about healthy teeth and gums
Image Credit: Steve Snodgrass/Flickr

We’ve all got the lecture from our dentist about the importance of brushing and flossing our teeth properly.

But Michigan dentist Dr. Susan Maples – who wrote ‘Blabber Mouth! 77 Secrets Only Your Mouth Can tell You To Live A Healthier, Happier, Sexier Life’ (I swear that’s the title) says there’s a lot of sizzle and no steak to many of the claims about oral health these days.

Read more: Why you should never wash your dishes by hand

Here are six things you might not know that can keep those pearly whites pearly – or at least from falling out.

  • Mouth rinses: Maples says alcohol present in a lot of mouth washes -is a preserving agent that can actually cause oral cancer.  Also, stay away from mouthwashes that claim to make you teeth feel smooth as they contain a detergent that coats the plaque and debris trapping it underneath the slick. And finally: no mouthwash whitens teeth in 30 seconds. So don’t believe those claims.
  • Tooth lightening: Chasing an unceasing bright smile can damage pulp and cause teeth to die, Maples says. Avoid one-hour laser or light therapy because it dehydrates the teeth. The best results come through bleaching with custom trays only available through your dentist.
  • Soft tooth brushes: Make sure you always choose soft bristles to avoid traumatizing your gums. Scrubbing with a medium or hard bristle brush can make the gums recede from the teeth, Maples says.
  • Gum examinations: Your dentist should provide a thorough periodontal exam at least once each year that includes “pocket” measurements using a probe around the cuff of each tooth. Periodontal disease is the top reason adults lose teeth.
  • Let ‘em bleed: Don’t let a little blood keep you from flossing. Bleeding is a natural response, Maples said, when you clean inflamed gums. The bleeding will subside as the bacteria load is cleaned up.
  •  Sensitive teeth: Don’t freak if a tooth develops cold sensitivity. This situation often heals itself. Toothaches stimulated by heat or biting pressure can mean you need a root canal.

Read more: Medical alert: Diagnostic codes undergoing sea change!

For more healthy money-saving advice, see our Health section.

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