Most of us are familiar with the expression “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and maintaining good oral health is certainly worth the effort. Are you doing all you can? With more evidence pointing to the connections between oral health and overall health, here are five easy oral health tips to help you look and feel your best.
1. Need motivation to floss? Make it a party.
While you’ve probably seen articles describing the health benefits of flossing your teeth, you may still be wondering about the best way to establish a nightly routine. One way to do this is to floss with someone else in your household. Flossing usually takes just a few minutes from start to finish, and a nightly “flossing party” can make it less of a chore. If you live by yourself, flossing while you tune in to your favorite TV show, movie, or music is another option.
2. Want to breathe more easily? Park your tongue in the right spot.
Did you know that your tongue could hold the key to easier breathing? Nasal breathing is critical to your overall health, and positioning your tongue correctly is part of this. With your lips closed and teeth slightly apart, park the tip of your tongue lightly on your upper palate, just behind your front teeth. Nestle the back of your tongue against the roof of your mouth, inside the arch of your teeth. This helps you to keep your upper palate stretched, supporting your jaw joints and making your breathing easier.
3. Have meetings after lunch? Use dental picks first.
Whether you enjoy sandwiches, burritos, or salads for lunch, on more than one occasion you’ve probably found yourself needing to clean your teeth afterward. Sometimes rinsing vigorously with water will do the trick, but what to do when you cannot easily floss or brush, and there are food particles that won’t budge from between your teeth? Dental picks to the rescue! They’re easy to carry, easy to use, and available in supermarkets and drugstores. Using a dental pick to clean between your teeth after a meal also provides you the benefits of fresher breath and reduced risk of bacteria buildup, which can lead to gingivitis.
4. Flying on a long-haul? After you make your exit, help oral bacteria to make one, too.
Eating processed food and breathing dry, recycled air on commercial flights—especially long flights—can increase bacteria in your mouth. While your in-flight dining options may be limited, you can help protect yourself by cleaning your teeth as soon as possible after landing. Floss your teeth if you possibly can, and brush them for two minutes. You’ll refresh yourself in the process!
5. Playing contact sports? Contact your dentist for a protective mouthguard first.
If you participate in sports—especially contact sports—you can protect your teeth and gums from injury by choosing the right mouthguard. At Winchester Dental, we offer both over-the-counter and custom mouthguards. We can determine the right option for you, and if a custom mouthguard is best, we will fit you for an appliance that will help you protect your smile and optimize your breathing for improved athletic performance. We’re rooting for you!