Caring for Your Teeth and Gums
Eating Right for Dental Health
For good dental health, eat a variety of foods, but minimize those that contain sugars and starches. These foods produce the most acids in the mouth and the longer they stay in the mouth, the more they can damage the teeth. Hard "sucking candies" are especially harmful because they stay in the mouth a long time.
Snacking on sugary foods can lead to tooth decay, because most people don't brush after snacks. Starchy snack foods, like potato chips, stick to the teeth. Avoid snacking on:
- Candies, cookies, cakes, and pie
- Sugary gum
- Crackers, breadsticks, and chips
- Dried fruits and raisins
Visit Your Dentist Regularly
Visit your dentist at least once every six months. To maintain healthy teeth and gums, it's important to have regular check-ups and professional cleanings. You should also see your dentist if you have pain in your teeth or mouth or bleeding, swollen gums.
You can also ask your dentist about dental sealants. Sealant is a material used to coat the top, chewing surfaces of the teeth. This coating protects the tooth from decay and usually lasts a long time, but can only be placed on a tooth without decay. It is usually placed on children’s teeth as they get their permanent teeth.
Tips for Rinsing
In addition to the above four steps above, antibacterial mouth rinses reduce bacteria that cause plaque and gum disease, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). Fluoride mouth rinses also help reduce and prevent tooth decay. The ADA does not recommend fluoride mouth rinses for children ages 6 or younger, because they may swallow the rinse.