Whether you’re on the lookout for your own oral health or the health of a little one in your household, there’s a lot to learn about what’s in your mouth.
While it might seem as simple as brushing and flossing at first glance, there are a lot of hidden secrets, tricks, tips and techniques you can employ when it comes to keeping your teeth as healthy as possible.
While you may already know a few of these points, some might be completely new to you — but it’s never too late to start taking care of your dental health.
Just like other medical industries, dental knowledge and technology are ever-evolving. When you commit to learning over time and updating your habits based on what you know to be best for your health and that of your family, you might notice all kinds of positive changes. Here are just a few things you may want to know about your dental health.
1. Gums Should Never Bleed
While there has been debate and a few rumors over the years that some bleeding is normal when flossing or even brushing, or that bleeding is only a problem if it’s painful, your gums should actually never bleed. If they do, it’s a sign of something gone awry — and while it may not be a huge health risk, it’s still worth looking into.
While gum bleeding can point to gum disease or gingivitis, it could also indicate brushing and flossing too aggressively. Some medications can even cause bleeding of the gums — especially blood-thinning medications. If you notice regular bleeding, you should speak to your dentist.
2. You Shouldn’t Brush Too Hard
Some say there’s no such thing as brushing your teeth too hard or too aggressively, but most professionals disagree. As mentioned above, brushing your teeth too hard can cause gum bleeding and associated discomfort. It can also lead to tooth sensitivity and erode the enamel.
If you’re finding frequent discomfort in your gums or excessive fraying of the toothbrushes you use, that could be a sign of aggressive brushing.
3. Crooked Teeth Can Cause Issues Over Time
Orthodontia and dentistry are two different things, but they do have some overlap. While many view orthodontia as a purely aesthetic process, the evidence actually suggests otherwise. Crowded or crooked teeth can create tighter spaces between teeth and block proper flossing and brushing, which can lead to tooth decay, gum disease and bacteria buildup.
It might not always be easy to tell when a child — or teen or adult — needs braces, but overcrowding, crooked teeth, overbites, underbites, pain and discomfort are all telltale signs that some work may be in order.
4. You Can’t Floss Too Often…
If this list has proven anything so far, it’s that going overboard, even on the good stuff, can cause damage to your oral health. Shouldn’t the same apply to flossing? Well, the answer may surprise you.
Although dentists recommend flossing once a day, you can absolutely floss more than that if you feel you need to — especially if you find something stuck in your teeth.
5. …But You Can Floss Too Hard
Just because you can floss as often as you need, however, doesn’t mean you should go crazy right away. Like with most things, there is a right and wrong way to go about flossing. If you floss too hard, it can cause damage to your teeth and gums. Remember that flossing should never hurt or feel aggressive and painful.
6. Your Gums Can Tell You a Lot About Your Health
While your gums play a vital role in your oral and dental health, they also go far beyond. Gum health is actually linked to many functions throughout the body, and it can therefore tell you a lot about your overall health. While a lot of the links aren’t exactly proven or reliable all of the time, they can still provide a bit of insight.
Taking a look at your gums can often lead to answers about heart health, risks of diabetes and risks of strokes, especially in older adults. While correlation doesn’t always equate to causation, it can often help catch things early.
7. Fiber Is Good for Your Teeth
While people talk a lot about foods that are bad for your teeth, it’s less often discussed what foods are good for your teeth. Aside from calcium and protein, there are actually a lot of foods that are good for oral health, and fiber is one of the top contenders.
Specifically, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables can help teeth stay clean, as fiber is a natural salivant and helps to fight tooth decay. Although you should brush after eating sugary foods, finding fiber-rich produce definitely has upsides.
The More You Know, the Cleaner Your Teeth
Information is often changing and evolving, especially in all areas of health and wellness. But when you make an effort to care for your teeth, the hard work and attention will show in your overall health, as well as your sparkling smile.