If one thing is true, it’s that while rules aren’t always meant to be broken, mistakes are meant to be made. After all, we all slip up once in a while, and when we do, we often learn something from the experience.
However, our mistakes only offer some value when we are actually aware of them and take the right actions to avoid making them again and again.
Making the occasional mistake with your oral hygiene may not seem like a very big deal, but they actually might have a larger impact than you think.
Here are the 5 most common oral hygiene sins and how they really affect your overall health.
The reason that this particular oral hygiene mistake is so common is simple; it’s one of the least obvious! While munching on the wrong snacks or skipping your nightly brushing are well-known hygiene no-no’s (and we’ll cover those in just a moment), not drinking enough water way not be such an obvious problem for your teeth.
Being dehydrated is like taking your ticket to clean, healthy teeth and cutting it in half! Staying properly hydrated helps keep your saliva flowing sufficiently, which washes away food particles and bacteria that may lead to tooth decay later on. Plus drinking lots of water is fantastic for your overall health.
2. Only Skipping the Sweets
Everybody knows that sweet and sticky food are a magnet for bacteria that bring about cavities. However, sweets are definitely not the only harmful food you should avoid for the sake of your pearly whites.
Focusing too much on this solitary good oral hygiene habit and believing it to be enough is another common mistake people make, which leads to tooth and gum disorders. There are many other eating habits that you should be incorporating into your daily routine:
- Chew sugar-free gum if you can’t brush after a meal.
- Sip some water after each meal. Swish it around a bit.
- Avoid crunching on popcorn kernels or ice, which could damage teeth.
- Eat your fruits and veggies! The minerals and vitamins they contain can strengthen your teeth.
- If you do get tempted by caramel turtles or sweet, sugary Smarties, indulge in them after a meal- not alone. Eating a balanced meal may reduce the acid producing mouth bacteria that wear away enamel and leave you vulnerable to cavities and decay.
3. “Forgetting” to Floss
Flossing isn’t really fun. In fact, it can be downright painful for some dental patients, depending on any preexisting conditions that they may have-like gingivitis or tightly-packed teeth. However, flossing does 40% (almost half!) of the work necessary to remove plaque and bacteria from teeth for a clean, healthy mouth. Furthermore, not flossing leaves 2/5 of the tooth’s surface unclean and at risk for decay.
If that’s not enough to convince you of its importance, flossing is key for preventing gum disease, which may erode the very bones that support the lower third of your face over time. Fortunately, there are a variety of floss styles to suit a wide variety of dental conditions, so take the time to test them out and seek the one that suits you best.
Your oral health is not isolated. It is the window to your body’s health overall, and it affects so much more than the aesthetics of your smile.
Taking the time to learn from your oral health mistakes and try out the solutions offered here could make the difference between having your own healthy smile into old age or losing all your teeth because of mistakes that could have easily been avoided.