There's no shortcut to oral health. Setting aside a few minutes at both ends of our day to brush and floss your teeth is the only way to maintain your smile. "There are dental implants to be sure, but you're not going to get a chance at another set of teeth," says Richard H. Price, a spokesperson for the American Dental Association. "This is it."
Over time, our dental education tends to fade from memory (what is fluoride again?) so it's important to remind yourself how critical caring for your mouth is and how painful oral issues can be. Here are 10 ways to keep your teeth healthy so that you can keep them as long as possible.
Make the Most of Mouthwash
Most of us grab mouthwash to tame bad breath, but that's like buying an iPhone just to make calls. It can do so much more! According to the American Dental Association, mouthrinses can help control and event prevent tooth decay, reduce plaque, and prevent gingivitis, which is an early stage of gum disease. They can also help to slow the rate at which tatar, or hardened plaque, collects on the teeth. Here's a quick rundown of which ingredients to look for:
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- Antimicrobial agents target bacteria to reduce plaque, decrease gingivitis and freshen breath.
- Fluoride helps make teeth more resistant to decay.
- Astringent salts are deodorizers that mask bad breath. It's a temporary cover-up, so don't rely on these too heavily.
- Odor neutralizers "chemically inactivate odor-causing compounds," says the ADA.