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.
The first step to understanding fluoride is to grasp that teeth are dynamic, and constantly lose and regain the minerals that make them strong. When we eat sugars or refined carbs, bacteria in our mouths produce acid which removes minerals from the surfaces of our teeth and eventually causes decay. Fluoride is a mineral that can stop, and even reverse, tooth decay.
“Fluoride slows down the bacteria, it makes the surface [of teeth] more resistant," Price says. "And it heals microscopic cavities before they become real cavities." Price advocates the use of fluoride, as does the ADA, but some health professionals have expressed concerns about overexposure to fluoride, arguing that it can cause pitted enamel.
Credit: Getty Images