12 Ways to Avoid the Dentist

12 Ways to Avoid the Dentist During a Pandemic

(AscendHealthy.com) – For many of us, dental anxiety ranks high on our list of phobias. Health concerns during the recent pandemic may have made that stress even worse. The silver lining: We have renewed motivation to boost our oral health and avoid dental emergencies. Here are some tips.

Protect Your Teeth by Avoiding These 5 Foods

Some foods may be hazardous to dental health. The American Dental Association warns, for example, that candy isn’t dandy. And although we may feel less stressed after munching our way through a package of chips, those crunchy treats can damage our teeth.

Lower your risk of dental emergencies by avoiding these five foods:

  • Hard candy: Sucking on hard candy exposes your teeth to a constant dose of sugar. Crunch down, and you risk chipping or breaking a tooth.
  • Citrus fruits: Squeezing lemon into your water or eating an orange for a daily mid-morning snack may seem healthy. But too many acidic foods like citrus can erode the enamel on your teeth, making them more prone to decay.
  • Dried fruits: Sticky, dried fruits linger on our teeth, increasing the risk of damage. Trail mixes made with dried fruits have similar risks.
  • Chips and crackers: Crunchy, munch-worthy crackers and potato chips are high in starch. That starch may become trapped between your teeth, causing decay.
  • Sports drinks: Many of us turn to sports or energy drinks on a long hike or bike ride. But these beverages are loaded with sugar, resulting in a constant sugar bath that can decay our teeth.

Protect Your Teeth by Eating These 5 Foods

We might think of brushing and flossing as the only ways to improve our oral care. But some foods can actually strengthen teeth. Healthline recommends improving our oral health by eating foods high in fiber, calcium, and other nutrients.

Five foods that may strengthen our teeth include:

  • Fatty fish: High in vitamin D, fatty fish, such as salmon and fresh tuna, also contain omega-3s. Vitamin D helps to provide our teeth with calcium, while omega-3 fats boost the health of our gums.
  • Leafy green vegetables: Leafy green veggies like spinach and kale contain prebiotics, which provides food for healthy oral bacteria. The minerals in these leafy greens strengthen your teeth.
  • Dairy products: Dairy products, such as cheese, unsweetened yogurt and milk, provide our teeth with calcium and strengthen teeth enamel, says the University of Rochester Medical Center. Cheese helps to produce saliva, which, in turn, reduces the impact of acids on our teeth.
  • Tea: Black and green teas provide polyphenols that help to kill plaque bacteria. Polyphenols also preclude bacteria from creating acids that can damage teeth.
  • Crunchy fruits: An apple a day doesn’t just keep the doctor away: WebMD recommends apples, pears, and other crunchy fruits that boost saliva flow, which help to reduce the risk of tooth decay.

Take These 2 Steps to Good Oral Hygiene

In addition to avoiding some foods and eating others to protect our teeth, there are two important steps to good oral hygiene.

  • Step 1: Flossing pulls out food and plaque trapped between your teeth. It also helps to prevent gum disease, says Healthline. Floss a minimum of once daily, using 12 to 18 inches of floss and moving the material up and down each tooth.
  • Step 2: Brushing your teeth a minimum of twice daily for 2 minutes washes away the food pieces and plaque. Use toothpaste with fluoride to protect your teeth. Brush both the outer and inner tooth surfaces and your tongue.

By avoiding some foods and enjoying others, we can reduce our risks of dental emergencies. More importantly, flossing at least once a day and brushing twice a day keep teeth healthy, giving us all reasons to smile.

~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension

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