By Brittany McGregor
Learning how to care for your teeth is as much important as learning to tie your shoes, counting to 100, and cleaning your room. You brush and you floss. You don’t use your choppers to pop off a bottle cap or to crush ice. It really should be as easy as A-B-C. However, most people still don’t quite understand or have learned everything about teeth maintenance. Here are four interesting facts about your pearly whites that you might not know even if you’re an adult:
1. Your teeth’s bff might not be your toothbrush.
Of course you should be using your tooth-brush and floss every single day, but tooth decay is caused by the bacteria that feeds on sugars from food and drinks. This bacteria, called plaque, sticks to your teeth producing acids that destroy the enamel on your teeth. Enamel is something you need for healthy teeth. Saliva, that trustworthy “bff,” does its job of rinsing out your mouth and neutralize your teeth in that process.
2. Snacking and sipping may be hurting your teeth.
Keep in mind the acids created by the bacteria that attack all the carbohydrates (laden stuff you swallow) are what decay your teeth. It does not matter whether it’s that spoonful of sugar in your morning coffee or the big ol’ sugar cookie you ate before lunch; all acids attack your teeth. The more often you eat sugars and other carbs, the more those acids get a chance to break and chip away at your teeth. It’s better to eat one full meal rather than snacking all day on small stuff.
3. Toothpaste should be spit out, but not necessarily rinsed away.
Why would you want to swallow toothpaste, you might ask? I have no idea considering the fact that it’s awfully gross. But other than that, you could take in too much fluoride. This hints to the reason why the tube says, “do not swallow.” It has been proven that it’s not quite necessary to rinse your mouth afterward. You may rinse, but the longer the fluoride stays in contact with your teeth, the more effect it can have in preventing tooth decay. It’s the same idea as when you go to the dentist and they apply the fluoride-rich gel or paste to your teeth. Your oral hygienist will often tell you to let the gel/paste sit for about 30 minutes.
4. Your teeth can be an indicator of your overall health.
One in seven adults ages 35 to 44 has gum disease. For adults older than 65, there’s an increase to one in every four adults in that age range that has gum disease. That is an issue because tooth decay and other mouth infections may be leading into other health problems such as heart disease, strokes, and diabetes.
Your oral health is one of the most important aspects to your overall health. You only get one set of adult teeth, so try to take proper care of them so they will last a lifetime.