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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

Seven habits to help keep your teeth healthy

Mansi Seth, Hindustan Times   July 01, 2014
First Published: 17:28 IST(1/7/2014) | Last Updated: 17:52 IST(1/7/2014)

Not only does a radiant smile make you look gorgeous, but it also indicates that you are at the top of your health. But, surprisingly, very few people take dental hygiene seriously, and most of the time, dental issues are overlooked until a visit to the dentist is inevitable. But you can do a lot of good to your teeth by keeping a few simple tips in mind.

1 Mind what you eat
http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2014/7/teethimg1.jpgIf you are addicted to chocolate, have a lot of rich, spicy gravies, drink a lot of red wine and black tea, chew ­tobacco, paan or smoke, your teeth will end up getting stained. Give up your bad ­eating habits, and make sure you brush your teeth immediately after having food and drinks that stain your teeth. Cut down on acidic fluids such as aerated drinks and packaged soft drinks. Food acids dissolve the minerals in your tooth enamel, which lead to pits and cavities. Also avoid gummy ­candies that stick to your tooth.

The two-times two minutes rule
Brush your teeth twice daily, once in the morning and once before you hit the bed. To get rid of all the bacteria-packed plaque from your mouth, you need to brush for at least two minutes. Use your watch, set a timer or find your favourite tune that lasts about two minutes and hum it to the end.

Be gentle
If you use force to remove plaque, you will end up damaging your tooth enamel. Place your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle against your gums and move it in a circular motion gently, instead of a back-and-forth motion. Also, change your toothbrush every three months. Using the same toothbrush for a long time makes bristles harsh, which may hurt your gums.

Have a cup of tea every day
The compounds in black tea also kill bacteria that cause gum diseases. But make sure you have tea without sugar, or use a healthy sweetener. Cutting down on sugar helps stop build up of oral plaque that leads to bleeding gums and tooth decay. The acid in refined sugar also erodes tooth enamel.

Be kind to your teeth
Teeth are meant for chewing food. They are not tools to help you open bottles or tear packets. Also, don’t chew on food that is meant to be sucked at. And don’t bite into hard food items such as candy or ice, as it could fracture your tooth enamel, resulting in cracks.

Go for alcohol-free mouthwash
Pick up a mouthwash that is alcohol-free. Most mouthwashes that you buy off the shelves have too much alcohol, which dries out your mouth tissue, making you prone to bacteria. Research also suggests that mouthwashes containing alcohol increase the risk of oral cancer.
   
7 Don’t skip check-ups
 If you notice a cavity, have dental pain or bleeding gums or experience sensitivity, see the dentist. You will be able to save your tooth at the right time. Also, routine dental check-ups should be no longer than every six months. 

Natural remedies
* Orange has calcium that helps build stronger teeth. Rub your teeth with the white portion of the orange peel to reduce yellowness.
* Carrots contains Vitamin A, which strengthenstooth enamel.
* Chewing roasted coffee beans helps lessen toothache and fights bad breath.
* Chewing apple produce saliva in mouth which reduces tooth decay. It has malic acid that whitens teeth.
* Chewing herbs such as rosemary, thyme and mint help keep teeth white and fight odors.
* Milk, cheese and yoghurt help reduce odour-causing hydrogen sulfide and cut back on mouth bacteria. Calcium also makes your teeth stronger.

(Inputs by Dr Praveen Kumar, Max Hospital, Delhi, and Dr Ekta Chadha, Smile Studio, Delhi)


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