This awesome post was written by Dr. Kimberley Dyoco, an avid dental health blogger who enjoys sharing her expertise and knowledge on a variety of publications. Check out her website, Facebook and Twitter!
Many healthy habits that have long-term benefits are pretty time-consuming.
Working out, preparing healthy meals and getting plenty of sleep requires a serious commitment of both time and energy.
Of course it’s all worth it to maintain your health, but it’s easy to see why so many people let these healthy habits slide from time to time.
Ready for some good news?
Maintaining your dental health is about as low maintenance as it can get. A few minutes a day can literally be the difference between keeping your own teeth for life or getting dentures when you’re older.
Doesn’t Everyone Eventually Need Dentures?
It may have once been the norm for older folks to lose some or all of their teeth and need dentures. But with modern dental care and what we know about regular oral health maintenance, it is absolutely possible to keep your own teeth for all the days of your life.
Having your own pearly whites as an older person, however, doesn’t just happen by luck. If you want to hold onto your teeth as you age, you must make a conscious choice and commit to a few healthy habits that are proven to work.
Your Recommended Routine
Most of us lead very busy lives, so sometimes something as quick and simple as brushing or flossing your teeth can feel like an extraneous chore you just don’t have time for. That’s why you may want to start thinking of it in terms of this question: Can I afford 6 minutes a day in exchange for keeping my own teeth? Because that’s really all it takes…
Morning: Brush your teeth for 2 full minutes. If you don’t have an electric toothbrush with a built-in timer, just use a stopwatch app on your phone or a standard kitchen timer to keep track. Always use a soft-bristled brush and a gentle jiggle motion in one spot before shifting over to the next spot.
Night: Brush your teeth for a 2 full minutes just as you did in the morning. Then, take out the floss and get to work cleaning between your teeth. There is simply no replacement for this important task, so it must be done diligently every night. Make sure that your time is well spent by using proper techniques that effectively scrape the plaque and debris from between teeth and under the gum line.
2-minute morning brush + 2-minute nighttime brush + 2-minute nighttime flossing = 6 minutes per day.
Before you say you don’t have the time, ask yourself how long you spent scrolling Facebook or watching the latest Netflix drama.
What Else Can You Do?
6 minutes a day on dental hygiene in exchange for keeping your own teeth isn’t so bad, right? Sticking to this routine will significantly lower your risk of developing serious dental problems later in life, but there are some other steps you can take to seal the deal…
A Healthy Diet
One of the key components of good oral health is also one of the most important factors for overall health. A smart diet that is made up of lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and protein is beneficial to your teeth and your whole body. It’s also critical to minimize sugar and simple carbohydrates to avoid premature tooth decay.
Twice Yearly Visits
Going to the dentist might not be your favorite activity, but having a checkup and professional cleaning every 6 months will help ensure that these visits are simple and easy. When you avoid your dentist for too long, there’s a much greater risk that minor issues will develop into serious problems that require treatment and result in permanent damage to your teeth and gums.
Lastly, if you ever feel pain or detect anything out of the ordinary with your mouth, you should visit your dentist as soon as possible. Ignoring a problem will only make it worse, thus increasing the chance of damage that can’t be undone.
What’s the Alternative?
If you decide that dental care is not your thing, you should be prepared for a few things…
- You will likely develop dental issues that worsen over time and then rear their ugly heads in painful ways that can’t be ignored. The necessary treatments for these issues can be time-consuming, expensive and sometimes painful.
- You may be at an increased risk for developing health problems like heart disease, diabetes, dementia, all of which are linked to poor oral health.
- According to research, over 10% of adults aged 50-64 have none of their own teeth remaining, and people that age have lost an average of 10 permanent teeth. Obviously tooth loss is quite common, but it is even more common for those who do not maintain dental health consistently.
These are not meant to be scare tactics, but simply to remind you that you shouldn’t take your teeth for granted.
Your own pretty, pearly whites may be here today, but if you don’t commit to good health habits, they may not be here for all of your tomorrows.
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