Don't fret brothers! In Part 2 of HealthKey.com's look at dental health and hygeine for men, we'll tell you everything you need to know to prevent and treat gum disease. The good news is that most cavities are easily preventable and early stages of gum disease are mostly reversable. All you need is the discipline and committment to take better care of your teeth.
- Have your teeth checked and cleaned at least twice a year, more often if your dentist recommends it.
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day with flouride toothpaste, if possible after every meal. Use a soft-bristled brush. Be sure to clean the inside surfaces of the teeth (the side closest to your tongue) as well as outside surfaces. Relace your toothbrush every three months or whenever the cristles fray.
- Floss every day. Plaque usually builds up along the gum line (where the teeth and gums meet) and in-between the teeth. Your toothbrush can take care of the gum line, but it can't get tot he spaces between the teeth. Dental floss can. If you aren't sure how to floss, your dentist or hygienist can show you.
- Brush your tongue or use a scraper to remove the bacteria that gathers towards the back of your tongue.
- Eat crunchy foods like apples and carrots. They actually help reduce plaque buildup on the surfaces of the teeth and may even help reduce coffee stains.
- Avoid sugary snacks and soft drinks between meals. These foods quickly convert to plaque. If you crave something sweet, try a piece of fruit instead.
- Drink lots of water. Salive helps reduce plaque by washing it away. But age and some medications may make your mouth dry and more susceptible to plaque buildup, tooth decay and gum disease. Chewing sugarless gum is one way to produce saliva.
- Don't smoke or chew tobacco. Besides staining your teeth, it can cause bad breath and lead to oral cancer.
- Avoid chewing hard candies or anything else that might damage your teeth.
- Protect your mouth. In many sports there is a risk of mouth injuries (from pucks, balls, racquets and elbows).You can reduce the chance of doing long-term danage to your teeth by always wearing a mouth guard.
- If you have dentures, most of the suggestions above apply to dentures as well as your natural teeth.
Be aware of other potential dental problems as well.
If your teeth are sensitive to hot or cold, it can be a sign of diseased or receeding gums. When the gums receed they expose the root, which is extremely senitive to temperature changes.
Basd breath, also known as halitosis, can be caused by smoking, eating spicy or aromatic foods, or poor brushing technique. But if you have persistent bad breath that remains after brushing or using mouthwash, it could be a sign of a sriosu dental or medical problem.