In the US, 87% of adults say that bad teeth can have adverse effects on one’s personal and professional life. Despite that, more than half of them admit to not having visited the dentist in the past year. In addition, more people prioritized car repairs (62%) over dental cleanings (51%).
True, optimal oral hygiene habits are necessary to prevent most teeth imperfections. However, to get and maintain perfect teeth, you also need to check in with your dentist at least twice a year.
The big question now is, what exactly are these habits that will help you get better, healthier teeth?
We’ve rounded up some of the best ways to keep your pearly whites in perfect condition, so be sure to read on!
Getting Perfect Teeth Starts With Knowing How They Can Get Flawed
The most crucial step on how to have perfect teeth is to know how your pearly whites can get flawed. By learning the causes of oral health issues, you can gain a better understanding of how to prevent them.
With that said, here are some of the most common culprits of bad teeth and unhealthy gums.
At least 700 various bacterial species live in the oral cavity. Most of them are beneficial, as they promote the generation of saliva. Saliva, in turn, helps you keep your pearly whites strong by giving it minerals ions like calcium.
However, many of these microorganisms are also “pathogenic.” The most common way they harm the teeth and gums is by creating plaque.
Plaque is the translucent layer of sticky (and gross) film that forms on the teeth surfaces. The bacteria that it contains digest and convert sugars in the mouth into acids. These acids, if given enough time to stay on the teeth, are strong enough to dissolve the teeth enamel.
According to scientists, it takes minutes for plaque to form around natural teeth. However, they can begin creating colonies within two to six hours.
That’s why oral health care experts recommend brushing and flossing at least twice a day.
Unremoved plaque hardens into a crusty layer called “tartar” or “dental calculus.” It often settles near the bottom area of the lower teeth, causing discoloration there. It usually appears as a yellowish (sometimes even brownish) section near the gums.
Tartar bonds firmly to the teeth, so brushing alone won’t remove it. You need to see a dentist for its proper and safe removal, which requires special dental tools.
You should get rid of dental calculus as soon as possible, not only because it can discolor your teeth. Tartar also makes it harder to get rid of new plaque formations. It also gives bad bacteria more hiding places, further increasing your risk of decay.
Researchers estimate that at least 4.5% of the population experience dental trauma. These include injuries like chipped, cracked, broken, or knocked-out teeth. Accidents are among the leading causes of such damages to the teeth, gums, and mouth bones.
Malocclusion is the medical term for teeth misalignment problems like crookedness or overcrowding. They can also lead to improper bites such as overbites, underbites, and crossbites.
The appearance alone of misaligned teeth is one of the top reasons people want to get perfect teeth. Looks aside, though, malocclusion can also make you more prone to dental trauma. A bad bite, for instance, can place unnecessary stress and force on your pearly whites.
Did you know that tobacco cigarettes contain at least 7,000 different chemicals? The effects of these substances on the body worsen when they get burned. The smoke itself discolors the teeth, but it can also lead to gum infection.
Smoking is also one of the biggest modifiable risks when it comes to periodontal (gum) disease. For example, scientists found that 15.6% of smokers had gum disease. In non-smokers, gum disease was only present in 4.9%.
Thread Out the Plaque and Food Debris First
Now that you know what can make your teeth less than perfect, let’s talk about flossing habits.
Researchers found evidence that flossing before brushing reduces more plaque. In participants who followed this method, the interdental plaque also had more fluoride.
All these show that flossing before brushing provides a better way on how to get perfect teeth.
The idea is that when you floss before you brush, you can remove more plaque stuck between the teeth. You can also get rid of food debris that has lodged in the tighter crevices of the mouth.
Tooth bristles alone often can’t reach these super narrow areas of the teeth. They may also push these decay-causing stuff deeper into the teeth and gums.
So, when you floss first, you’re able to penetrate these more-difficult-to-access areas. The dental thread can dislodge plaque and food debris that toothbrush bristles can’t.
In contrast, flossing after you brush may spread “left-over” bacteria all over the teeth. From there, they can have more chances to wreak havoc on your pearly whites and gums.
Boost Brushing Time to Two Minutes
A study found that the average American spends only 45 seconds brushing their teeth. Unfortunately, it takes twice longer than that to remove adequate amounts of plaque. When you brush for least 120 seconds, you can get rid of 26% more of the decay-causing stuff in your mouth.
To make it easier to remember, do a mental count while you brush your teeth. According to this Boise family dentist, you should clean each area of the mouth for no less than 10.9 (or 11) seconds. So, for your future brushing sessions, count from 1 to 11 before moving to the next section of the teeth and gums.
Increase Your Water Intake
Drinking fluoridated water has shown to lower risks of dental decay by 30% to 60%. It does so by helping the teeth develop a higher resistance to acids, such as those from plaque. In addition, fluoride helps discourage the growth of bacteria in the mouth.
It’s because of this that you should drink more of that fluoridated tap water. You can also supplement your fluoridation by brushing with a fluoride-containing toothpaste.
Note that a home water filtration system may remove a lot of the fluoride content of tap water. In this case, you should consider asking your dentist about fluoride treatments.
Say Hello to Your Dentist at Least Twice a Year
As crucial as at-home oral hygiene practices are, they may not be enough to get perfect teeth. For starters, brushing and flossing (even the right way) often don’t get rid of all formed plaque. That’s why many people still end up with some tartar.
As such, one of the most crucial steps on how to make your teeth perfect is to see your dentist every six months. This way, your dentist can perform a thorough cleaning of your teeth and gums. Also, keep in mind that removing tartar requires tools that only dentists can use.
In addition, routine dental check-ups allow your dentist to detect problems right away. A close-up examination of your teeth can reveal the early signs of tooth decay. The same goes for a thorough inspection of your gums.
From here, your dentist can provide early treatment that can lower your risks of decay and gum disease.
Remember: tooth decay and gum disease both have irreversible effects. For example, it’s often not possible to recover significant lost enamel. Severe periodontal disease also often require surgical procedures, such as gum grafts.
Another reason to see your dentist regularly is to track changes to your bone structure. Your teeth may have moved so much that they’re now at risk of becoming misaligned. In this case, your dentist may be able to prevent more movement with the use of orthodontics, such as braces.
Consider Orthodontic Treatment
Speaking of dental braces, did you know that one in every five orthodontic patients is an adult? That means that age doesn’t matter when it comes to getting perfect teeth!
Granted, younger patients do have shorter orthodontic treatment times. That’s because their teeth are still developing, so they’re easier to move. However, adult teeth are still movable, so you can still get straighter teeth no matter how old you are.
Don’t Delay Getting Damaged Teeth Restored
Even the smallest tooth crack can get bigger and ultimately lead to decay if not fixed right away. A chip is even worse, as it can already expose the more sensitive inner sections of the tooth. Bacteria can invade these openings and, over time, eat away at more enamel.
If you bit into something hard that it cracked your teeth, don’t postpone a visit to your dentist. Your dentist can patch up those damages right away, helping you achieve perfect teeth.
For minor damages, sealants or fillings can already do the trick. For more significant breakages, crowns or veneers may already be in order.
Follow These Tips Now for Healthier and Stronger Teeth
There you have it, your ultimate guide on how to get perfect teeth and keep them from getting flawed. As you can see, it all starts at home, with your personal oral hygiene habits. For the best results, however, you should also see your dentist at least twice a year.
Ready for more useful guides like this? Be sure to follow Luxe Beat Magazine then so that you can stay updated on the latest health and lifestyle news!