Healthy teeth are often symbolic of a healthy body and dentists often say that the mouth provides a window to the rest of the body. Maintaining good oral health is not just important to save you from losing teeth or suffering from painful gums or cavities, it’s also essential for good general health, as numerous studies have linked poor oral health to a higher risk of general health problems. Here are 10 simple steps for keeping your teeth healthy.

1. Devote at least 4 minutes per day to brushing your teeth

Brushing your teeth is really important because it removes traces of food and bacteria from your mouth and reduces your risk of decay and gum disease, but it also polishes the teeth, giving them a healthy shine. The teeth should be brushed twice a day for at least 2 minutes each time, preferably with fluoride toothpaste.

2. Keep up with regular check-ups

You should try to go for a check-up at least once every 6-9 months. Dental checks are quick and painless, but they can make a massive difference to your oral and general health.

3. Floss

Flossing is underrated and many people admit that they don’t floss on a regular basis. Flossing is a means of cleaning the mouth in areas that you can’t tackle with a toothbrush.

4. Drink plenty of milk

Calcium is really important for your teeth, bones and nails and it’s essential to take in the recommended daily amount of calcium to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and strengthen the teeth. Good sources include milk, cheese and yoghurt.

5. Protect your enamel

The enamel is the tooth’s protective layer and it’s important to take steps to look after and preserve it, as once it’s damaged it cannot be repaired. You can do this by brushing gently, avoiding acidic foods and seeing your dentist every 6 months.

6. Avoid acidic foods and drinks

Acidic drinks such as juices, wine and fizzy pop, and foods such as salad dressing, erode the enamel, gradually making it thinner and exposing the rest of the tooth to decay and damage. If you are eating something acidic, try to drink water or something alkaline, such as milk, to neutralize the acid and avoid eating between meals.

7. Wait to brush your teeth after eating

After you eat, the bacteria in your mouth feed and this produces acids, which soften your enamel temporarily. It takes time for the enamel to harden again and brushing during this time can cause the enamel to wear away. It is best to wait around 45-60 minutes after eating to clean your teeth.

8. Wear a mouth guard if you are playing sport

Sport is one of the main causes of dental injuries and wearing a protective mouth guard helps to lower the risk of damage to the teeth. Dentists provide custom-made mouth guards for a range of sports, including boxing, rugby union and rugby league, martial arts and hockey.

9. See your dental hygienist

Even if you have healthy teeth and gums, a regular visit to the dental hygienist can be hugely beneficial. Hygienists clean the mouth thoroughly, removing surface stains from the teeth, getting rid of any harmful bacteria and plaque and cleansing the mouth so that the breath smells clean and fresh. You can now make appointments directly with a hygienist, rather than getting a referral from your Sensu dentist.

10. Give up snacking

Many people assume that if they eat a lot of sugar this causes decay, but in reality, the amount of time that your teeth are in contact with sugar is much more important that the quantity you consume. Snacking on sugary foods means that your teeth are always under acid attack, while eating at mealtimes means that your teeth only have to deal with a limited number of attacks throughout the day. We all like a sweet treat now and again, but just make sure that you eat yours after a main meal.