Oral Health Buzz
How to Fight Mouth Germs and Keep Your Smile Healthy
Does the thought of mouth germs taking up residence on your teeth make you feel a little uncomfortable? It should! Masses of harmful microorganisms in the mouth can form plaque, the sticky substance that adheres to the teeth and gumline. Plaque can really harm your teeth and gums. When it isn't removed by regular brushing and flossing, it can lead to cavities and gum disease! Find out what you can do to reduce the amount of germs in your mouth.
Toothbrushing is a powerful tool for fighting germs. At the minimum, brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste; once after breakfast and once before going to bed. There is no harm in brushing your teeth more frequently. You can brush after meals to cut down on plaque formation and to freshen your breath. Spend a full two minutes gently brushing all surfaces of your teeth and your tongue. Use a toothpaste like Colgate Total that is designed to keep your mouth clean and to fight germs.
Bacteria can flourish on your toothbrush as well. Change your toothbrush when it begins to look worn. The American Dental Association recommends switching to a new brush about every three to four months. It is best to leave your bristles in the open air; a closed, moist environment can harbor more bacteria. Also, don't share brushes; it is possible to transfer mouth germs this way.
Don't Forget to Floss
Daily flossing is another important way to keep your mouth clean and healthy. Flossing can help to remove plaque from places that your toothbrush can't reach. Slide your floss in between the teeth. Also clean at the base of each tooth, removing plaque and food debris from underneath the gum line. Learn more about proper flossing technique in the Colgate Oral Care resources.
Your Diet and Mouth Germs
What you eat can also help to support a healthy smile. Eating lots of sugary and starchy foods will increase the amount of sugars that are available for bacteria in your mouth to thrive upon. Try cutting back on sweet treats and snacking on fresh fruits and veggies instead. When eating grains, be sure to choose whole grains.
Take good care of your teeth with daily brushing and flossing. Eat a balanced diet and see your dentist for regular check-ups. Your dentist can check for signs of cavities and gum disease, the dental hygienist can also clean your teeth, removing the plaque and tartar (hardened dental plaque) that is on your teeth. With excellent oral hygiene, mouth germs don't stand a chance!
Source: iStockphoto/Dmitri Mihhailov