How to take care of your teeth

Lesotho Times - - Health -

TAK­ING care of your pearly whites isn’t rocket sci­ence, but it’s easy to slip into habits that could cause heartache — er, toothache — in the long run. We got the lat­est on giv­ing your teeth the TLC they need from two New York City pros: Alice Lee, DDS, an as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor in the Depart­ment of Den­tistry for Mon­te­fiore Health Sys­tem, and Ali­son New­gard, DDS, an as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of clin­i­cal den­tistry at Columbia Univer­sity Col­lege of Den­tistry, will clue you in on where you could be go­ing wrong. Mul­ti­task­ing while you brush Ev­ery minute in the morn­ing feels pre­cious, so it’s tempt­ing to brush your teeth in the shower or while scrolling through your Twit­ter feed. “To each his own,” says Dr New­gard, “but I pre­fer pa­tients to be in front of a mir­ror, over the sink; you can be sure to hit all the sur­faces of your teeth, and you’ll do a more thor­ough job when you’re not dis­tracted.” Bet­ter to leave the bath­room a few min­utes later hav­ing given proper at­ten­tion to each step of your prep. Over­clean­ing your tooth­brush Think­ing about run­ning your brush through the dish­washer or zap­ping it in the mi­crowave to dis­in­fect it? Think again: While we’ve all seen those sto­ries about tooth­brushes har­bour­ing gross bac­te­ria, the CDC says there’s no ev­i­dence that any­one has ever got­ten sick from their own tooth­brush. Just give your brush a good rinse with reg­u­lar old tap wa­ter, let it air-dry, and store it up­right where it’s not touch­ing any­one else’s brush. More dras­tic clean­ing mea­sures may dam­age your brush, the CDC notes, which de­feats its pur­pose. Us­ing so­cial me­dia as your den­tist The web is full of weird and (seem­ingly) won­der­ful DIY den­tal tips that can hurt much more than they’ll help. Read our lips: Don’t even go there. “I’ve heard of pa­tients who go on Pin­ter­est and find ways to whiten their teeth there — by swish­ing with straight per­ox­ide, for ex­am­ple—which are not good for their teeth,” Dr New­gard says. “Use ap­proved prod­ucts that have been tested.” (An­other on­line tip to skip: try­ing to close up a gap in your teeth with DIY rub­ber band braces.)

Stor­ing your wet tooth­brush in a travel case

It’s im­por­tant to stow your brush some­where san­i­tary be­fore you tuck it into your lug­gage for a trip — and equally im­por­tant to set it free once you un­pack. “Bac­te­ria thrives in moist en­vi­ron­ments,” says Dr Lee. “While you should use a cover or case dur­ing trans­port, make sure you take your tooth­brush out and al­low it to air dry when you reach your des­ti­na­tion.” No standup holder in your ho­tel room? If you’ve got a cup for drink­ing wa­ter, that’ll do just fine.

Hang­ing on to tongue or lip pierc­ing

Self-ex­pres­sion is well and good, but when it takes the form of a tongue bar­bell or lip ring, it can come at a high price. “I’ve treated pa­tients who frac­tured or chipped their teeth from bit­ing on their pierc­ings,” Dr Lee says. “I’ve also had pa­tients with gum re­ces­sion and other soft-tis­sue in­juries from their pierc­ing rub­bing against ten­der ar­eas of the mouth.” Had your pierc­ing for ages with no trou­ble, you say? Just wait: Stud­ies have shown that your risk of den­tal prob­lems from tongue and lip pierc-

that ings gets worse the longer you have them. Drink­ing ap­ple cider vine­gar Ac­cord­ing to as­sorted Hol­ly­wood celebri­ties and nat­u­ral health ex­perts, drink­ing un­fil­tered ap­ple-cider vine­gar can have nearmirac­u­lous ef­fects on your in­sides. Re­search doesn’t sup­port those claims, but den­tists are sure of one thing: The acetic acid in the vine­gar is ter­ri­ble for your tooth enamel. When it comes down­ing ACV (as pro­po­nents call it), Dr New­gard says, even a good rinse with wa­ter af­ter­ward might not mit­i­gate the quaff’s po­ten­tial dam­age: “I just think you shouldn’t use it at all.” (Our sug­ges­tion: In­stead of drink­ing ap­ple cider vine­gar straight, try it in a vinai­grette, or use it to soothe sun­burn or get chlo­rine out of your hair.) Ditch­ing your re­tainer If you once had braces, whether as a teen or as an adult, it’s smart to keep wear­ing your re­tainer for as long as your or­tho­don­tist rec­om­mends — which may mean sev­eral nights a week, for­ever. “A pa­tient will have per­fect teeth from braces,” Dr New­gard says, “and then they won’t wear a re­tainer at night and their teeth will shift and they’ll be un­happy all over again.” Honor thy ado­les­cent self, and keep those teeth in line for good. (Got a fixed re­tainer? Be sure to keep the de­vice clean: “They can be plaque traps,” Dr New­gard says.)

Brush­ing morn­ing OJ

Like to start your day with a glass of orange juice — or oh-so-trendy lemon wa­ter? Brush­ing right af­ter­ward can wear away your enamel. “The acidic en­vi­ron­ment weak­ens the teeth enamel and ero­sion can oc­cur dur­ing this vul­ner­a­ble pe­riod,” Dr Lee says, “so neu­tral­ize your mouth first by drink­ing milk or wa­ter, or rins­ing with a bak­ing soda so­lu­tion — or just wait­ing 30 min­utes.” The same goes for vom­it­ing, Dr Lee says, since that’s acidic, too. (Gross but true!) If you’ve thrown up, be sure to rinse be­fore scrub­bing out your mouth. — Ya­hoo Health


af­ter your

Ditch th­ese bad habits to get stronger teeth and a bet­ter smile.

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