Six Dentist-Approved Teeth-Cleaning Hacks For Seriously Pearly Whites
Keeping your smile healthy might seem like a drag at times -- all that brushing, flossing and rinsing. Then there's the bi-annual trip to the dentist. *shudder*
We don't have much choice but to grin and bear it in dentist Giulia D'Anna's opinion.
The founder of iDental told 10 daily that neglecting our dental health can have some severe consequences.
Poor gum health and periodontal disease are closely linked with heart disease -- one study found people who have less than 10 teeth remaining have 7 times the chance of having a heart attack than those people that have 25 teeth or more.
Poor oral health is also linked with diabetes, a higher risk of stroke, respiratory diseases, pregnancy complications, stomach ulcers and dementia. Dementia has been shown to be more common in those with few or no teeth, compared to those with all their natural teeth.
There are some things you can do -- or not do -- every day to keep your teeth and your overall health in tip-top shape.
Crunch on some celery
Chewing celery helps your mouth produce more saliva which in turn prevents plaque acids according to D'Anna. Eating a stick just once a week can help keep your teeth naturally clean -- on top of regular brushing, of course.
Sorry to burst your bubble but the old saying that apples -- and even strawberries -- can help clean your teeth are actually not true.
Both strawbs and apples are packed with naturally occurring sugar called fructose and they both have a pH of about three to four so eating too many at a time can put you at higher risk of decay.
"I'm not saying that we should cut out all fruits, but consumption should be short and sharp," D'Anna told 10 daily. Get your fruit fix in the one sitting, say straight after lunch and dinner -- grazing all arvo will keep your saliva acidic and leave your teeth more vulnerable to decay.
Non-acidic and non-sugary stuff like avocados, cheese, corn or eggs are a-okay to graze on, she said.
Get flossy with water
Water flossers are gadgets that blast debris and plaque from between teeth -- they're like a high-pressure water cleaner for your mouth, D'Anna explained.
They're a great alternative to traditional flossing for people who have difficulty cleaning between their teeth such as older people with arthritis, big hands and little mouths or teenagers with braces.
Say no to sparkling
It may not look particularly harmful, but sparkling water tends to have a pH level between 2.7 and 3.3 -- this gives it a greater erosive potential than orange juice according to D'Anna. So it's best to say no to sparkling.
Same goes for any other type of fizzy drink, too. Not only do they have a low pH -- and therefore are high in acid -- but they're high in sugar as well. "Limit consumption or your risk of decay will skyrocket," D'Anna said.
Remember, even with good oral hygiene people with a high acid intake have a higher chance of decay and wear.
Be careful with that cuppa
Tea lovers had better sit down for this -- your daily cuppa stains teeth more than coffee according to D'Anna. Both black tea and green tea, in particular, are loaded with tannins which are the teeth-staining culprit.
Don't stress too much, however, as these type of stains usually sit on the surface and can be removed by a dentist.
A slice of lemon in tea or a glass of warm water -- which many 'fitfluencers' swear by -- is also a bad idea as yes you guessed it, lemon has a pH of around two. That's marginally higher than battery acid which needless to say can cause acidic wear and holes in our teeth.
"We would never consider starting the day with a Diet Coke, so why lemon juice is being sipped every morning is astonishing," D'Anna said.
Go easy on the ice
Ice is fab in a cold drink but just don't chew it D'Anna warns -- it can cause gum injuries and even broken teeth.
Compulsive ice chewing actually has a name -- pagophagia --and is increasingly considered to be a symptom of anaemia, particularly iron deficiency anaemia. So it might be wise to get your health checked by your GP if you're constantly crunching on cubes.
Keep up the calcium
It's no secret that our teeth love calcium and milk and dairy products are our go-to source. Not only do they contain calcium and phosphorus -- which strengthen and repair tooth enamel -- but also proteins called caseins which combine to form a protective film on the enamel itself.
Calcium also plays a role in making jawbones healthy and strong to hold teeth in place.
Not keen on milk or allergic to it? No worries -- sardines, salmon, kale, broccoli, spinach, nuts, sesame seeds, fortified cereals and beans are all calcium-rich.
Feature image: Paramount Pictures.