Avoid sugary sweet snacks and smoking
Throwing back a full-calorie Coke during your cigarette break isn’t part of a balanced diet. But in addition to cavity-causing sugar, the acidic nature of sodas — even diet ones — can erode a tooth’s enamel. Lighting up will turn that enamel a repulsive shade of yellow, possibly cause oral cancer and shave about 14 years off your expected life span. No joke.
Eat teeth-strengthening foods
Not all foods spell trouble for your teeth. Dairy products, for example, are loaded with calcium, which strengthens a tooth’s outer coating of enamel. Onions, on the other hand, have sulfur compounds that fight bacteria.
Don’t brush right after eating
This one goes against better judgment, but it turns out that brushing after eating can remove more than just the remnants of your midday meal. Without waiting at least 30 minutes, layers of precious enamel can go bye-bye, too.
White your teeth twice a year
A daily dose of coffee and tea can result in some serious staining. Fortunately, at-home whitening systems have come a long way since the days of gunky pastes and plastic trays. They’re affordable, easy to use and totally effective.
Use a tongue scraper
Bacteria buildup on your tongue might be the reason. Rather than just moving that stinky sludge around your mouth with a toothbrush, use a tongue scraper to completely remove it instead.
Keeping your toothbrush in the bathroom makes sense. But the warm, moist environment is ripe ground for germs. Add that to a few miscalculations at the toilet and, well, you get the point. Luckily the solution is simple: Rinse your toothbrush with warm water after each use and tuck it away in a cabinet or drawer in an upright position so it dries out completely.
Visit a dentist twice a year
Almost everyone needs a deep-down professional cleaning two times a year. Indeed, a lucky few can get away with one visit, and those prone to periodontal disease need to go more frequently. But a biannual visit is the benchmark for most. You’ll be able to fix minor issues, prevent major problems and, best of all, leave with squeaky-clean teeth.
Floss three to four times a week
Flossing isn’t about removing food particles. It’s actually about removing plaque — the substance responsible for cavities, gingivitis and eventually tooth loss. A decent job runs about three to five minutes, but even just 60 seconds of string work can have enormous benefits. Just be aware that if you happen to bleed in the process, your body is telling you it’s time to let a dentist do some digging.
Brush at least twice a day
Brushing is by far the single most important thing you can do to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Upgrade your gear by investing in a high-powered mechanical toothbrush, and then make a habit of spending at least two minutes with it both in the morning and at night.