Confession time: My teeth aren’t the greatest. I’m sometimes very self-conscious about how yellow, chipped, crowded, and spaced they are. In fact, I often whiten my teeth in photos I post on this blog of myself (though not in this post for integrity purposes). I am not a very vain person, as I do not normally care about appearances (I’m a jeans, T-shirt, ponytail, shower 4 times a week kind of gal) but my teeth still bother me even though I love my big, toothy smile, the smile that my husband fell in love with. Ultimately, it’s my overall oral health and hygiene that get to me as my teeth are very cavity-prone.
I have had several fillings over the years and every time I go to the dentist they find a new one. I really don’t like going to the dentist and don’t go as often as I should.
So, in the meantime, I know I really need to improve my oral health. I need to be more diligent about what I eat, how often I brush and floss my teeth, and whether I rinse with a mouthwash.
When it comes to oral health, half the battle is simply in what you eat. Sugar is your tooth’s enemy, and I, unfortunately, have a sweet tooth.
Thankfully, about a year ago we made a conscious choice to stop buying the really sugary sugar cereals (Lucky Charms, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, etc) and go with things like plain or honey-nut Cheerios, Raisin Bran, and Honey Bunches of Oats. However, I have this bad habit of adding a little bit of sugar on top. And little did I know, but those delicious raisins in my Raisin Bran can also contribute to tooth decay even though the milk on my cereal is believed to protect my tooth enamel. Unfortunately, I think the sugar is probably winning the battle. I know there is still much I can do to improve my oral health by the foods I eat.
The following are food/drinks believed to be good for my teeth as they neutralize acids and stimulate saliva:
- Other Meats (tofu, fish, beef)
- Firm/Crunchy fruits (apples/pears)
- Vegetables (crunchy/watery ones and spinach, leafy greens)
- Sugarless Gum
The following are food/drinks believed to be bad for my teeth, because they are sticky and create a breeding ground for bacteria:
- Hard Candy (including cough drops)
- Citrus Fruits
- Potato Chips
- French fries
- Other dried fruit
- Soft Drinks
- Sweetened Tea
I have a long way to go when it comes to eating better, because my wants and my reality don’t always come together. And it’s silly because I know that those sticky, sugary foods are bad for my teeth, and the rest of my body. They are the foods that make my teeth hurt, that get stuck in my molars and that I feel damaging my enamel.
Improving My Oral Health by Brushing and Flossing
Every time you go the dentist it’s like going to confession; you have to admit to your sin of poor oral health practices, as you know what you were supposed to do between your dental visits. So, subsequently you get reprimanded and told to do as the dentist says, again. And there is no use lying: they know the truth.
So, no, I don’t brush my teeth two times a day, every day, or floss every day either. Gosh, now I just admitted that to the whole world, not just to my dentist. I can see your perfect teeth judging me!
Okay, but really, brushing your teeth in the morning and the evening is the best for your teeth as is flossing once a day. I have been doing much better lately about flossing. For a while I was doing it a few times a week, which is pretty awesome for me.
I use an electric toothbrush and some high quality toothpaste, and spend a good amount of time brushing, always brushing before bed. But, I need to get myself back to the bathroom after breakfast to brush my teeth, because, if though I like to think so, eating breakfast doesn’t really get rid of the bad morning breath, or the bad teeth, especially when it’s cold (sugar) cereal I’m eating every morning, as I pointed out above.
Improving My Oral Health with Listerine Mouthwash
I have very rarely used mouthwash in my life. But, I was recently given a bottle of new Chevron-patterned Listerine Total Care, Fresh Mint Mouthwash, and have been diligently using it both at night and in the morning! I don’t know if the cutesy purple chevron design, only available for a limited time at Target, shouting out to me, that I must use it, that’s been doing the trick to have me brush and rinse after breakfast or the fact that Listerine is the #1 dentist recommended brand for a cleaner, healthier mouth. The design is adding a little personality to my morning routine.
And after a few days the strong burning alcohol sensation becomes weaker. And I notice my breath not being so vile in the mornings, something my husband lovingly likes to tease me about (because he has never had a cavity or braces – lucky duck!). I also do feel like my teeth feel stronger and certainly fresher. Guess that’s why the flavor’s called Fresh Mint. There are three other flavors in the newly designed bottles for Target too – Cool Mint, Arctic Mint, and Fresh Citrus.The good news is that you, too, can improve your oral health by eating better foods, drinking better liquids, brushing and flossing more often, and rinsing with Listerine Mouthwash. Try out one of the four flavors (or all four!) of Listerine’s newly designed bottles and Save Now with Target Cartwheel – a whole 10% off! And don’t forget to combine that with other manufacturer or store coupons for even more savings, including using your Target RedCard.
But, tell me, honestly, do you have good oral health, or do you stand in need of improving your oral hygiene like me? Do you avoid certain foods because of your teeth? And do you like and use mouth wash?