Valentine’s Day is right around the corner.
St. Valentine’s Day started as a religious feast and transformed into a day when people express love for each other with candy, flowers, and valentine’s cards. That tradition came from England in the 1700s and remains the focus of our Valentine’s Day celebrations today.
Love, romance, and lots of chocolate and candy! You can look forward to a nice meal from your spouse or significant other, maybe even a proposal. The day is about love, but one important factor you must take care of when indulging in goodies is your teeth.
Oral Health Tips for Valentine’s Day
When eating that box of chocolate or candy, don’t forget that acid is produced each time bacteria come in contact with the sugars in your saliva. The acid attacks your teeth for at least 20 minutes and destroys enamel. Current recommendations say that you should not brush your teeth for at least 30 minutes after eating; you will push the acid around your mouth.
Most people don’t realize that your tongue needs regular cleansing, just as much as your teeth – so show it some TLC. The tongue is the place where bacteria like to hang out, and those bacteria are the ones that cause bad breath. Brush from the back to the front. You can use your toothbrush or get an actual tongue brush, which will work.
Flossing may seem to be a drag, but it is extremely important. You are preventing gingivitis and periodontal disease by reaching the bacteria in your gums. As I have written in past articles, these bacteria are also connected to heart disease, diabetes, and different cancers.
Freshen Your Breath
And, for the most important part of the day – The Kiss. You need to make sure that your breath smells great!
Make sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Water keeps your mouth moist and washes away all the odor-causing microbes. In the past, we have said to drink at least eight glasses a day. There is no hard data on the origin of that number. It may come from the same place as 10,000 daily steps. The point is drinking, and complete hydration is good for us, and each one will know his optimal number of glasses of water.
Vitamin C & Probiotics
Certain fruits also contain essential vitamins that promote healthy teeth and gums. Vitamin C is a natural neutralizer for odor-causing bacteria. In addition, apples help generate saliva and assist in plaque removal from around your teeth. Less plaque means fewer bacteria. Bad breath can also start in the stomach, where bacteria are in your gut. If there are too many “bad bacteria,” the smell can go back to your mouth. Eating yogurt with probiotics will help kill the bad stuff.
February is also American Heart Month
In keeping with the theme, February is also American Heart Month. As such, we also would like to focus on those matters that affect our hearts. Heart disease is a broad term referring to those problems that affect arteries, valves, heart rhythms, and more. Those who follow my column read about the relationship between oral health to heart issues. I believe in a plant-based diet emphasizing proper nutrition and plenty of activity, sometimes called exercise. To eat nutritiously, you need teeth functioning the way they were designed.
There’s Nothing Like a Healthy Smile
Last week was Ground Hog’s Day, and February is a short month. We are in for a warmer week, so let’s get out of the winter blues and focus on taking charge of our health.
Diet, professional check-ups, and teeth cleaning will pave the way to an exciting energy renewal in Spring.
Nothing exudes energy better than a great smile! Now is a perfect time to call for a wellness visit with us. Please call Joyce, and we can look at you and ensure that all is good or, if not, guide you in that direction. Call me at 440-892-1810, and let’s meet.
Jeffrey Gross, DDS, FAGD, is an Ohio-licensed general dentist and is on the staff of Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine.