Whether you don’t have dental insurance, you harbor a secret dentist phobia, or you just aren’t a fan of sitting in that uncomfortable chair, there are a lot of reasons to hate the dentist. We all know it’s important to go, of course. Not only can regular dentist visits prevent future tooth and gum problems, but the state of our mouths often represents the state of the rest of our bodies. For example, there’s a correlation between gum disease and heart disease, making it all the more important to take care of your mouth! Luckily, there are a few cheap and easy tricks, you can make the dentist’s office a less gruesome place– or even avoid future dental agony if you can’t go in for regular cleanings.
Floss and brush your teeth regularly
This one should go without saying, but the best thing you can do to prevent mouth troubles is to clean your teeth and gums every day. You may want to consider an electric toothbrush, which can be up to 50 percent more effective at removing plaque than a manual toothbrush. And if you’re the type of person who hates flossing, learn some tricks to help make it less unpleasant. Effective brushing and flossing may be the most important factors in eliminating awful dentist visits.
Avoid acidic and highly sugary foods
It’s true that sugar feeds the bacteria munching on your teeth, but acid can be another painful culprit. Acid erodes the enamel on your teeth, exposing it like a buffet for bacteria. Combining sugar and acid, for example with lemonade, can be the ideal combination for the bacteria in your mouth. Acid can be found in some surprising places, too, such as coffee. If you do indulge in acidic foods, rinse your mouth with water afterward, or better yet…
Use a mouthwash containing xylitol
Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that has a great reputation in the dental world. It helps strengthen teeth, change saliva’s pH level, and repel bacteria from tooth enamel. Some experts even claim that xylitol can help rebuild enamel. It is commonly found in many types of mouthwash and toothpaste, but it’s best to check the label to be sure. Be careful not to swallow too much xylitol, however! Even though xylitol is safe to eat, it can have a laxative effect. Just ask anyone who’s ever eaten too much sugar-free candy.
In an ideal world, we would all go to the dentist every six months, like we’re supposed to. In reality, however, a lot of things can get in the way of that. Whether you can’t afford to go to the dentist or you can’t summon up the courage to go, these tricks can help you avoid painful tooth and gum problems in the meantime. And if or when you’re lucky enough to be able to make it to the dentist, they can make the whole experience less traumatizing.