We all know the basics of oral hygiene, but there are many dental facts that are lesser-known and can be very helpful to have in your arsenal! While there are countless bits of information regarding oral health that directly impact your daily life, here are five interesting facts that you are probably unaware of, yet have the potential to de-rail even your best efforts at taking care of your mouth:
1. If you drink 3 more glasses of soda daily, you are 62 percent more likely to have tooth decay. Phosphoric acid, the acid used in soft drinks, is also used in industrial cleaners. Bringing this acid into contact with your teeth on a consistent basis will always lead to massive erosion. If you think you are safe because you only drink one medium cup-size daily, think again! 24 ounces is 3 cups, which is the size of many medium drinks at restaurants. Try to avoid sugary beverages altogether, and opt for water instead. Not only will you stay steer clear of decay caused by a sweet tooth, but you will stay more hydrated as well.
2. Brushing only cleans about 60 percent of the tooth’s surface area. Do not neglect flossing! The only way to effectively clean your entire tooth is to both brush and floss regularly. If you floss correctly, you should be able to reach all around the sides of the tooth, which accounts for about 40 percent of the surface area. Only cleaning a little over half of your teeth will definitely take its toll over the course of many years, so it is never too early to get into the habit of flossing every day.
3. Flushing the toilet will infect your toothbrush with bacteria if it is kept close-by. When you flush, bacteria goes airborne and can travel up to six feet! Tiny particles of fecal matter are sprayed into the air and will land on anything in close proximity. For sanitary purposes, keep your toothbrush far away from the toilet area. Better yet, close the toilet lid when you flush.
4. On average, most people only spend about 45-70 seconds brushing their teeth. The recommended time is two minutes, and for good reason! That amount of time (twice daily) is necessary to thoroughly clean off all of the food debris and bacteria, along with flossing once daily. People often find that their teeth look considerably whiter after just committing to brushing for the full two minutes. When you only brush for half of the recommended time, not only are you giving decay a chance to do its damage, but you are also allowing more surface stains to stay on the enamel.
5. “White tongue” happens when the small bumps on the tongue’s surface become inflamed. When this happen, debris such as food and dead cells is able to collect in the spaces between. Scrubbing the area with salt should kill the bacteria and remove the debris, but if you notice that the whiteness is not going away, make a dentist’s appointment. Oral thrush or something more serious might be the culprit.
Arming yourself with as much dental knowledge as possible has rewards beyond just gaining a list of interesting facts. Because oral health directly impacts so many other areas of your body, its important to take the time to consider every aspect of how you are taking care of your mouth. That seemingly insignificant bit of information might just help you avoid a major health scare one day!