A smile is one of the first things that people notice about you, so it’s important to keep your pearly whites healthy. But, did you know that your oral health could also be a lifesaver?

Here are the best habits to maintain your teeth, your breath – and why this will help you stay healthier, overall.

Have Good Timing

Wait at least 30 minutes after eating to brush your teeth, as brushing can accelerate the damage which plaque-produced acid does to your teeth, like eroding enamel and the layer below it, called dentin. Your dentist will tell you to brush and floss consistently to prevent gum disease and keep your teeth strong, but you can also be smart by replacing your toothbrush every 3-6 months, because most start to lose their effectiveness at that time.

Along with brush timing, the longer you avoid alcohol, which can dry out your mouth, and sugary foods, which feed the plaque that causes damage, the less likely you’ll experience any major problems in oral health in your life.

Choose Your Snacks Wisely 

The more you eat, the more you expose your teeth to oral decay, so experts recommend limiting snacks in-between meals, and sticking to a healthy diet.

Certain foods can also promote oral health, for example:

  • Cheeses, chicken or other meats, nuts and milk protect tooth enamel by providing calcium and phosphorus required to re-mineralize teeth
  • Black and green tea have compounds called polyphenols that help slow the growth of bacteria associated with cavities and gum disease
  • Crunchy foods – like fruits and vegetables – have a high water content, which can dilute the effects of sugar and increase saliva to help wash away food particles and buffering acid

Scrape The Surface Daily

To minimize foul-smelling breath, research shows using a tongue scraper can be even more effective than a toothbrush in remove bacteria, food debris, fungi, toxins and dead cells from the surface of your tongue.

Listen To Your Mouth

Finally, your oral hygiene is critical, because it can help ward off other medical disorders. Studies show a relationship between gum disease and stroke, heart disease and preterm low-birth-weight babies. Additionally, studies show that oral infection, especially periodontitis, may affect a number of systemic diseases like cardiovascular disease, bacterial pneumonia and low birth weight. In fact, the first signs of any problem could lie in your mouth. Your mouth can tell you what’s going on, if you know what I mean.

Be careful not to get carried away. Over brushing can lead to sensitive teeth and receding gums. Aggressive brushing won’t add any extra benefit to your teeth, so stick with the smart, gentle, healthiest habits for your health.