Many of the common dental issues and problems such as cavities, gum disease and teeth discoloration are easily preventable with good oral hygiene. And when you think of preventative dental care, you probably envision daily teeth brushing. While teeth brushing is an important part of dental care, it is only one part of it.
Great preventative dental care may require more time and effort, and even some anxiety. Both at-home dental care and regular visits to the dentist office are necessary in ensuring healthy teeth and gums.
What are the things you can do to give yourself a healthy smile which significantly decreases your risk of getting common dental problems? Here are some suggestions:
Brush Your Teeth
You may be thinking that it’s a no-brainer that proper preventative dental involves brushing one’s teeth. But did you know that there is a proper and improper way to brush one’s teeth? Most people know to brush their teeth twice a day, but one would be surprised to know that vague guideline isn’t enough to ensure healthy teeth and gums.
Each time you brush your teeth, you’ll need to brush for two minutes, which is roughly the length of an average song. An easy way to track two minutes, other than setting a timer, is to sing the “Happy Birthday” song three times slowly.
It’s important to also use toothpaste with fluoride and to use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Your toothbrush should be replaced every three months.
Flossing isn’t fun for most people. It is tedious, taking a few minutes. Some are fearful of the idea of flossing down below the gumline, not wanting their gums to bleed.
Flossing, however is necessary as the dental floss can reach in those tight spaces around and between teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach.
Without flossing, food particles that can’t get dislodged with teeth brushing will remain and get broken down by enzymes in the saliva. This breakdown of food particles releases an acid that breaks down tooth enamel which paves the way for cavities and gum disease.
See the Dentist Regularly
Every dentist recommends their patients to come in every six months for a check-up and dental cleaning for good reasons. A lot can happen in your mouth and to your oral health over the course of six months. Patients who have already been diagnosed with cavities, gum disease or other oral issue can experience a rapid worsening of the condition without proactive, preventative dental health care and continuous monitoring and treatment by a dental professional.
Dentists have the knowledge and technology to spot and diagnose oral health conditions that the average patient would easily overlook. A dental profession will also be able to notice when the condition is worsening. Dentists also have teeth and gum cleaning tools and equipment that provide a deeper, thorough clean that one can’t achieve with at-home preventative dental care.
Watch Your Lifestyle Habits
Certain lifestyle choices, such as smoking or chewing tobacco and certain drinks and foods can lead to plaque build-up and stained teeth. Tea, coffee, and soda can stain teeth. Citrus, simple-carbohydrates foods such as white bread, cookies, and crackers, candy and popcorn can easily leave pieces of food particles on and between teeth that can decay and form plaque.
Great preventative dental care is more than just brushing your teeth twice a day. Flossing, lifestyle and diet choices, and seeing the dentist every six months are also needed.
If it has been longer than six months since your last dental appointment, you could be putting your oral health at risk. Twice yearly check-ups will help give you a bright and healthy smile.