Everyone has likely heard of the dental tips of avoiding or limiting the amount of sugar and acidic foods one consumes and the importance of twice daily brushing and at least once a day flossing.
These dental tips are crucial in preventing tooth decay and gum disease, but we have some additional dental care tips that you may or may not have heard that can reduce some of the stress and confusion associated with correct oral care:
- Visit the dentist every 6 months. Every dentist will tell you this, but it isn’t so that we get your money. Dentists have the tools to more thoroughly clean your teeth than what you can do at home. We are teeth specialists so we can readily detect tooth and gum problems better than you can. We can even catch the beginning of gum disease or tooth decay even if your teeth and gums look and feel great. Regular dental check-ups can allow us to catch and treat potentially serious oral health conditions such as oral cancer before it progresses and causes serious problems.
- Don’t over-whiten. While a sparkling, bright white smile is seen as the ideal standard of oral beauty, over-whitening your teeth can cause damage to your teeth and gums. While the occasional teeth whitening is safe, whitening your teeth too often can destroy tooth enamel and gum tissue making them more susceptible to decay and cause uncomfortable irritation.
- A proper bite is more important than perfectly straight teeth. Many parents rush to get their kids and teens fitted with braces or retainers if even just one tooth is slightly out of alignment. Orthodontic work is only necessary if chewing and speaking are impaired, teeth are too crowded or spaced out increasing the risk of tooth decay or if gum disease is detected. Everyone’s mouth is different and if teeth are out of alignment, but proper, normal bite functioning is well and no disease is detected, don’t mess with it.
- Proper, at-home dental care is crucial in preventing tooth decay and gum disease. The daily routine of brushing and flossing is the best way to keep your mouth healthy. Plaque accumulates on and around teeth over time, which makes daily cleaning important in preventing plaque and tartar build-up which can cause tooth decay. Proper oral hygiene consists of brushing for 2 minutes, using a soft brush that is replaced every 3 months and ADA approved fluoride toothpaste.
- Stock-up on vitamins and minerals, especially calcium. Your teeth need the same fortifying vitamins and minerals as your bones do. Calcium and Vitamin-D packed foods such as broccoli, cheese, yogurt and milk strengthen your teeth. Vitamin B helps keep your gums strong and healthy. Iron, iodine, zinc, copper and potassium are also great nutrition for your teeth and gums.
- Your overall health and dental health are interconnected. While a healthy mouth is a good-looking one, it might not be enough motivation to take the time and effort to take adequate care of your teeth and gums. Knowing that gum disease and tooth decay can lead to heart problems and that diabetes can manifest itself in the form of cavities and gum disease, may be the extra motivation needed to take care of one’s mouth, and subsequently one’s overall health. A healthy mouth, and therefore, a healthy body means less medical costs and an improvement in how one feels.
- Don’t forget your tongue. No matter how meticulous you brush your teeth, it can be for naught if you ignore the germs that accumulate on your tongue. After eating and drinking, your tongue’s surface gets covered in the same germs as your teeth. When the tongue isn’t brushed and cleaned, the germs on its surface can circulate in the mouth and land on teeth. A clean tongue means cleaner, healthier teeth and fresher breath.
- Start children early. Begin taking your child regularly to the dentist by the time they are one years of age. Begin brushing their teeth as early as possible (a damp washcloth can be used on babies to clean the gums) before allowing them to brush their own teeth. Once they are ready to brush their own teeth, teach them proper brushing and flossing techniques. The earlier a child sees the dentist, the less fear and anxiety they will have and the earlier they are introduced to daily brushing and flossing, the easier it will be for them to make oral hygiene a natural habit.
- Rinse or chew sugarless gum after eating and drinking. Most people brush and floss their teeth in the morning and at night. The only problem is that we eat during the day between these cleanings. This means if the mouth isn’t regularly cleansed, cavity-causing plaque can build up, making it more difficult to remove it all when brushing and flossing. Rinsing the mouth out with water or by chewing sugar-free gum will keep the accumulation of germs and plaque at bay between brushings.
- Ease up on the snacking. The late-night snacking or the yummy chocolate candy bar that serves as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up may momentarily satisfy your cravings, but they leave destructive plaque behind. The negative impact of snacking during the day can be minimized when immediately followed by a water mouth rinse or chewing sugarless gum as mentioned above. Night time snacking, while it can be followed up with a water rinse, it most likely won’t be followed by teeth brushing. These food particles will then have all night to sit and decay.
We hope these dental tips have provided you with additional food for thought when caring for your oral health. Macaluso DDS is an experienced dentist in Houston, Texas who is dedicated to helping patients maintain their beautiful, natural smiles.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment or to learn more about the ways you and our staff can work together to help you get that healthy, bright smile you’ve always wanted.[/fusion_text]