Smile Healthy in 2018
After a delightful holiday season indulging in delicious family recipes and altering our routines to visit loved ones, many of us start thinking about how to get back on track or be healthier in the New Year. We would like to give you some tips on how to take better care of your oral health this next year and every year thereafter.
1. Brush your teeth. Twice per day, everyday. Seems simple, but many people don’t brush twice per day, as recommended. Cavities form when acidic bacterial plaque is not adequately removed from the tooth surfaces by mechanical forces regularly.
2. Brush your tongue. The tongue has many tiny spaces around the papillae, which can house plaque as well. Don’t forget to brush the tongue during your tooth brushing routine. For enhanced tongue cleaning methods, try a tongue scraper. This is very helpful in preventing halitosis (bad breath)!
3. Consider an electric toothbrush. The ultrasonic movement of the bristles gives a more effective clean. This is especially helpful for the young and the elderly, who may have trouble with the dexterity required for brushing.
4. Floss in between your teeth. This is a tough one (mentally) for people to add to their routine, but trust us, it’s worth the extra effort. Toothbrush bristles are too big to remove bacterial plaque from crevices between the teeth. Flossing at least once per day will help prevent cavities in between your teeth, which is the most common area adults need fillings.
5. Rinse with water after consumption. If you are not able to brush your teeth after a snack, meal, or beverage, rinse with water. This can help buffer any acids in the mouth and rinse away food debris.
6. Consider a toothpaste with fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral that can help strengthen the teeth to prevent decay and remineralize areas that are breaking down. Ever been told that you have a “starter cavity” or “watch spot”? These are areas that benefit from fluoride the most. The use of fluoride in controlled doses can reverse the process of tooth decay in its initial stages. Want to learn more about how fluoride can be used safely? Visit: http://www.ada.org/en/member-center/oral-health-topics/fluoride-topical-and-systemic-supplements
7. Eat foods that are good for your teeth. Nutrition is a major factor in the development of tooth decay. Do your part to minimize your risk by:
a. Limiting added sugars to the diet
b. Drink plenty of water
c. Eat a variety of foods from each of the 5 major food groups
d. Limit the number of snacks you eat between meals
8. Have regular dental exams & cleanings. Over time, the proteins in our saliva contribute to the hardening of bacterial plaque, which then becomes calculus or tartar. Professional removal by your hygienist is critical to the maintenance of healthy teeth, gums, and bone. Even those with the most impeccable oral care habits still have anatomical and genetic factors that can lead to dental disease, which should be screened routinely.
9. Maintain overall health. The health of the oral cavity and the rest of the body are connected. Stay tuned for future blog posts on this topic.
10. Smile. Smiling is good for the soul. We want to help give you confidence in your smile through obtaining and maintaining oral health throughout your lifetime. See you at your next dental visit!
Written by: Dr. Carly Peterschmidt