Often one of the first things you notice about a person is their smile. A welcoming show of pearly whites makes a great first impression. Healthy teeth and gums are important factors in your overall health, thus staying on top of mouthcare at home is vital. Simply put, if you take care of your teeth, they will take care of you.
The Importance of Dental Health
Dental health is an important factor in our everyday health. Oral health offers clues about your overall health. Your mouth teems with “good” bacteria that help aid in digestion and fight diseases. However, because your mouth serves as an entry point for both digestive and respiratory tracts it also can harbor harmful bacteria.
Healthy habits such as daily brushing, flossing, and mouth rinses can help keep harmful bacteria at bay. By not devoting time to properly care for one’s mouth a build-up of harmful bacteria results leading to oral infections.
What Conditions Linked to Poor Oral Health?
|Endocarditis||Infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers or valves (endocardium) occurs when bacteria or germs from another part of your body (such as your mouth) spread through your bloodstream and attach to certain areas in your heart.|
|Cardiovascular Disease||Some research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries, and stroke might be linked to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause.|
|Pregnancy and Birth Complications||Periodontitis (gum disease) has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.|
|Pneumonia||Bacteria in your mouth can travel to your lungs, causing pneumonia and other respiratory diseases.|
It is easy to conclude that staying on top of oral health care is of utmost importance, what can you do at home to make sure your smile stays healthy and bright? Keep reading.
Why Staying on Top of Oral Health is Important
- The Surgeon General’s Report clearly indicates that oral health is vital for overall health. Skipping appointments can lead to missed issues that progress into larger more aggressive problems.
- The most prevalent oral conditions are dental caries (cavities) and periodontal diseases, and they are largely preventable
- Dental caries is the most common chronic childhood disease and continues into adulthood.
- Among US adults, 2011–2014 national data indicate that 32.7% had untreated dental caries
- 42.7% of adults aged 30 or older had periodontitis and 70.1% of adults 65 years and older have periodontal disease.
The Basics of Healthy Teeth:
Your Job: You are a key player for bright and healthy teeth. Your main job is to remove plaque the plaque that clings to your teeth.
Plaque accumulates when food and bacteria settle on the teeth, a build-up of this material calcifies or hardens to form tartar. Tartar irritates your gums and can lead to gum disease as well as cause bad breath.
Brush, Floss, Mouthwash
If you have ever been to the dentist you have heard the three keys to successful mouthcare are: Brushing, Flossing, and Mouthwash. Be consistent and create a routine helping to stay on top of these healthy habits. Below you will find some key ingredients when formulating the best possible care for your teeth.
- The American Dental Association recommends brushing for two minutes, twice a day. We recommend using a soft bristle brush and fluoride toothpaste angled at 45 degrees for optimal brushing.
- Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months because worn-out, frayed bristles are not as effective at cleaning your teeth.
- It is your preference when it comes to manual vs. electric toothbrushes. Whatever you prefer just make sure it has the ADA seal of approval.
- Brushing with too much intensity can damage the soft tissues around your teeth leading to receding gums, open sores that can lead to infection, and tooth sensitivity.
- Floss each time you brush.
- Flossing gets into the spaces that brushing cannot, thus making them an essential player towards healthy teeth and gums.
- As the floss gets close to your gums, curve the floss to form a C shape. This helps the floss enter the space between your gums and your tooth.
- Every time you rinse with mouthwash you can kill the bacteria that lead to plaque and tartar build-up.
- There are a wide variety of mouthwashes available and can be tailored to your needs. For example, if you experience frequent cavities using a mouthwash with fluoride can help a great deal.
- Mouthwash not only strengthens your enamel but remineralizes your teeth effectively halting tooth decay.
Diet also plays an important part in procuring healthy teeth. Sugary foods and drinks are one of the main causes of tooth decay. Tobacco and alcohol use are extremely detrimental to oral health. In fact, they are the top two risk factors for oral cancer. Healthy teeth and healthy diets go hand in hand.
A study published in the Journal of Dentistry linked healthy habits such as exercise to stronger and healthier teeth. The Journal found that those who worked out regularly had a lower incidence of severe periodontal disease than those who forgo physical fitness.
Why You Should Still Visit the Dentist
Being proactive in dental care is more than just creating and maintaining healthy habits. Creating a strong relationship with your dentist and asking questions is also important. Routine appointments are paramount in making sure everything is on track and diagnosing issues when things go awry.
Don’t wait it out
Dental care can be costly, the longer you wait the more issues that arise. That is why routine maintenance at home and in the office is paramount to keeping costs at bay. Start by creating a routine centered around mouth care, next make an appointment with a dental professional to evaluate if any more in-depth treatment is needed to get your mouth in tip-top shape. If you’d like to learn more about dental costs check out our article: Understanding Dental Costs.
Don’t be Afraid to Ask for a Payment Plan
It can be overwhelming to feel as though you need to pay a bill all at once. Perhaps you want to pay monthly as you pay into an HSA monthly, thus allowing for more flexibility with this money. We get it, that is why we offer a variety of payment plans along with Care Credit. You are encouraged to talk to us about any issues you may have, together we will work to formulate a plan that works for you.
Consult Your Insurance
Dental insurance can be confusing, the best way to understand your benefits is through those providing them. Utilize their knowledge of the service they provide you for a clear understanding of what is included and to what extent, as well as, what treatments may not be covered.
We want you to know that we are here for you and your family’s needs. That’s why we are offering a discounted annual dental membership plan to those who are uninsured and in need of quality dental care.
With our membership plan, you and your family have access to easy and affordable dental services. Ask any of our team members about Commonwealth Care, a discounted annual dental membership plan for those who are uninsured and in need of quality dental care.
While it may seem simple, taking precautionary measures to protect your teeth is the best at home defense for your teeth. There is no time like the present to brush, floss, and mouthwash. Next, make an appointment to be seen in one of our offices. We look forward to taking your smile to the next level this year.