Poor oral health not only effects the look of our smile but also our self-confidence, often our success, and even our relationships, not to mention our general health as well. Research is continuing to show a correlation between poor oral health and serious health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and premature low birthweight babies, among others. Prevention is ideal and these five tips can make all the difference.
- Brush twice a day for two minutes with fluoridated toothpaste. Most people know that they are supposed to brush twice a day but many of us are not doing so properly and not for a full two minutes. The majority of adults, when they do manage to brush, only do so for thirty seconds to one minute. When we spend a full two minutes brushing, fewer places are missed and less plaque and bacteria are left behind. Time yourself when brushing or use an electric toothbrush that runs on a two minute timer. To more adequately clean the teeth and gums, hold the bristles of your brush at a 45 degree angle pointed toward the gum line and use gentle short circular motions. Make sure you are not too aggressive as you do not want to cause damage to your gums.
- Floss daily to remove plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. Less than 50% of adults use dental floss regularly and one in five people have NEVER flossed their teeth! If plaque is allowed to collect, especially below your gum line, it can eventually harden into tarter. Untreated it can lead to periodontal disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss.
- Eat a healthy diet. When we eat things that are high in sugar, it feeds bacteria in our mouth and produces acid. Our saliva helps neutralize this acid, but it takes time. Our teeth can remain under an acid attack for up to 30 minutes after consuming sugars. Therefore frequent snacking or drinking of sugary things means frequent acid exposures that can lead to tooth decay. An unbalanced diet may lack certain nutrients and make your oral tissues less resistant to infection and more prone to gum disease. Crunchy fruits and vegetables like carrots and apples actually help clean and scrap plaque off your teeth. Eat a balanced diet with a variety of foods from all food groups and limit sugary, high starch, and simple carbohydrate snacks.
- Avoid using tobacco products. You have heard this from your medical doctors time and time again, but you should hear it from your dentist too. Tobacco products not only leave a tenacious unsightly black stain on your teeth, but are an oral health risk too. Tobacco use greatly increases your risk for periodontal disease and is a major contributing factor in the development of oral cancers.
- Get regular dental check-ups. Daily brushing and flossing, when done properly, helps remove plaque. However regular dental check-ups are needed to help remove plaque and tarter from places that are harder for a toothbrush and floss to reach. Regular dental check-ups are also one of the best ways to detect problems at an early stage when they are more easily and affordably treatable.
Implementing these five tips into your routine may prevent not only a denture in your future, but can reduce your risk for serious health conditions. There is power in prevention and we are here to help make that happen. For more information on Periodontal Disease, what it is, prevention, and treatment visit our website.