Top Tips for Preventing Dental Problems
By Stephen Rogers on February 03, 2015
Most people could easily recite the essential practices for maintaining a healthy mouth: brushing, flossing, and occasional visits to the dentist. However, not everyone makes a habit of following through with these practices, and even fewer do them as effectively as they could or should. The difference between ideal and sub-par hygiene could be one or more visits to the dentist, resulting in restorative work that could have been otherwise avoided.
At our Long Island dental practice, we want to give our patients the best shot at a healthy, problem-free smile. Whether you are in our office for a general dentistry check-up or are simply engaging in daily hygiene at home, a little knowledge goes a long way. Take the following information into consideration if you truly want to prolong the health and beauty of your smile.
Tips for At-home Hygiene
Nothing is more important to the health of your teeth than the steps you take to preserve them on a day-to-day basis. This includes brushing and flossing, of course, but part of a good hygienic routine is understanding how to make the most of it:
- Brushing: You should brush your teeth in the morning and evening every day, using toothpaste with fluoride. Brush thoroughly but gently, as aggressive brushing habits may wear away at gums or enamel, weakening teeth. Similarly, use a soft-bristled toothbrush, replacing it every three to four months to ensure effectiveness
- Flossing: Flossing is often overlooked by patients, but it should be an integral part of your hygienic routine, lest cavities form near the sides of teeth where brushes cannot reach. Floss daily between all teeth, curving the floss around the edge of each tooth and sliding upward to remove food particles and plaque.
- Consider mouthwash: While mouthwash is not necessary for everyone, it can benefit patients who are prone to gum disease or who are extra conscious about their oral health. Look for an ADA-approved mouthwash, but not one that contains alcohol, which can dry out your mouth and actually increase the presence of bacteria and bad breath.
Diet and Oral Health
Your diet isn’t just linked with your overall health; it can also affect the health of your teeth and gums. Before planning your next meal or trip to the grocery store, consider how the following dietary tips may improve the long-term quality of your smile:
- Avoid acids: Acidic drinks and foods can wear away at enamel, leading to sensitivity or an increased chance of cavities. When combined with dark or vividly colored foods, it can also increase the likelihood of discoloration.
- Avoid sugars: Candy is often regarded as the enemy of healthy teeth, but simple sugars are found in all sorts of foods. Sugary cereals, pastries, soft drinks, white breads, processed foods, and even fruit can contain simple carbohydrates, which harmful bacteria feed upon.
- Eat vegetables and dairy: Crunchy and fibrous vegetables are great for cleaning teeth as you chew, removing food and plaque from previous meals. Dairy contains calcium and casein proteins, which are beneficial to the health of teeth.
- Drink water with meals: Water keeps teeth clean by washing away food particles, neutralizing acids, and preventing dry mouth. Try to drink water with or after every meal.
The Importance of Dental Exams
Rather than visiting the dentist to correct a problem, why not visit preemptively to prevent them in the first place? With regular dental exams and professional cleanings, you can keep your teeth and gums healthy. More importantly, if any problems are caught early on, they can be addressed with the least invasive treatment options.
When you visit our office for a regular exam, we take the time to give your mouth a thorough cleaning while we look for ways to further improve your oral health. Abrasions on teeth, for instance, may be indicative of aggressive brushing habits, while worn or chipped teeth may indicate a habit of teeth clenching. We will gladly give you suggestions or treatment options for a healthier smile. Even certain diseases, such as diabetes, may have symptoms that are first identified in the mouth. To keep your teeth, gums, and overall health in check, schedule your next appointment with us.
Schedule an Exam
If you have not visited the dentist in the last year, it’s time for a cleaning and exam. With the right preventative practices, you can ensure that your smile really does last. Contact us for more information on our dental practice and to schedule your next appointment.
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