The new year is almost here — can you believe it? As 2018 approaches, let’s go back to basics and take a fresh look at preventive care. For all the advanced technology and innovations in restorative dentistry that have transformed the field in recent decades, the best thing you can do for your smile remains the same as ever: keep your natural teeth and gums in excellent condition. This will save you money, potential pain, and time that you don’t have to spend in the dentist’s chair.
So what is preventive care, anyway? Preventive care is following meticulous oral hygiene practices at home and being vigilant about visiting the dentist every six months for a cleaning and exam. This gives you the best chance for keeping your smile healthy for life.
Dental Health Starts at Home
Brushing and flossing correctly at home keeps your teeth and gums in good health between dental visits. It’s important to be consistent and use proper technique — just going through the motions will not cut it. Read on to learn (or relearn) the fundamentals of correct brushing and flossing.
How to Brush Your Teeth
- Brush at least twice per day for two minutes at a time.
- Use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
- Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush, as medium- and hard-bristled toothbrushes can be damaging to your teeth.
- Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle to your gumline. Brush gently using short back-and-forth or circular motions.
- Get all areas of the teeth: fronts, top chewing surfaces, and backs.
- Brush the tongue, as it can harbor bacteria that cause decay and bad breath.
- Don’t brush too hard: while scrubbing your teeth will remove that nasty plaque and bacteria, it may also take off your enamel and damage your gums! This makes you susceptible to cavities and gum disease.
How to Floss Your Teeth
- Floss at least once per day.
- Use an 18-inch length of floss each time.
- Wrap the floss around your middle fingers, leaving about an inch in the middle to work with.
- Move the floss up and down between your teeth. Keep it taut against the enamel, which removes plaque and bacteria from the surface of the teeth.
- At the root (where your tooth meets the gumline), curve the floss in a C-shape around the tooth and carefully clean beneath the gumline.
- Use a clean section of floss for each tooth.
Eat a Healthy-Tooth Diet
What you eat and drink matters — for your overall health and your dental health.
- Load up on raw fruits and veggies. Even crunchy fruits (like apples) that contain a bit of sugar are good for your teeth, promoting saliva flow and stimulating the gums.
- Get your dairy. Milk, yogurt, and cheese are packed with calcium, which your teeth need to remain strong and healthy.
- Not a fan of dairy products? Leafy greens like kale, spinach, and watercress are another way to get the calcium your teeth need.
- Avoid sweet, sticky snacks. Gummy treats, chewy granola bars, and even raisins and other dried fruits are a dental no-no. They get stuck in the grooves of the teeth and become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria.
- Drink water — lots of it, and throughout the day. Try to drink tap water whenever possible as most water supplies are fortified with tooth-boosting fluoride.
Visit Marineland Dental Care Every Six Months
If you take good care of your oral health at home, is it necessary to visit the dentist twice per year? Why yes, it is.
- We will give your teeth a thorough cleaning. Our professional cleanings go far beyond what you’re able to achieve at home. We can remove plaque and tartar that’s accumulated beneath the gumline and other difficult-to-reach spots. We will also floss and polish your teeth so they look and feel clean and refreshed.
- Dr. Hadley will give your teeth, gums, and mouth a thorough inspection. He will check for signs of tooth decay and gum disease. Dental problems often remain asymptomatic in their early, less severe stages. The doctor will be able to discover issues before you even realize you have them, which will generally mean easier, less invasive treatment.
- We may take X-rays of your mouth. X-rays are important because they enable us to see problems not visible to the naked eye such as impacted teeth, abscesses, decay between the teeth, bone loss, and cysts.