For many people, a trip to the dentist is not at the top of their list of favorite things to do. However, most can get through a checkup with relatively low levels of fear or anxiety. For those who have a dental phobia, even thinking about going to the dentist is enough to cause panic. If you are someone who avoids dental offices due to your inability to deal with the sounds, feelings and overall experiences you associate with an oral cleaning or other dental care, then you could be exposing yourself to negative health consequences caused by inadequate oral health.
Fear of the Unknown
If showing up at the dentist and not having a clue what you are about to undergo sends you into a tailspin, then you may benefit from having a full explanation of all procedures prior to your visit. Make sure that your doctor understands your concerns and is willing to meet with you to discuss your appointment in advance, or even over the phone if needed.
Fear of the Dentist
For some people, the dentist himself is an ominous presence that causes fear. A dentist who only comes into the room for a few moments to inflict pain, all while wearing a mask, can be worrisome. If possible, find a professional who can help you break down the doctor-patient barrier by speaking with you, sitting at eye level, and taking other steps to lessen the tension in the room.
Fear of the Equipment
The tray of equipment next to your chair can look like a line-up of torture devices. The equipment can be loud, sharp and terrifying, but if you take the time to hold and inspect each item, you may find that they are not that scary after all. Talk to your dentist about doing this if it’s the instruments that frighten you.
Fear of Feeling Out of Control
Lying back in the examination chair and letting other people look into the mouth can make some patients feel out of control of their situation. If this is the case for you, ask your doctor if you can be leaned back partially or even assist with the process by holding a tool.
The dentist does not have to be a stress-inducing experience if you are willing to work towards feeling more comfortable in the chair.
Trick-or-treating is the highlight of Halloween for most children, but excessive candy consumption can be harmful to a child’s dental and physical heath. Halloween doesn’t have to be a sugar-laden free-for-all. There are many ways to limit your child’s sugar intake without a making a scary scene.
- Collect Less Candy – Limit the amount of candy your child collects by having her use a smaller treat bag and calling it quits once the bag is filled. You can also set a time limit on her trick-or-treating or visit only houses within a certain walking distance.
- Trade Candy For Cash – Many dentists participate in a candy buyback program. If yours doesn’t, consider forking out some of your own cash in exchange for your kid’s candy, then donate the stash to a local shelter or a branch of the military.
- Plan a Visit From the Candy Fairy – If your child is too young to be interested in cash, consider swapping the loot for a toy they have had their eye on. Instruct your child to leave the goodies in a special location, and make the trade while they are asleep.
- Ration the Goodies – Let your child pick out a few of his favorites on Halloween night, then store the rest out of sight and out of reach. Pack one small piece in his or her lunch each day, or save it to dole out only on special occasions.
- Pass Out An Alternate Treat – You can do your part to limit junk food in your neighborhood by passing out something other than candy. Stock up on stickers, glow sticks or another prize to give away, and encourage your neighbors to do the same.
However you choose to prevent sugar overload this holiday, be sure your child knows what to expect beforehand. Fill her up with a healthy dinner before she begins knocking on doors, and allow a little indulging before the night is over. Have a plan for the rest of the candy, and no matter how late your little ghoul is up, don’t send her to bed without brushing!
Brushing and flossing regularly can keep your teeth and gums healthy and your smile bright, but good oral hygiene benefits more than just your mouth. When you take care of your teeth and gums, you’re taking care of your whole body.
- Healthier Heart – Flossing keeps your gums healthy, but it can protect your heart as well. People with periodontal disease may have an increased risk of developing heart disease and may double their risk of experiencing a fatal heart attack. Gum disease can also lead to inflammation throughout the body, which is detrimental to your body and heart. On the other hand, healthy gums can contribute to a healthy heart.
- Healthier Pregnancy – Pregnancy can take a toll on a woman’s oral health, and starting off with healthy habits can protect you from the gum disease and increased cavities some pregnant women experience. Poor oral health may also increase your risk of delivering prematurely, so good oral hygiene is important for the health and safety of both you and your unborn baby.
- Improved Diabetes Management – If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it’s important to know that you may be more prone to gum disease. You should also know that gum disease may affect your diabetes by increasing your insulin resistance. This two-way link between diabetes and gum disease makes it extremely important to maintain healthy oral care habits.
- Early Cancer Detection – Dentists are trained to detect early signs of oral cancer in the gums, lips, tongue and cheeks, so a regular checkup can alert you to a potential problem while it is still in the early stages. Oral cancer can advance quickly, so early detection can be lifesaving.
- Weight Management – Brushing can signal to your brain that you are finished eating, preventing you from snacking once a meal is complete. Brush and floss about 30 minutes after meals to keep your teeth and gums healthy, but also to prevent overeating and mindless snacking between meals.
Dentists recommend that you brush and floss at least twice a day, and that you schedule a cleaning and checkup twice a year. By maintaining good oral hygiene, you protect your teeth as well as your health.
Whether you’re looking to score a date with a special person or ace an interview you’ve been preparing for, one thing remains certain: you may not get as far as you would hope without a great smile. Here are several tips you can use to enjoy a brighter and whiter smile.
1. Stop Drinking Energy Drinks
Even if you live for the rush that energy drinks give you, they are not very good for your teeth. Their acidic content is very corrosive to the enamel on your teeth. If you cannot stop drinking them entirely, then start limiting your consumption of them. Make sure you use a straw when drinking them to keep your teeth from swimming in acid.
2. Avoid Dark Foods
Try to limit your consumption of dark foods and beverages. Dark foods and beverages have a staining effect on your teeth that can leave them discolored and dull looking. Of course, some foods, such as blueberries are very beneficial to your health (and also dark) so use your judgment when eating and drinking foods and beverages that contain dark pigmentation, and chew gum or brush teeth about 20 to 30 minutes after if you are concerned about the staining effects of what you consumed.
3. Eat Your Raw Fruits and Veggies
Eating raw fruits and veggies is not just good for your health, they are also good for your teeth. Raw foods, such as nuts, cauliflower, broccoli, and apples act as “scrubbers” when you chew them to help remove surface stains and plaque from your teeth. Crunchy veggies and nuts also help strengthen your teeth and bones for long-lasting teeth.
4. Change Your Toothbrush
Remember to replace your toothbrush every three to four months or as soon as you notice it looking worn out. After this amount of time, the bristles on your toothbrush start to lose their firmness and shape, thus reducing their effectiveness at cleaning your teeth.
5. Rinse Your Mouth
Rinse your mouth after eating and drinking sugary and acidic foods and beverages. Rinsing immediately after consumption helps to get rid of the acid that is left behind in your mouth. If you don’t, the acid that remains in your mouth will strip the enamel from your teeth making it easier for them to stain.
No matter what you do to keep your teeth clean, don’t forget to see your dentist as needed. Practicing good dental hygiene and receiving proper dental care will keep your smile bright and white.