Keeping up with your oral health is a daily task. It may be tempting not to take the time for regular dental maintenance, whether at home or at the dentist’s office. However, like so much in life, slacking on dental hygiene doesn’t pay.
Routine Home Cleanings
Brush or floss after every meal, or at least twice a day, to ensure the health of your teeth and gums, you should brush and floss after each meal. Flossing removes bits of food that toothbrushes may not be able to reach. If these pieces of food aren’t removed, they provide nourishment for bacteria, which excrete acid that destroys tooth enamel and causes cavities.
Flossing and brushing also gets rid of plaque, a sticky substance that can cause gum disease, tooth discoloration, and even tooth decay. Plaque that isn’t removed can harden into tartar, which can then lead to gingivitis and periodontal disease. Fortunately, most of these problems can be prevented with a simple routine of brushing and flossing regularly.
Regular Dental Checkups
Almost half of Americans put off regular dental care or previously planned treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic. As we enter a new stage of the pandemic, made more manageable with vaccines and boosters readily available, it’s time to re-book those postponed check-ups and procedures.
In addition to good dental hygiene at home, make sure to visit the dentist twice a year, or about every six months. The dentist will check for cavities and treat them before they become serious. He or she will also scrape away tartar and plaque buildup, and can treat gingivitis before it becomes full-blown gum disease. Visiting the dentist regularly is crucial to maintaining a beautiful smile for years to come.
Aside from the medical benefits of regular dental care, there are financial reasons to keep at it as well. Many insurance plans will pay for most or all of the price of regular dental appointments, but may cover less of the cost for more expensive procedures. For instance, while most patients with insurance pay around 20 percent of their exam fee and the price of getting a cavity filled, they could pay 50 percent of the cost of root canals, crowns or bridges. These procedures can sometimes be avoided with preventive care that finds the problem early and provides treatment. By structuring their payment schedules this way, insurance companies financially incentivize their patients to prevent dental problems rather than repair them after they become more serious. Take advantage of this structure by getting regular cleanings and check-ups.
As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Apply this maxim to your oral health, and save yourself pain and money. If it’s been awhile, make an appointment with Roseman Dental and set yourself up for better dental health.
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.
Pinpoint your fear, and use these tips to manage it:
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 discuss your appointment in advance, whether in person, over the phone, or via video call.
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.
Providers at Roseman Dental are committed to providing compassionate care to all patients. They’ll talk through your questions and concerns with patience, understanding, and expertise. Make an appointment today and send your fears down the drain (right along with your plaque, and any other mouth germs).
Those who choose to enter dental school want to provide a valuable service for their patients. Without proper oral care, significant health problems can occur. Part of dental work includes providing preventative care for those whose teeth may be at risk for serious infections, cavities, or deterioration. The treatment that a dentist chooses to use can have big impact on the physical and emotional well-being of the patient. Utilizing pit and fissure sealants as part of preventative treatment for susceptible patients can improve quality of life and ensure that oral health issues do not escalate.
Protecting Against Decay
Molars naturally have grooves and wrinkles that are hard to brush thoroughly. These pit and fissure systems can degrade when children are very young and are unable to perform proper oral hygiene without the help of an adult. When plaque builds up and stagnates in the pits and fissures, it can cause lesions and demineralize the enamel of the teeth. Children who have affected teeth need sealants to help protect the teeth against decay. That decay, called dental caries (or cavities), can result in several dental problems.
A Good Investment
By using sealants early before decay becomes a bigger problem, patients are able to avoid the costs of repairing severely damaged teeth. Fillings and other restoration options are often more costly than dental sealants, which can be applied in just a few minutes and require no drilling or other invasive processes. If there are many teeth that need to be sealed, a patient is better off doing them all at once rather than waiting for dental caries to set in and eat away at otherwise healthy teeth.
After losing baby teeth between the ages of 5 and 10, children will have the next set of teeth for a lifetime. Starting dental treatments early can help ensure that those teeth are healthy and free from decay from a young age. The American Dental Association recommends using sealants as soon as a problem is noticed in young children, especially if there is any indication of dental caries on a child’s permanent adult teeth.
Wisdom teeth, or third molars, usually come in after adolescence, appearing between the ages of 17 and 21. The purpose of wisdom teeth is not known with certainty, though it is hypothesized that they may be vestiges of the jaw structure of prehistoric humans. Our ancestors would often experience tooth wear from regular use, sometimes losing molars, so a third set of molars that appear later than other permanent teeth could have helped replace the missing bite power.
Over time, our jaws have become smaller and our diets have softened, allowing our current molars to last longer. It is therefore theorized that we may have evolved to a point where wisdom teeth are now obsolete, and for many people they are more of a hindrance than a benefit. Not all dental professionals agree, but many dentists do recommend their patients get their wisdom teeth removed in their late teens to early 20’s, before they emerge from the gums.
Reasons for Getting Wisdom Teeth Removed
While not all people need to get their wisdom teeth removed, health problems associated with them are common. These include:
- Pain and discomfort: Wisdom teeth are full-sized adult teeth, so the process of emerging from the gums can be painful, and they often rub against the rear molars, causing further pain
- Risk of Infection: Not only do wisdom teeth create wounds coming in, but brushing them can be more difficult because of their far-back position in the jaw; using a thin, long brush with a small head can help in the cleaning of these hard-to-reach areas
- Tooth Misalignment: Perhaps the most common reason wisdom teeth are removed is because they can push other teeth out of alignment; some dentists recommend removing wisdom teeth as soon as they show up on an x-ray, before they have the chance of doing this damage
Not everybody needs to get their wisdom teeth removed, and for some people they come in with no problems at all. When your wisdom teeth first show up in dental x-rays, consult your dentist about which choice will be best for you and your mouth.
If you’re looking for ways to improve the health of your entire body, open your mouth and say “ahhhhhh.” Medical research has shown that individuals with gum disease have an increased risk of other health issues, such as heart disease and even cancer. Learn how bad oral health impacts the body and what you can do about it.
The True Impact of Gum Disease
Early signs of gum disease include swollen gums, chronic bad breath, gums that bleed while flossing and sensitive teeth. Your mouth acts as an internal interstate to the rest of your body, and the disease in your gums can use that interstate to spread to the rest of your system. Additional health complications that can result from gum disease include stroke, low birth weight in babies and other health complications. Now that you know the how, it’s time to learn more about the what, as in what you can do to reduce the harmful effects of poor oral health.
It All Starts in the Mouth
Besides keeping up with your oral hygiene, there are several additional things you can do to improve your overall physical health. One of the first things you should do is add more minerals and healthy fats to your diet. While you’re at it, you should ease up on foods with an abundance of sugar and vegetable oil.
To boost your immune system to fight off any disease you might already have and future disease, make sure you get plenty of sleep, handle your stress well and cut out bad lifestyle choices, such as smoking and excessive drinking.
Pay Attention to the Oral Products You Use
Using oral products won’t do you or your health much good if those products contain toxins that can counteract your preventative measures. Look at and research the ingredients in your toothpaste, mouthwash and chewing gum to make sure they’re as beneficial as their makers claim or talk to your dentist about what products s/he would recommend.
Take full control of your health, starting with your teeth and gums. Ask your dentist for more tips.