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Preventative Dental Care Tips

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Preventative Dental Care Tips

Ignoring your teeth can be one of the biggest mistakes you’ll ever make – and the most costly. It can impact on your life in monetary, health and aesthetic ways, that will make you wish you had paid a great deal more attention to them far earlier.

Preventative care is about far more than maintaining the beauty of your smile. It might even save your life. By becoming aware of any changes and anomalies in your mouth, and seeking advice or treatment as soon as possible, you will have the best chance of a favorable outcome.

DIY preventative care

oral hygiene

Long term effective preventative dental care involves teamwork between you and dental professionals. Taking pro-active steps yourself, will improve your bank balance and increase the chances of keeping your mouth healthy for years to come. The buck stops with you in the following processes:

  • Good oral hygiene: Proper oral hygiene involves brushing and flossing your mouth well so that damage isn’t caused by bacteria, acid and infection in your mouth. The best brushing program involves a 2 minute process twice a day. Using a soft to medium brush, and light pressure, brush the teeth up and on all surfaces, being sure to be gentle on the gums. Follow once a day by cleaning between the teeth with floss or an interdental brush.
  • Watch what you bite: As convenient as they might seem to be for certain odd jobs that come up, your teeth are not designed to open bottles, bite thread off or perform any other functions beyond that of biting or chewing food. You are risking chipping, breaking or damaging their enamel.
  • Watch what you eat (and drink): Tooth erosion and decay thrive on sugary and acidic foods. Avoid them wherever possible and rinse your mouth with water about 30 minutes later when you do consume them.
  • Avoid bad habits: Nail biting or grinding your teeth can chip or damage them, change their alignment, or even damage the joint where your skull meets your jaw. Try to kick the nail-biting habit, and lessen the chance of night-time teeth grinding by using a gum guard. Smoking and tobacco use can cause not only discolored teeth and a loss of taste, but may lead to receding gums, with resultant tooth loss, and even contribute to the development of oral cancer.
  • Protect your teeth: If you play contact sport or are involved in activities which might lead to injury or damage to your teeth, a mouth guard can prove to be a vital tool in long-term tooth protection.

Call in the experts

However sound your dental home care is, there are going to be times when it is necessary to call on the professionals.

Regular dental check-ups:

Making sure you don’t become lackadaisical about dental check-ups is one of the most important things you can do. At these check-ups, your dentist has the opportunity to pick up on cavities and other teeth problems early on, as well as detecting any signs of oral cancer or gum disease, so giving you a far better chance of full recovery.

Links have been established between gum disease and serious health issues such as heart problems, strokes, and diabetes. It can also damage the bone supporting your teeth and gums, possibly resulting in tooth loss.

Professional cleaning:

However committed you are to your oral hygiene program, it’s still well worth visiting your dentist or oral hygienist on a regular basis for a professional prophylaxis, or dental cleaning. This will ensure that plaque and bacteria build-up in those difficult-to-reach places is removed before causing too much damage.

Sealing out decay:

If you want to protect your body from something, and unless that something is extreme heat, you are probably likely to think about putting on a coat, a jacket, a poncho. In dire circumstances you might even consider armor, or, at the very least, a bullet-proof vest.

So why ignore your teeth? Dental sealants may give you just the protection you need in avoiding tooth decay, and any possible tooth loss as a result. Sealants put a thin, plastic coating on the chewing surfaces of teeth to prevent tooth decay. They are particularly effective on the pre-molars and molars, which have grooved and hollowed surfaces which allow them to function effectively in the grinding process that kick-starts breaking down the food we eat. However, these surfaces make these teeth particularly susceptible to decay. Leftover food debris and acids easily get stuck in the natural nooks and crannies, or in cracks or fissures that form in these chewing surfaces.

Sealant can last for 10 years, particularly if it is checked regularly and any wear and tear or chips are repaired.

Fluoride treatments

Sometimes the fluoride toothpaste at home is not enough to ensure the necessary remineralization of the tooth enamel. Your dentist will recommend applying concentrated fluoride to your teeth. This will boost your tooth enamel’s function of resisting acids formed by sugary foods and plaque bacteria, and the decay that ensues.

Dental professionals can do a lot to patch, replace, improve and enhance your teeth, tongue and gums, when nature, diet and lifestyle have taken their toll. However, there is a great deal you can do yourself to help prevent injury, decay and disease from causing problems in your mouth. The best results will come from teamwork between you and your dental team.

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