Oral health is extremely important for your overall well-being. Neglecting proper dental care can lead to painful, expensive procedures down the road. With some simple preventative measures, you can keep your teeth and gums healthy and avoid the need for major dental work.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene
The most basic thing you can do to maintain your dental health is to brush and floss thoroughly each day. The American Dental Association recommends brushing twice a day for two minutes each time. Be sure to brush all surfaces of your teeth – front, back, and along the gum line. Flossing once a day removes plaque and food particles from between teeth that your toothbrush can’t reach.
If you find daily flossing tedious, consider using floss picks, which make the process easier and faster. You may also want to use an antiseptic mouthwash occasionally to kill germs. See your dentist for recommendations on effective products.
Get Regular Professional Cleanings
Even the most diligent brushing and flossing likely won’t remove all the plaque and tartar from your teeth. Visiting your dentist for a professional cleaning every six months can get rid of hardened deposits before they cause decay or gum disease.
Cleanings also allow your dentist to check for early signs of problems. Issues like small cavities are much easier and less expensive to treat when caught early. Your dentist can also spot gum recession and other forms of periodontal disease in the early stages.
Eat a Tooth-Healthy Diet
A diet low in sugary and starchy foods will help reduce your risk of cavities. Bacteria in the mouth feed on sugar and refined carbohydrates, producing acids that erode tooth enamel. Limit sweets and choose healthy snack options like vegetables, cheese, plain yogurt, and nuts.
Drink plenty of water instead of sugary juices and sodas. Water washes away food particles and helps neutralize mouth acids. If you enjoy coffee or tea, don’t overdo the sugar. Unsweetened varieties are gentler on your teeth.
Wear a Custom Night Guard
If you grind or clench your teeth, a custom night guard can protect them from damage. This hard plastic appliance fits over either your upper or lower teeth and prevents the upper and lower teeth from contacting. Talk to your dentist about having one made if you notice symptoms like sore jaws or chipped teeth.
Get Dental Problems Treated Promptly
No matter how diligent you are with home care, problems can still arise. Cavities, cracked teeth, gum disease, and other issues are common. Don’t ignore symptoms like tooth pain, sensitivity, swollen gums, or obvious decay spots. Seeking prompt professional treatment prevents the problem worsening and requiring oral surgery St George Utah.
Maintain Any Dental Work
If you have fillings, crowns, bridges, implants, or other restorations, be sure to care for them properly. Avoid sticky, hard foods that could crack or loosen dental work. Don’t chew ice or other hard objects. See your dentist immediately if a filling falls out, or you notice damage. Prompt repair prevents the need for a root canal or tooth extraction.
See Your Dentist Regularly
Regular dental exams and cleanings are essential for good oral health. The ADA recommends a cleaning every 6 months and an exam every year. High risk patients may need more frequent visits. This allows early detection and treatment of problems before they become complex and expensive to fix.
With diligent daily home care and professional cleanings and exams, you can keep your mouth healthy and avoid extensive dental procedures. Taking proper precautions not only ensures a beautiful smile, but also protects your wallet.