The health of your mouth, teeth and gums tells a lot about the overall health of your entire body. It is important to keep oral health top of mind and make time for it on a daily basis in order to avoid painful and costly tooth and gum related procedures.
While flossing may seem like a real chore, the time and effort it takes to do this something extra is well worth it. There is a part of each tooth that a brush can’t reach, no matter how advanced it might be, and by flossing you clean this part of tooth for a mouth that is optimally healthy. Flossing helps keep gums healthy by releasing food trapped between teeth that can cause infection. Flossing helps keep gums free from gingivitis, a chronic inflammation of the area, which can lead to other issues within your system.
While white teeth are all the rage, and most of Hollywood seems to be sporting the Chiclets teeth look, there are specific rules to follow to whiten teeth safely. First of all too much whitening can damage enamel making it weak and brittle and lead to fractures and chips in teeth. Also, when the whitening gels come in contact with the gums for a prolonged period you can get gum sensitivity and inflammation, leading to a receding gum line and even bone loss if not treated in time. It’s best to leave this to your dental professional if you think the color of your teeth needs to be addressed.
When you want to get your teeth their cleanest, it is a natural reflex to want to scrub them hard and fast with your toothbrush. In truth, this is exactly the opposite of how your teeth should be treated. To get your teeth clean you should brush lightly with a soft or extra soft bristle toothbrush. You should brush for at least 2 minutes, no more than 3 times a day. Brush slowly, taking time to cover each tooth. It’s good to brush teeth in the same pattern each day; this helps to ensure each tooth gets its due. Plaque is removed from the bigger surfaces of the teeth with brushing, and it addresses the area just under the gums. Brushing too hard can damage gums, creating an opportunity for them to recede.
Both of these are stress related actions and many patients don’t even know they engage in them until they wake up with a sore jaw or visit their dentist for a check up. Dental professionals can clearly see the results of grinding and clenching when they examine your mouth and teeth. They often prescribe custom fit mouth guards to protect teeth that they may suggest you wear while driving on a long commute, spending long hours in front of a computer monitor or while sleeping.
If you use mouthwash after flossing and brushing, look for formulas that don’t contain alcohol. In 2009 the Dental Journal of Australian published findings of a study showing a link between mouthwashes containing alcohol and oral cancer. Many dental professionals find mouthwash unnecessary and they certainly never should be considered a substitute for flossing and brushing.
Proper oral will pay you back many times over, both in financial savings and in peace of mind as you go for your yearly dental exams. Anything that keeps you healthy and makes dental check up shorter is at the top of my list!