Think about the first thing you notice when you meet someone. For most of us, the first impression comes from their smile! Subconsciously we make judgments about the condition of their teeth, often without even realizing we’re doing it. The state of a smile can influence one’s confidence, perceived trustworthiness, intelligence, and more.
Regular preventative dental visits, x-rays, and at-home care are just a few things you can do to maintain good oral health!
- Healthy diet – perhaps the most important factor in maintaining good dental health is the food and drink you consume throughout the day. It’s probably not necessary to eliminate all candy, soda, and other sweet treats. You can “cheat” on a healthy diet, but cheat smart! Intermittently sipping a pop or sugary drink, such as a juice or sports drink, all day long does much more damage to tooth enamel than drinking the same beverage in one sitting. Swishing the liquid around your mouth magnifies the negative effect. Be mindful of sticky foods like the usual suspects – candy, taffy, and caramel – but also dried fruits, raisins, and jelly. Refined carbohydrates such as bread or pastries are high in sugars too. Instead, focus on building strong bones and teeth by consuming products that are high in calcium like cheese, yogurt, and milk.
- Good oral care habits – watching food intake is not everything though. Brushing your teeth and tongue correctly and for an adequate amount of time, flossing between teeth, and other hygiene practices are not optional if you want to keep your mouth healthy. A toothbrush should be replaced every three months, as well as after a cold or illness. While some people believe they can brush more effectively with a stiff-bristled toothbrush, a soft-bristled brush is actually better; it’s less damaging to hard and soft tissues, while still getting the teeth clean. Remember: brush longer, not harder.
Flossing reaches places the toothbrush misses and removes food particles that may remain lodged between teeth if left unchecked. Don’t neglect your tongue either. Brushing your tongue gives you better smelling breath, as well as removes harmful bacteria from your mouth. Fluoride mouthwashes – either prescription or over-the-counter – can be helpful too. Be sure to ask a member of our dental team about which kind best suits your individual needs!
- Avoid destructive habits – Just as important as engaging in good habits is the avoidance of destructive habits. Smokeless tobacco is a huge culprit in destroying smiles. Cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and even oral piercings can be very damaging to both teeth and gums. Clenching or grinding teeth, while awake or asleep, puts extra pressure on teeth and may lead to cracking or chipping. Frequent clenching can cause general sensitivity in teeth, as well as contributing to headaches.Poor oral health affects not only the mouth, but can impact the rest of the body too. Gum disease has been linked to a host of other medical issues, including diabetes, heart disease, and low birth-weight babies.
- Ask questions – the dentist and team want you to be an active member of the treatment experience. If you have questions about something, ask! If you have dental insurance, we will work to help you maximize your benefits. Some treatments can be done in stages, either to accommodate schedules or budget. Dental radiographs, or x-rays, are used to monitor areas that are not clinically visible. Fortunately, modern dental x-ray film permits x-rays to be taken with minimal radiation exposure. Digital x-ray sensors and newer machines reduce that already low level exposure to significantly lower levels.
- . Don’t delay on receiving treatment – repeatedly putting off a visit to the dentist can be detrimental; dental problems rarely go away by themselves and often become more involved and expensive to restore later. What may start as a small area of decay (often referred to as a cavity) will usually become larger over time. When it becomes large enough, it may involve the nerve, or dental pulp, which can become infected or abscessed. A portion of the tooth may break off and be sharp or sensitive as well.Regular dental maintenance visits enable the dentist and team to keep an eye on potential problems such as this. If treatment is necessary, it will be a less invasive procedure to catch the problem now versus later – potentially saving you a lot of money. For many people, these dental visits should be scheduled every six months. However, some patients may require and benefit from more frequent visits.
A beautiful smile should be the first thing someone notices about you. A great smile can be attainable for everyone! Everybody begins at a different starting point. Some people are blessed with a naturally attractive smile. For the rest of us, modern dentistry can provide some assistance. There’s a lot you can do to achieve good dental health! Maintaining a healthy diet, following good habits, avoiding bad ones, asking questions, and receiving proper treatment when needed can help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted. We at East Valley Dental Professionals are well-positioned, trained, and ready to help you get there.