Going to the dentist with a serious emergency is usually something that can be avoided. Yet millions of Americans — more than 100 million people — have not been to the dentist in the last year, and 12 percent (over 30 million) haven’t gone in the last five.
Your teeth can last a lifetime. But you have to take care of them!
In the following article, we’ll be discussing how you can do that by sharing all the details on what your dentist wants you to know. Let’s start the checkup!
1. Use Chewing Gum
The American Dental Association gives its seal of approval to several brands of chewing gums. That said, you’ll want to avoid sugary brands. When in doubt, look for the ADA seal.
Chewing gum has more benefits than simply improving the smell of your breath. It also generates more saliva, which reduces plaque acids.
2. Dry Mouth Is a Bacteria Incubator
Not chewing gum can result in developing dry mouth. Besides making it uncomfortable to speak, this condition can have damaging effects on your teeth.
See, dry mouth acts as an incubator for bacteria, which can lead to a host of dental health problems from the less severe (bad breath) to the critical (tooth decay). Staying properly hydrated is as good for your mouth as it is the rest of your body.
3. Plaque Will Never Go Away Without You Taking These Two Actions
Everything you need to do to fight plaque shouldn’t even happen at the dentist. It should take place in the comfort of your own bathroom.
There are two specific actions that you need to take if you want to prevent it or get rid of it. Neither will be unfamiliar to you, though the proper methods of doing them could be.
The average person should brush twice per day. You can make the case for doing it more, and we will in a moment.
The other action — flossing. Unfortunately, only 40 percent of the population does this once per day, as recommended. Couple that with the millions who aren’t going to the dentist at least once annually, and there’s a potential epidemic of tooth decay to consider.
4. Plaque and Tartar Are Not the Same Things
Plaque and tartar often are mentioned interchangeably. While connected, they differ in severity.
Plaque is the sticky film that sets onto your teeth after a meal. Plaque is why we brush and floss regularly.
Failure to properly care for your teeth causes this plaque to harden and become tartar. Tartar is a calcified deposit resulting from plaque buildup over time. It contributes greatly to tooth decay.
If you have tartar, you need to get to a dentist as soon as possible.
5. Flossing Requires a Special Technique
Flossing often is misunderstood. Just going to the dentist, even when there’s nothing wrong, can be useful in helping you to better understand the technique.
Your dentist wants you to know flossing doesn’t have to be painful. It’s all in the approach.
Many people start on one side of the tooth at the bottom edge. From there, they stab upward to get in between teeth. Inevitably, they poke the sensitive tissue known as the gum, causing slight pain and bleeding.
The unpleasantness of it probably is why so many choose not to do it. With better technique, this problem goes away.
Try instead to wrap the floss around both sides of the tooth and thread it gently upward. This helps you gain access to any lodged food without applying a lot of pressure.
6. Your Brushing Tactics May Be Doing More Harm Than Good
Use circular motions away from the gums. That means brushing your top teeth will require you to brush downward. Brushing the bottoms will require you to brush upward.
Also, use soft-bristled toothbrushes. These ensure you don’t damage your gums or enamels when applying the force necessary to remove plaque. Here are a few more tips on proper brushing techniques.
7. More Meals Mean More Brushing
Twice a day is a good rule to live by when it comes to brushing. However, there are some who should consider brushing more. Examples:
- People training for an athletic event
- Anyone looking to jumpstart their metabolism
These individuals generally eat more meals throughout the day. They prefer the energy-boosting benefits of doing so compared to saving all their calorie expenditures for traditional breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
If you do have multiple smaller meals and feel the need to brush more, it’s vital you stick with soft bristles. Don’t overdo the pressure you apply when cleaning your teeth because it can wear on enamel.
8. Sugars and Starches Cause Cavities
In large quantities, sugars and starches are bad for your overall health. The same goes for your dental health.
They are two of the most common drivers of tooth decay. Having them just before bed is especially damaging as your mouth collects the greatest quantity of bacteria overnight. That’s why you feel funk-mouth in the mornings.
9. Fluoride Is a Good Thing
Fluoride in huge quantities, like anything, can be harmful. Particularly for infants. There’s a reason city utility departments work to control the amounts allowed in drinkable water supplies.
However, for dental purposes, it’s a good thing. It remineralizes the enamel of your teeth after sugars and plaque bacteria work to break it down. This cleans the tooth and helps lower the probability of developing tooth decay.
10. Eat Right
A dentist nowadays will do more than just clean your teeth. He or she also can provide you with information about the foods you should be eating in order to improve or maintain dental health.
Your dentist wants you to know the food choices you make matter, no matter how good you are at taking care of your teeth.
Going to the Dentist Also Should Be Priority
Going to the dentist doesn’t have to be intimidating. And the more of the things you do on this list, the better your chances of avoiding a dental emergency.
But if you do have an emergency, contact DentaCare of Knoxville today. We keep late hours during the week, are open on Saturdays, and offer same-day appointments for any emergency you may have.