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Health & Wellness / Healthy America

Tips for Preventing Dental Problems

teeth-dental-healthGoing to the dentist to replace a lost filling can be a miserable and costly experience. Not only do we lose time at work, the bill is likely to be expensive, and the procedure may be uncomfortable, or worse yet– painful. The best way to ward off dental problems is to take good care of your teeth. Here are 10 commonsense ways to prevent dental problems:

  • Limit your intake of sugary and acidic foods and beverages that are known to cause decay over time. Replace soda with water and avoid drinking excess fruit juice. Do not bite into hard candies or ice which can damage your enamel or break your teeth. Stay away from gummy foods which can tug at fillings and stick to your teeth.
  • Visit your dentist for regular cleanings at least once a year. Dental hygienists use professional tools to remove stubborn plaque, tartar, and bacteria that can easily build up in your mouth. A professional cleaning can reach places in your mouth that you may miss. Your dentist can give you tips for maintaining good oral health and screen you for gum disease and oral cancer. They can also make sure you have no issues with chewing or biting, and ensure that you are happy with your smile.
  • Avoid smoking which can permanently stain your teeth and cause tooth and gum issues. Many people are unaware that smoking can lead to severe gum disease. Smoking also weakens the immune system and makes it difficult to fight gum infections. Also, it can take longer for smokers’ gums to heal. Should your dentist recommend a lifestyle change, such as reducing your intake of sweets or suggesting that you stop smoking, do not be offended. Note that it is because your dentist is concerned for your overall dental wellbeing.
  • Brush your teeth at home two to three times a day. The brush head should fit into your mouth comfortably so that you can easily reach tight spaces. Use a soft toothbrush to avoid being too abrasive on your teeth. For the outer and inner surfaces, hold the brush at a 45-degree angle. Use short strokes back and forth to gently clean your teeth. To brush the inside of your front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and move the toothbrush gently up and down. Don’t forget to clean in between your teeth and softly along the gumline. Spend at least two minutes brushing time. Do not overbrush as aggressive brushing can hurt your gums and harm the surface of your teeth.
  • Talk to your dentist regarding which toothpaste products are best for you. If you suffer from receding gums or enamel loss, your dentist will likely recommend a toothpaste designed for people with tooth sensitivity issues. Many studies have proven that fluoride is an effective way to control tooth decay. Watch out for some discount toothpastes that may lack fluoride. To be safe, choose a toothpaste recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA). The ADA is a reliable leading source of oral health related information and provides a seal of approval for the most effective products.
  • Ask your dentist about adding mouthwash to your preventative care. Some brands offer protection against cavities, cut mouth bacteria, and freshen breath. Using mouthwash may help by rinsing food particles from the mouth. However, the practice should never replace brushing and flossing.
  • Flossing daily is essential to good dental health because it helps to remove food, plaque, and bacteria that can get stuck between your teeth. The floss can go places that your toothbrush cannot reach. Be sure to guide the floss gently between your teeth and never tug, pull, or snap the floss into the gums. Toss dental floss after use, and never reuse the strand as it could reintroduce bacteria back into your mouth. If you have a tough time using unwaxed dental floss, try using waxed instead. Because the waxed variety is coated, it may glide between your teeth easier.
  • Some vitamins and minerals are generally good for your dental health; such as Vitamin A, calcium, and Vitamin D. If you have concerns over getting enough nutrients via your daily diet, talk to your dentist. Your dentist may make suggestions such as eating a diet rich in vegetables or encourage you to visit your family doctor to achieve better overall nutrition.
  • Your dentist will ask for your medical history and for a list of what drugs (prescription and non-prescription) and supplements you are taking. This information is required for patient safety and comfort. For example, high doses of vitamin C can weaken the efficiency of anesthesia. Thus, keeping lines of communication open is vital.

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Mary Beth

Fluoride is very harmful and does not improve dental health. Please reconsider that recommendation. A waterpik removes some particles that flossing leaves behind.

William Putnam

I’ve found, after 77 years of experience that one of the best ways to prevent dental problems is to swish Hydrogen Peroxide (3%), at a 1 to 1 ratio with water; for 3 minutes after brushing, and then swish with plain water to rinse. And, I’ve had no problems with cavities, abscesses, or bleeding gums.

Sonja K

As a retired registered dental hygienist of 36 years , I’ve seen many cases of gingivitis to severe periodontitis. I recommend , that, to brush each area to the count of ten. The instructions were correct but, I have seen so many patients that stay brushing on their favored side for 2 mins, then very little on the rest. Counting to ten on each spot caused a tremendous improvement on oral health in both children and adults alike. Bringing the floss slightly under the gumline, putting g a little pressure along the side surface o feach tooth will ensure the harmful bacterial plaque will be removed most thoroughly. Although H2O2 is really good, it is imparative to cut with water.as described in a comment. Rinsing with undiluted H2O2 CAN cause the normal bactiera in your mouth to be destroyed, opening up the chance for a fungal infection, or “black tongue”.… Read more »

Andie

My dentist is very cautious about using fluoride considering its bad health side effects. It may toughen the enamel exteriorly but does nothing where cavities start to form, at the dentin/enamel interface inside the tooth. He said “anyone that still thinks fluoride prevents cavities quit reading the professional dental journals sometime in the early 1970’s”. Instead of fluoridating the water supply, try fluoridating sugar!