Our dental mission statement should not be just reacting to and treating problems; instead our priority should be in the prevention of oral problems before they occur.
What 5 things can we all do to improve our oral health?
1) Throw your toothbrush away. Toothbrushes should be replaced every 3 months and after illness (colds, flu, etc.) The important considerations are a brush that fits the size and shape of your mouth that is durable and has soft bristles.
2) Brush your teeth for a whole 2 minutes at least twice a day. Floss or use interproximal cleaners at least once a day. Water irrigate or vigorously rinse with water or mouthwash after you finish your tooth cleaning.
3) Limit the number of sodas, sports drinks and sweet tea and coffees you drink daily. Drink water. Tap water has no sugar to cause dental decay. Fluoridation to prevent decay. No calories to cause weight gain. Fights dry mouth (decreased saliva which increases the risk of decay).
4) Avoid all tobacco products. If you are a smoker you should be concerned about the effects smoking has on your health. Oral cancers accounted for over 7,000 deaths in the United States last year (1% of all cancer deaths). Persons with a previous history of oral cancer and combination tobacco and alcohol users over the age of forty are at the highest risk. However, oral cancer is universally found in persons of all ages and backgrounds.
5) Visit the Dentist if it’s been over 6 months or you can’t remember when your last visit was. At a regular dental visit you have an examination of your teeth and mouth. A periodontal (gums) evaluation is done. Your oral hygiene home care is evaluated. You get your teeth professionally cleaned and polished (removes plaque, tartar and stains). X-rays are taken if needed. Teeth are treated with Fluoride compounds. Oral hygiene techniques (brushing, flossing, and the use of other inter-dental cleaners) are reviewed. This is your chance to address questions and concerns.
Dental diseases are not completely preventable. Without a cure, utilize the modern dental technologies for maximum prevention and limit destruction with early treatment.
The key tools in preventing tooth problems are cleaning your teeth every day, your diet, fluoride and dental sealants. Regular dental cleanings bring everything together.