The health of our teeth might not be something we think of on an everyday basis, but when that toothache kicks in, it’s difficult not to notice. If you’ve ever had a toothache, you know the pain can be excruciating and often requires immediate dental attention. Hopefully our tips will help prevent you from reaching this point.
Our oral health has a major impact on our ability to eat, speak, smile and show emotions, so having excellent oral hygiene can go a long way. In this Health Journal, we’ll discuss a few common Oral Health conditions and provide some tips that will help prevent you from reaching the point of pain while keeping your smile healthy and happy.
Tips for Healthy Teeth
Achieving and maintaining healthy teeth takes a lifetime of care that involves using the right oral care products and being mindful of daily habits. Even if you’ve been told that you have nice teeth, it’s important to take the right steps in your care to prevent future problems. Below are a few tips we recommend to keep your teeth happy and healthy.
- Don’t go to bed without brushing: We have all heard the general recommendation to brush twice a day, but many of us neglect brushing our teeth at night. A long day of work, kid’s activities and minimal time can sometimes make it difficult for us to get that second brush in during the night. However, it’s very important! Brushing before bed helps get rid of the germs and plaque that has accumulated throughout the day and doesn’t allow it to sit on your teeth during the entirety of your sleep.
- Brush properly: Brushing your teeth is a very crucial step, but doing it in the correct way is just as important. Doing a poor job of brushing your teeth can be almost equivalent as not brushing at all. Take your time and move the toothbrush in a gentle, circular motion to remove plaque. Unremoved plaque can harden and lead to calculus buildup and gingivitis.
- Don’t neglect your tongue: We know that getting plaque and germs off our teeth is important, but they can also buildup on the tongue if not addressed. Not only can plaque and germs lead to bad breath, but it can lead to other oral health problems as well. We recommend including your tongue in your brushing routine and do it each and every time you brush your teeth.
- Use a fluoride toothpaste: When it comes to choosing a toothpaste, there are a ton of options and brands to choose from. There are elements like whitening and flavor that make a difference for some people, but no matter your choice, make sure it contains fluoride. While it has been criticized for its possible impact on the other areas of our health, fluoride remains a critical piece to oral health. Fluoride is the leading defense against tooth decay as it fights germs that lead to that decay while also providing a protective barrier for your teeth. So no matter the brand, flavor or type of toothpaste you enjoy, double check that it includes the all-important fluoride.
- Don’t forget to floss: Whether it’s time constraints or you simply forget, many of us who brush regularly neglect to floss. Sometimes we think of flossing as a way to get food out of our teeth, but it’s much more than that. Jonathan Schwartz, DDS. stated, “It’s really a way to stimulate the gums, reduce plaque, and help lower inflammation in the area.”
- Consider mouthwash: Ads on TV often make it seem like mouthwash is a necessity to great oral health, but many people skip it because they’re not sure how it specifically works or how it’s going to help them. Schwartz added that mouthwash works in three ways: It reduces the amount of acid in the mouth, cleans those hard to reach areas in and around the gums and it re-mineralizes the teeth.
- Drink more water: As we know, water is always recommended as the best beverage to drink for overall health. However, it can be helpful for our teeth to drink water after each meal, as it will help wash away some of the sticky and acidic foods and beverages we have eaten between brushings.
- See your dentist: Our everyday habits are crucial to the overall health of our teeth, but even the best brushers and flossers need to see a dentist on a regular basis. It is recommended that we all see our dentist twice a year for cleanings and checkups, because not only do they look for cavities, but they spot potential issues and offer treatment solutions.
Oral Health Conditions:
Now that we have discussed a few tips to keep our teeth happy and healthy, we’re going to discuss a few of the most commonly seen oral health conditions. We have included them down below:
- Cavities: We’ve all heard of cavities but we might not know exactly what they are. Cavities are caused by a breakdown of the tooth enamel by acids produced by bacteria located in plaque that collects on the teeth, and especially along the gumline. Eating and drinking foods high in carbohydrates causes this bacteria to produce that acids that ultimately breakdown the outer coating of our teeth.
- Gum (Periodontal) Disease: Based on the statistics, about 4 in 10 adults aged 30 years or older had gum disease in 2009-2014. Gum disease is mainly the result of infections and inflammation of the gums and bone that surround and support the teeth. Certain chronic conditions increase one’s risk for periodontal disease including diabetes, a weakened immune system, poor oral hygiene, and heredity.
- Oral Cancer: In just 2016, there were nearly 45,000 new cases of cancer of the oral cavity and pharynx diagnosed in the United States and more than 10,000 deaths. The 5-year survival rate for these cancers is about 61 percent. The mortality rate from oral cancer is nearly three times as high in males as it is in females and nearly twice as high in white and black populations as it is in Hispanic populations. Preventing high risk behaviors like cigarette, cigar or pipe smoking, chewing tobacco and excessive use of alcohol are crucial in helping prevent oral cancer.