Let’s Talk Teeth
We’re diligent about making our biannual dental appointments. We brush after our meals and on a good day, we remember to floss afterward, too. Yet, for all of the attention that most of us pay to our teeth, we could be getting a lot of it wrong. From the instruments we’re using at home to how we react while reclined in the hygienist’s chair, there’s plenty of room for error. Let’s take a look at five things your dentist would love to tell you to get you on the right track toward a healthier and brighter smile.
1. You can talk to them about more than teeth.
You naturally associate your dentist with dental care, and for good reason. He or she is the person you see to remove that pesky plaque, get your chompers sparkling clean, and fix any cosmetic dental issues like a chipped tooth. Yet, you’d be remiss not to also discuss your overall oral health with them while you’re in the chair. From gum concerns to jaw pain and a score of issues in between, don’t be afraid to talk to your dentist or hygienist about anything that’s bugging you. Bringing up even the smallest detail can help them detect more serious complications, such as oral cancer, so speak up and make sure to never skip a regular appointment.
2. You’re probably using your toothpaste incorrectly.
It’s toothpaste. You just squeeze it out of the tube and onto your brush, then start scrubbing away, right? Actually, no. According to experts, it’s important to think about your toothpaste more as a lotion rather than a soap. You’re not so interested in the foaming action or the bubbles that it creates, and you’re not looking to use it abrasively. Instead, leave it on your teeth for a little while longer than you might think is necessary. While you’re taking your time, go ahead and brush, then spit out the excess foam. Then, wait just a little while to rinse your mouth thoroughly. A good rule of thumb is around 30 minutes. Taking this extra time can help make sure that you’re making the most of each tube and maximizing its benefits.
3. Yes, flossing really is that important.
It’s one of the simplest and most effective ways to remove plaque and stuck-in food, prevent cavities, and ward off tooth decay. Yet, only 30% of people floss daily. If you’re one of those people who quickly flosses guiltily before a dentist appointment, don’t waste your time. Dentists can tell when someone has done a quick job of it prior to coming in. Especially if you haven’t established a flossing routine, this last-minute band-aid can actually do more harm than good to your gums, leaving them raw and even bleeding if they’re not used to the friction.
4. A solid dental routine helps your whole body.
Did you know that when you brush and floss your teeth regularly, you’re also helping your heart? It’s true! Science reveals that the bacteria linked to tooth decay and the strain that causes heart disease are one in the same. The takeaway? Eliminating as much of that bacteria in your mouth as possible can help make sure the rest of your body stays healthy. On the other hand, if you’re not diligent about taking care of your teeth, that bacteria can travel through your bloodstream to the rest of your body, putting you at a higher risk for other, more significant issues down the road due to inflammation.
So, rather than thinking of your mouth as an entity separate from the rest of your body, consider it a vessel to it, and treat it as such.
5. Your baby needs to see them, too.
Your parents might shake their heads when you mention taking your child to a pediatric dentist. After all, they might not have taken you until you had a full set of permanent teeth, and you turned out just fine. The reality, however, is that as soon as your baby’s first tooth erupts (around his first birthday), it’s time to get a quick dental check-up. At this time, the dentist will be able to spot any concerning growth patterns, make sure your baby’s gums are in great shape, and answer any questions you might have about teething. Your dentist can also help you spot and prevent tooth decay, which is especially common among bottle-fed babies who go to bed with sugary liquid on their tiny teeth.
These are just a few of the things your dentist would love to tell you, and you can discuss any or all of them in detail with your own dental professional. At the end of the day, taking care of your teeth is one of the wisest and most beneficial things you can do for your health.
So start that conversation today and reap the benefits for years to come.
Courtney Myers has been a professional writer for about 10 years. She has worked in proposal development, grant writing, and content creation for a variety of industry niches. She’s been published in USA Today, Today.com, Red Tricycle, and more!
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