By Darla Scheidt
Daily oral hygiene combined with regular visits to your dentist can help ward off harmful bacteria that lead to tooth decay, gum disease and other oral infections. With improved oral health, you can look great, feel better and avoid unnecessary — and costly — dental treatments down the road.
The good news is that achieving optimal dental health is easy! Here are a few simple secrets for smile success and improved long-term oral health.
Brush up at the office
A healthier smile begins every morning and ends every night if you follow a consistent tooth-brushing regimen. But since the foods you eat during the day contribute to plaque build-up, twice-a-day brushing may not be enough to keep cavities at bay. Keep a toothbrush in your desk at work, and brush after lunch to promote a healthier smile and optimal plaque removal.
While many people take the time to brush twice a day, fewer people follow the recommendation to floss daily. Floss is designed to remove plaque from the tight spaces between the teeth and under the gumline where a toothbrush can’t reach. By flossing your teeth once a day, you can significantly decrease your chance of getting gum disease and other harmful oral infections.
Cut back on sodas and sweets
Poor eating habits often show up first in your oral health. That’s because sugary and acidic foods and drinks can destroy enamel and increase tooth decay. Drink soda, juice and coffee in moderation, limit snacking between meals and opt for healthier foods, like fruits and veggies over sweets. Over time, your mouth and body will thank you for these subtle, but important, changes to your diet.
Know your mouth
Make a point to regularly examine all areas of your mouth. Unusual changes, such as swollen gums, discolored teeth, or sores on your cheeks or tongue should be reported to your dentist. It takes just a few minutes while you’re brushing and, if detected early, could save you the need for extensive dental treatment.
Put bad habits to rest
Smoking and tobacco products can increase your risk for oral cancer, gingivitis, tooth decay, bad breath, enamel stains and gum disease. Do yourself a favor and give up tobacco use altogether — it’s good for your smile and your total body health!
Visit your dentist
Finally, visit your dentist twice a year for routine exams to keep your teeth healthy and strong. Since many dental issues are painless at first, without professional care from your dentist, you may not be aware of problems until they cause serious damage — and pain. A dentist can identify problem areas in their early, minor stages.
If it sounds too easy to prevent tooth decay and other oral diseases with preventive care, that’s because it is! A combination of consistent oral hygiene, simple lifestyle changes and regular visits to your dentist will help you avoid many dental problems and keep your natural teeth for a lifetime.
– Darla Scheidt is the Marketing Director for the multi-specialty group dental practice in the Chicago Western suburbs, Grove Dental Associates. With over 30 doctors and 40 years of practice experience, Grove Dental’s four offices stay on the cutting edge of dentistry to better serve patients.