If you’ve put your dental health on the back burner for whatever reason, consider making this year the year that you get back on track. It’s not difficult to get started, but you may be afraid that you’ve held off on check-ups for so long that you’re bound to discover bad news once you finally do go. While your fears are completely valid, realistically, the longer you wait, the more problems you will have to deal with. However, modern dentistry has made it easier than ever for people to revive their oral health with minimal pain and discomfort.
Start with a Checkup
If it’s been over a year since you’ve had a checkup, cleaning, and x-rays, it’s time to make an appointment. Even if you feel like there’s nothing wrong, the chances are that you have a buildup of plaque in places that you can’t see. X-rays will be able to tell if your teeth are healthy even below the gum line because there’s more to your dental health than what meets the surface. If you have plaque building up, it can cause even more significant issues like decay (cavities) or gum disease. You’re going to want to get into the dentist before this takes place because it could save you from having to deal with fillings or potentially root canals in the future.
Get a Cleaning and Repairs
Depending on what your dentist says at your checkup, you may need to get a deep clean to remove the plaque that has built around your teeth. This is also a necessary time for the dentist to check to see how well your gums are doing and look at any old dental work that may need to be redone. Typically, fillings last about ten years, but some can last as long as twenty. You may not even know that you’ve cracked a filling or crown since sometimes they are placed on teeth that have had root canals. Bacteria and particles can still enter those cracks and cause a world of problems, so it’s important to make sure they are holding up. A cleaning and plans to fix any chipped or broken past dental work should help you wipe the slate clean for a fresh start into 2019.
Now that you’ve gotten yourself checked out and prepared for a future of better oral health, you have to keep up the excellent work! Start by getting a quality toothbrush, whether it be electric or a trusty old manual brush. The bristles should be soft and not too abrasive on your teeth. Studies have shown that electric toothbrushes do a bit better of a job keeping your teeth clean and your gums healthy, so ask your dentist for recommendations. While you’re picking up a new brush, grab some floss too. It may seem like a tedious task, but flossing can significantly decrease your chances of developing cavities and gum disease in the future. The more you floss, the easier it gets and the cleaner your teeth will be, easy!
Improve your Diet
Oral care is just one part of your overall health. If your mouth is healthy, your body entire body is already doing better. As you know, everything you eat must first enter your mouth, making it the gatekeeper of your nutrition. This also means that your teeth are being exposed to everything you eat and drink, which can sometimes also harm them. If you want to continue to take proper care of your teeth, take a closer look at what you’re putting in your body at mealtime. The ADA suggests avoiding sugar-laded snacks and sodas to avoid tooth decay. While it’s impossible to avoid all sugar, cutting out or limiting the number of sweets and sugary drinks will make a difference. Make sure you’re getting all your vitamins and minerals too, as they are important for mouth tissue and resisting infection.
Quit Bad Habits
If you’re already trying to make this a great year for your oral health, then why not give your bad habits the boot? Smoking, biting nails, using your teeth as tools are all habits that could potentially harm your mouth. You won’t be able to break these habits overnight, but with some perseverance, they can be overcome. There are many medical solutions that are helping people stop smoking, so check with your doctor to see if you could be a candidate. For other habits, it will take mindfulness or some nifty tricks like wearing bad-tasting nail polish that discourages nibbling. Some experts say that it takes 21 days to break a bad habit, give it your best effort for three weeks!
Prevent Future Problems
After your checkup and cleaning, your dentist will tell you what you should be keeping an eye on. Everyone has different dental needs, and these needs all depend on things like genetics, bite pattern, habits, and lifestyle. As you age, you will start to notice that your problems may be more specific like recessing gums or tooth sensitivity. These issues are best maintained with regular dental checkups to make sure things are in tip top shape. You may also want to think about investing in some things like a water irrigator, tongue scraper, and some mouthwash you enjoy to take your dental care to the next level. The best tool you have is prevention!
As we approach the halfway mark of 2019, make sure you are finishing off this year on a strong note. If you’ve been putting off a dentist visit due to fear or anxiety, there are ways to work with your dentist to overcome those obstacles. Contact our office for a tour or to discuss any concerns you may have. We will do whatever we can to make your visit comfortable and effective. Oral health is an integral part of overall wellness, so take the steps towards a better future by booking an appointment for a checkup or cleaning and get started today!