Posted On 11 Oct 2012
This year’s National Dental Oral Hygiene Month, NDHM theme
“It’s Simple. Healthy habits for a healthy smile,” promotes the idea that good oral hygiene habits are simple to establish and maintain, even for the person living an active lifestyle. “Brush, Floss, Rinse, Chew” reminds consumers that keeping a healthy mouth can have lasting effects, including helping prevent oral disease.
Prevention is the most important, as nearly 80 percent of all Americans have some form of periodontal disease, which is easily preventable with a good oral hygiene care routine. Making time for good oral hygiene is vastly important, and incorporating a daily brushing and flossing routine into a busy schedule is vital in the prevention of gum disease and tooth decay at any age. Regular visits to your dental hygienist or dentist are critical in determining the best plan for you as an individual as well as catching any potential problems, such as gingivitis, at an early stage.
For a healthy smile, visit your dentist and dental hygienist at least twice a year. During your visit, you may have x-rays taken to check bone levels to see if there is any bone loss and for any signs of cavities not visible during your oral exam. Your dental hygienist or dentist will measure your gums for signs of gum disease and remove plaque and tartar buildup. You will also receive an oral cancer screening.
At home, to maintain your oral health:
1- Brush for two minutes 2-3 times daily with fluoridated toothpaste and don’t forget to brush your tongue
2- Floss once daily to reach areas between your teeth that the toothbrush misses
3- Use an anti-microbial mouth rinse
4- Chew sugar-free gum after meals when you can’t brush
5- Eat a healthy diet, rich in fruit and veggies. Avoid sugary foods and eat a high fiber diet of fruits and veggies such as apples and carrots to help prevent tooth decay
6- See the dentist regularly. Children should start seeing a dentist within six months of getting their first tooth, make sure you are shown proper ways of brushing and flossing and taking care of your teeth at home
The current economic climate is causing many people to either postpone the dental treatment plans recommended by their dentists, or to put off dental visits altogether. Unfortunately, there are long-term health risks associated with postponing dental care.
Some of the health risks are:
•Tooth decay is a progressive disease. Postponing treatment can lead to more complex, more invasive, and more expensive treatment, such as root canals or extractions.
•The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) warns that the mouth is the gateway to the body and is challenged by invasions by bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi. There are 120 diseases, including early signs of HIV infection, oral herpes virus, heart disease, diabetes and oral cancer that can be detected while sitting in the dental chair. Some of these diseases can be asymptomatic. Postponing your dental checkup could prevent the opportunity for early detection and treatment that could prolong or even save your life.
•Recent studies that have been reviewed by The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) have linked undiagnosed and untreated gum disease with a negative impact on patients’ heart health, diabetes, pregnancy, and other systemic health conditions.
•Chronic bad breath is usually due to conditions that may be easily prevented by regular dental cleaning appointments and consultation.
Keep in mind that your smile is the first thing a potential employer or manager sees and in this competitive job market we are in now, having bad breath, discolored, decayed, or missing teeth are one of the top reasons you may not get hired!
If more people truly comprehended the connection between the mouth and overall health, I believe they would prioritize their discretionary spending accordingly. Choosing between undergoing infection in the gums or cavity treatment versus buying a new cell phone, wireless computer pad, weekly professional hair and nail grooming, or taking expensive vacations would become the best decision someone can make for themselves and their families.
Talk to your dentist, he or she realizes the tough times we are in and may have some solutions for you, like:
• Prioritizing your treatment plan. Ask what needs to be done immediately and what can wait until you have more discretionary income.
• Most dentists are very flexible when it comes to paying out-of-pocket expenses. Ask about alternative payment options like 0% interest financing, using a credit card, or working out an in-office payment plan.
Last but not least, remember, just because it doesn’t hurt, doesn’t mean you don’t have cavities or periodontal disease. Good oral hygiene is very important, but it does not replace your dental visits.
Call now if you need a caring dentist for you and your family in Los Angeles area dental office: (323) 771-7254.
By Ladan Zinati