6 Ways You Can Practice Excellent Preventive Oral Health Habits
How does preventive dentistry help your oral health?
Preventive dentistry is all about taking the appropriate steps to maintain and protect oral health. We may only sometimes think about how important our oral health is. However, consider your mouth the gateway to the rest of your body. Taking good care of your teeth and gums makes you want to smile more (good for you and everyone around you), which is good for your body too.
Preventive dentistry consists of two primary components:
- Practicing good oral care at home
- Visiting the dentist every six months for preventive care
The fact is that even though we may try to take the best possible care of our teeth at home, only your dental team can remove stubborn plaque once it has hardened on your teeth. So while you should be sure to brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once daily, combining those steps with regular visits to the dentist can help improve your oral health and keep your mouth in tip-top shape. Routine preventive care from your dentist includes not only a professional cleaning but also necessary imaging, a thorough oral evaluation, and preventive dentistry treatments such as fluoridate and sealants.
Tips To Help You Improve Your Oral Health
One of the best things you can do for your overall health is to improve your oral health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, poor oral health is correlated with chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. It’s true! And since oral health is important to your dentist in St. Joseph, Michigan, we’ve put together a list of 6 things you can do to practice excellent preventive oral health habits.
1. Angle your toothbrush correctly.
When holding your toothbrush, aim it at a 45-degree angle toward the gumline and keep it in that direction while you brush in a small, circular motion. Holding your toothbrush at this angle more effectively cleans beneath your gumline and helps prevent gum infections and diseases.
2. Experiment with tooth-friendly snacks and recipes.
So many foods we love to eat are full of sugar and acids that erode enamel. Eating dairy, cheese, and meats help provide essential vitamins and nutrients without harming our teeth and gums. Experiment with some tooth-friendly recipes if you want to improve your oral health (and overall health too). Some of our favorites are teriyaki salmon, cheesy baked spinach casserole, and banana smoothies. Or check out our article about healthy Halloween foods your family will love. Who says you can’t enjoy those fun treats throughout the year?
3. Replace that coffee and pop with water.
We know that most people need a caffeine boost now and then, but unfortunately, coffee and pop, which tend to provide that brief energy boost, aren’t all that good for your teeth. Drinking coffee increases your risk of cavities because it’s acidic, which can erode your enamel. And the carbonation in pop—not to mention the sugar content—adds to the acidity in the beverage, and these acids eat away at the enamel that protects your teeth. The best drinks for your teeth include water and unsweetened tea.
4. Be in the know about gingivitis.
Gum disease causes gum irritation, redness, swelling, and bleeding around the base of your teeth. Gingivitis is the earliest gum disease stage and is reversible with good oral care at home and at the dentist. When you don’t catch and treat gingivitis early enough, it can progress into periodontitis, which is not only nonreversible but also a significant cause of tooth loss in adults.
5. Develop a growth mindset when it comes to your teeth.
Some patients develop a set-it-and-forget-it mentality when it comes to caring for their teeth and gums. They brush daily and maybe floss but don’t think about it much. And while this fixed mindset can be acceptable when things are going well, it can make it much more likely that something might be missed and caught too late. On the other hand, a growth mindset means you thrive on challenges and do not give up. This makes you more likely to do the following when it comes to your oral health:
- Prioritize your dental visits. Avoid falling into the trap of thinking, “I’m no good at remembering to schedule my dental appointments.”
- Approach things with curiosity. Ask your dentist questions about the latest oral health techniques and products.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you get a cavity, then let your dentist treat it, understand what caused it in the first place, and take charge of changing any necessary behaviors to prevent it from happening again.
6. Prioritize routine preventive cleanings and evaluations.
We’ve laid it on a bit thick here, but for good reason. You may be tempted to wait to visit the dentist until you experience a toothache or other discomfort. But this is far from ideal. Preventive dentistry focuses on the prevention of oral health issues like a toothache. So skipping out on those appointments every six months can actually result in unnecessary pain and expense, as preventive dentistry is often far more economical than restorative dentistry. Digital X-rays and cutting-edge dental technology make today’s dental appointments faster and more comfortable than ever. So don’t let life get in the way of making your trips to the dentist a reality.
Berrien Dental is your oral health partner.
At Berrien Dental in Berrien Springs and St. Joseph, Michigan, we offer preventive dental care that works for you. Check out our reviews and see what other patients have had to say. Whether you are dealing with a toothache or you want to get on the calendar for a professional dental cleaning, we’re here to help you prioritize your oral health. Request an appointment today.