How to Help Your Future Self Keep Your Oral Health Better and Longer
Keep your smile shining bright by focusing on these important factors for lifelong oral health.
Taking a serious approach to oral care doesn’t just mean we’ll have a beautiful smile to share now, but also that we’re preventing future oral health issues from occurring years from now.
Oral health is just the same as general health—in fact, they’re both directly connected. Just like eating well and exercising benefits our bodies immediately and in the future, caring for oral health and seeing the dentist regularly offers the same advantages for years to come.
Here are 4 important factors for lifelong oral health, including tips on how you can master each one.
1. Perfect your at-home oral hygiene routine.
Your at-home oral care routine has the most significant effect on the long-term health of your teeth and gums.
Scrape your tongue, floss, and then brush.
Before you brush your teeth, use a tongue scraper and floss. By scraping and flossing prior to brushing, you’re loosening up any stubborn food debris and plaque. This makes brushing much more effective and ensures a better clean.
Brush twice a day for two minutes.
The ADA-recommends brushing twice a day minimum. You can choose to brush after every meal, which is a good idea if you’ve eaten something sugary, sticky, or feel like you have food stuck in your teeth.
You should brush using the proper technique and a fluoride toothpaste for at least two minutes. It’s easy to underestimate how long two minutes really is, so set your timer on your phone to give yourself a reminder.
Invest in an electric toothbrush.
If you’re currently using a manual toothbrush, consider upgrading to an electric model. Electric toothbrushes have a number of benefits, including better plaque removal power, ease of use for those with mobility issues, healthy gum stimulation, and an overall more effective clean. Many also come with a built-in timer to help you brush for the full two minutes.
Don’t skip bedtime brushing.
You should strive to brush twice a day, morning and night, but you definitely don’t want to skip that bedtime brushing. Brushing before bed ensures your mouth is clean before resting for eight hours or more. Skipping bedtime brushing is more likely to cause bacteria growth and decay.
Finish your routine with a mouth rinse.
If you don’t already use a mouth rinse, consider starting. Mouth rinses are a great finishing touch for your at-home oral care routine. You can find mouth rinses suited for any concerns as well, such as freshening your breath, controlling plaque, or soothing your gums.
2. Eat a nutritious diet and adopt healthy lifestyle habits.
Your diet and your lifestyle habits are the foundation of your overall health, including your teeth and gums.
Switch to a healthy diet.
There’s nothing wrong with the occasional sweet treat, but if you find yourself eating a diet high in sugar, fats, salt, and processed foods, your oral health will suffer. Switch to a diet high in vegetables, low-acidity fruits, lean meat, and/or other protein sources. Focus on whole foods rather than processed foods.
Stop smoking and using tobacco products.
Smoking, vaping, and the use of other tobacco products is detrimental to your general health and oral health. Stopping these habits isn’t easy and can’t often be done “cold turkey,” but beginning the process of breaking these habits through self-help or professional help is always worth the effort.
Address bruxism and TMD issues.
If you experience temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) or bruxism (tooth grinding) symptoms it’s important to seek treatment. Not only do these disorders negatively affect your sleep and can leave you with headaches, but they also can lead to permanent damage to your teeth. Speak with your dentist if you’re experiencing any issues with unusual jaw soreness or a widespread dull pain across your teeth.
3. Take a proactive approach with preventive dental care.
Preventive dental care is the key to protecting your future oral health.
Don’t skip routine appointments.
Schedule your six-month dental checkups and cleanings ahead of time and do your very best to not skip them, even if your teeth feel fine. These routine appointments give your dentist a very important opportunity to catch developing issues before they become serious problems.
Don’t wait to get care when there’s a problem.
If you’re aware of an oral health issue, it’s vital that you react quickly and make time in your schedule to take care of it. If you’re very busy, speak with your dentist to see if you might be able to make a special appointment. If you feel anxious and afraid, reading about dental fear and having a private conversation with your dentist can go a long way in making you feel more comfortable.
Take issues like gum disease seriously.
Tender gums and light bleeding while flossing are early signs of gum disease. If your dentist has mentioned you have gingivitis or you suspect you do, the faster you seek treatment, the better. Gingivitis and mild gum disease are very treatable, but allow it to go too long and periodontitis will occur.
4. Preserve your long-term health with restorative dental care.
Even if your decay is under control, restorative dental care will ensure your teeth, gums, and jaw stay strong for years to come.
Protect weakened teeth with crowns.
Crowns are a common solution for protecting weakened teeth. If your dentist suggests a crown for a problem tooth, it’s for a good reason. Even if the tooth is now healthy and you have zero pain, a crown will prevent that tooth from developing further issues and potentially even breaking.
Get your missing teeth replaced.
Tooth loss doesn’t tend to affect your health right away, but over the course of a few years, it can lead to teeth shifting and even bone loss in your jaw. By replacing missing teeth now you’ll really be helping your future self have better health.
Ask your dentist about tooth replacement options and which are best for you. Dental implants are highly recommended and well worth the additional cost and recovery time. They are the only tooth replacement option that actually prevents bone loss from occurring.
The team at Farless Dental Group can’t wait to help you on your journey to healthier teeth and gums.
Farless Dental Group is currently closed for non-urgent appointments due to the coronavirus pandemic. If you have a dental problem, please call our office to speak with one of our staff to determine if you’re experiencing an emergency.
We look forward to getting back to the office as soon as it’s safe and to continue helping patients like you achieve their best possible level of oral health now and in the future.