You know the importance of brushing two or three times a day, and flossing at least once a day, in maintaining good oral health. But did you know there are other measures you should also take if you want to keep your teeth for a lifetime? Keep your mouth healthy by following these simple measures:
Visit your dental office at least twice a year: This is probably the most important thing to do. With regularly scheduled visits to your dentist, your oral health can be closely monitored and any change in your oral health can be addressed in a timely manner. Also, be sure to ask your dentist how often you should schedule regular appointments. They will be familiar with your particular situation and know the best oral health examination schedule for you to follow. Most adults will need to see their dentist more than two times a year.
Be aware of your overall health condition: Your oral health depends on many factors, including your overall health, any medications you may be taking, and of course your oral hygiene routine. Many systemic diseases also have an oral component. Poor gum health can lead to problems such as heart attack, stroke, and/or blood sugar control, and medications that cause a decrease in saliva can predispose you to cavities. Be alert to changes in your mouth, and examine your mouth weekly for changes that might be of concern. If you notice a change in your general health condition, it is a good idea to visit your dentist to ensure your teeth and mouth are healthy. Talk to your dentist or dental hygienist about your oral health practices and develop an effective routine.
Use fluoride products: Everyone, regardless of age, can benefit from using fluoride. Fluoride strengthens developing teeth in children and helps prevent decay in adults and children. Toothpastes and alcohol-free mouthwashes are good sources of fluoride. Ask your dentist if you might need a stronger concentration of fluoride in a gel, toothpaste or rinse. Also inquire if a fluoride treatment after your cleanings would be beneficial for you.
Eat a healthy and balanced diet, and limit snacks: A healthy, balanced diet is essential for good general and oral health. When you eat, bits of food become lodged in and around your teeth, and this provides fuel for the bacteria in plaque. The bacteria produce acid, and when you eat food containing sugars or starches, your teeth are exposed to these acids. If you eat snacks throughout the day, the repeated exposure to this acid can break down the enamel surface of your teeth, eventually leading to a cavity. If you snack, be sure to brush your teeth or chew sugarless gum afterward.
Do not use tobacco in any form: Use of tobacco in any form increases the risk of oral cancer, periodontitis, and tooth decay. Use of tobacco also stains teeth and causes bad breath. A regular examination is particularly important for tobacco users.