What Your Dentist Wishes You Knew About Oral Health

March 31, 2016

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“You should be brushing at least twice a day, and you really need to floss more.” Who hasn’t heard these dental guidelines before? We usually have a good idea what the dentist or dental hygienist is going to say every time we sit in their chair.

However, there are actually a number of other things your dentist would like you to know about oral health beyond the importance of brushing and flossing. Here are a few examples:

There’s a wrong way to brush

Did you know you can brush your teeth too hard?

That may seem counter intuitive because brushing hard feels like it’s working better to clean the teeth. The trouble is that toothpaste is mildly abrasive and the bristles of your toothbrush are designed to use that abrasive quality to essentially “sand” bacteria and plaque off the surface of your teeth.

If you brush too hard, that same quality that cleans your teeth can actually wear down the protective enamel coating, leaving your teeth more susceptible to cavities, decay, and infection. In fact, it’s actually much better to brush gently, and do it more often.

WrongWaySign.pngRegular dentist visits are important to more than just your oral health. 

There’s also a wrong way to floss

"Many people dislike flossing because it can hurt and even cause your gums to bleed."

Many people dislike flossing because it can hurt and can even cause your gums to bleed. What they don’t realize, though, is that flossing usually only hurts and causes damage if it’s done incorrectly.

Instead of inserting the floss between the teeth and forcing it up and down along the side of the tooth, which can irritate the gums, and may even be pushing plaque under the gumline instead of removing it, try placing the floss against the side of each tooth and gently move it back and forth across the tooth while slowly moving up and down.

Maybe after a few pain-free flossing sessions, you’ll find that doing it as much as your dentist wants you to won’t be so hard.

The every-six-months rule isn’t just a profit booster for dentists

While the notion exists that going to the dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning is excessive, there are two very good reasons for maintaining a biannual visit:

  • Regular cleanings twice a year are easier on the hygienist and the patient, even if your home care skills are less than perfect. They’re quicker, less painful, and more effective.
  • Regular examinations give your dentist the opportunity to catch potentially harmful issues, from soon-to-be-cavities or more serious conditions, early enough before they cause you suffering and cost you a lot of money.

Tooth decay is one of the most common childhood illnesses

ChildToothHurt.pngEnsuring children have access to regular dental care sets good habits for the future. 

Tooth decay is actually the most common preventable illness affecting children in the United States, and it’s even more common in developing countries. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, tooth decay in children is “5 times more common than asthma, 4 times more common than early childhood obesity, and 20 times more common than diabetes.”

The prevalence of sugary drinks combined with poor oral hygiene habits are linked to the bulk of cases dentists see every year. And the habits these children are forming in childhood tend to carry over into adulthood, increasing the chances of further problems down the road.

For parents, it’s important to help your children form good oral hygiene habits early by limiting their access to sugary drinks and making sure they brush and floss after every meal.

Poor dental hygiene can mean serious health problems

The direct connection between oral health and more well-known serious health conditions has been established in the medical field for years. Unfortunately, most people are unaware of the connection.

Here is just a brief list of some of the illnesses and conditions that can be directly impacted by poor oral health and the inflammatory gum disease it can cause:

  •     Diabetes
  •     Heart disease 
  •     Osteoporosis
  •     Respiratory Disease
  •     Cancer
  •     Stroke

Other dangerous conditions can be caused by the chronic pain associated with tooth decay and other periodontal diseases, including malnutrition. It’s not just about how white your teeth are. Oral health is directly connected to overall health.

While your dentist might repeatedly tell you to brush and floss more, the goal is to ultimately to keep your mouth and overall body healthy over time. Want more tips on how to improve your oral health and save on dental careContact us today to learn how our dental savings card can help you cut dental care costs.

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