We’ve heard the same mantra most of our lives – if you want to keep your teeth healthy, be sure to brush thoroughly twice per day. While this advice holds true, there are a few other things you should do in order to avoid problems such as tooth decay or gum issues. By doing so, you will help avoid the need for costly and undesirable dental procedures such as root canals and tooth extractions.
For starters, it’s important to maintain a good dental hygiene regimen on a regular basis. This begins with twice daily brushing but should also include daily flossing, since there are areas of the teeth that cannot be reached through brushing alone. Although some people think that they can skip flossing, the fact is that this simple step is as important to maintaining tooth and gum health as just about anything you can do.
You’ll also want to stick to a regular schedule of preventative dental appointments. Most dentists recommend twice yearly visits, although if you have any type of issues impacting your oral health, such as gum disease, you may be told to schedule visits more often. During your routine exams, your teeth will be professionally cleaned and the dentist will be able to monitor any signs of deteriorating oral health. For example, the dentist may identify small areas of tooth decay that can be filled with a dental filling before the decay becomes more extensive. When too much of the tooth’s surface needs to be removed due to decay, a simple filling may not suffice to maintain the integrity of the tooth and instead you may require a more costly dental crown to provide adequate support and strength.
Routine visits are also the perfect time for dentists to monitor the conditions of your gums. A vast majority of adults have some degree of gum disease and if left untreated, minor gum irritation can result in more serious gum issues. Professional cleanings help to maintain gum health by removing any built-up plaque and tartar along the gum line which can lead to irritation and the detrimental effects of bacteria residing on and around the gums.
Other ways to maintain your tooth and gum health are by following proper safety precautions and employing some common sense. For example, if you are engaging in contact sports, it’s best to wear a mouthguard to protect teeth from chips, cracks and even worse. You’ll also want to avoid sticking sharp objects into the gums, such as toothpicks and paper clips. It’s easy to tell children what they need to do to remain safe and protect their teeth, but even as adults, we need to take the proper steps to safeguard our pearly whites.
If you need some incentive to follow proper tooth and gum care, consider this. Having a root canal procedure performed because decay has gone untreated, requiring a tooth extraction because a tooth has been cracked beyond repair or needing a dental implant to replace a missing tooth is not only costly, but time-consuming and somewhat unpleasant to have to endure. By doing your best to keep your teeth and gums healthy, you’ll be less likely to need more extensive dental care – and that should give you a reason to smile.
For more information about proper tooth and gum care, contact the general and cosmetic dentistry practice of Gentle Dental in Queens at 718-461-0100.