While we may think of our mouth as an isolated and separate part of the body, the truth is that everything is linked. Proper oral health translates to better overall health and wellbeing. Dental complications are not only painful, but they can also affect your aesthetic appearance. Proper dental care is critical in ensuring that we maintain the health and integrity of our oral health.
Achieving healthy teeth takes a lifetime of care. Therefore, good dental care should begin from the first tooth to adulthood to ensure healthy gums and teeth. Brushing and flossing daily, taking healthy foods, avoiding habits like smoking, and making regular dental visits are beneficial in preventing gum disease, cavities, and other oral issues.
Oral health and care are sensitive aspects of our health. Therefore, you will not entrust it to just any dentist out there. At The Whittier Dentist, we are dedicated to guiding you through the process of ensuring proper dental care and providing effective dental treatments for all our clients in Whittier, CA.
Overview of Dental Care
Your oral health is a crucial aspect of your health and wellbeing. Dental complications are associated with pain, discomfort, and other complications that could affect your life significantly. Dental care involves practices geared towards maintaining and improving oral health. In the early years of dentistry, professionals were more focused on treating patients with tooth decay and cavities. It is possible to provide preventive care and treatment to prevent serious complications.
Dental Care Practices to Keep you and Your Family Healthy
There is more to a sparkling and healthy smile than the regular brushing and flossing of your teeth. The following are some standard dental care practices that you and your family should exercise to achieve and maintain a perfect and healthy smile:
Regular Brushing of your Teeth
Brushing your teeth is the most basic form of dental care. Brushing your teeth at least twice daily will help remove leftover food particles, tartar, and plaque from your teeth and gums. However, it is essential to understand that brushing is only effective when done correctly.
The correct technique of brushing your teeth means starting from the back, giving the full mouth the attention it deserves. You should brush your teeth in a circular motion and touch the top of your mouth. The process of brushing your teeth should not take less than two minutes. Other tips for effective brushing include:
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush or rough brushing can cause severe damage to your gums and tooth enamel. Additionally, it would help if you replaced your toothbrush every three months.
- Don’t brush too often. Brushing twice a day is enough. Brushing too often can cause irritation of the gums or weaken the tooth enamel and predispose it to more damage.
- Wait before your brush. After consuming acidic foods like carbonated drinks and citrus fruits, you must rinse your mouth with plain water and wait a while before brushing. Acidic foods corrode and weaken the tooth enamel. When you brush immediately after taking these foods, you increase the chances of damaging the tooth enamel.
- Don’t neglect your tongue. The tooth enamel and gums are not the only places bacteria can form. Some bacteria from leftover foods could be left on the tongue. For this reason, brushing your tongue is as essential as brushing your teeth. Failure to brush your tongue effectively could cause a transfer of bacteria to the teeth and gums, causing severe complications.
- Keep your toothbrush and toothbrush holder clean. Putting your toothbrush on the counter or at the corner of a sink after use is a great way to pick up bacteria that you can transfer to your teeth and gums. Instead, storing your toothbrush in a clean cup or toothbrush holder is better. In addition to cleaning and rinsing your toothbrush, you can occasionally soak it in an antibacterial mouthwash or a mixture of hydrogen peroxide.
- Switch to an electric toothbrush. For many years many people considered the manual toothbrush the standard. However, the electric toothbrush has become superior over the years. You must switch from manual to electric toothbrushes for proper dental care to enjoy the fantastic feeling and ultimate look. If your concern about switching to an electric toothbrush is the price, several manufacturers sell electric toothbrushes at an affordable price.
Don’t Forget to Floss your Teeth.
While you can clean your teeth by brushing, your toothbrush may not be effective in reaching in areas between your teeth and under the gums. Flossing is a procedure that involves using a short thread to clean areas that are difficult to reach with a toothbrush.
Brushing your teeth at least twice a day after meals would be best. However, flossing must only be done within 24 hours, and there is no ideal time to do it. Flossing right before bed would be wise so you can capture all the food particles that have accumulated in the mouth throughout the day.
Like a toothbrush, you should not share dental floss. After a single-use, the dental floss loses its potential to clean your teeth effectively. Therefore, it is not advisable to reuse it. Brushing after flossing forms an excellent oral hygiene routine. This is because when you spit out the toothpaste, you can dislodge all the particles between the teeth and gums.
The critical elements for proper flossing techniques include:
- Use enough floss. Using a long piece of thread may sound ridiculous. However, it helps maintain a clean spot as you move along the teeth. Wrap some of the floss around your fingers for easy navigation.
- Guide. Keep at least one inch of the thread between your fingers, and use the index finger to guide the thread between your teeth.
- Glide between the teeth. You use dental floss to not only remove food particles from between your teeth but also to remove tartar and plaque. Tartar is often very sticky, and you may need to glide the floss between the teeth for effective removal. Floss each tooth thoroughly and with a clean part of the thread.
- Form a C around your tooth. For effective cleaning of the enamel, you should force a C shape around the tooth with the thread and slowly pull it out.
- Reach both sides of the tooth. As you concentrate on removing particles stuck between teeth, you should not forget to clean the backside of the tooth.
It would be best to practice gentle flossing even when the debris between your teeth is stubborn. Poor and aggressive flossing can cause injuries to the gums and cause further dental complications. If you are unsure how to use dental floss on your natural teeth or when you have dental restorations, you must consult with your dentist.
Fluoride is a mineral that comes from fluorine. Experts believe fluoride helps strengthen the tooth enamel and protects your teeth from decay and damage. For this reason, the mineral is vital in mouthwash and toothpaste. Evidence suggests that even when you practice proper dental hygiene and fail to use fluoride, you may have to deal with cavities and decay.
Sometimes, fluoride is in the water we consume. However, some people do not use fluoridated dental products, and the water in their area has insufficient fluoride. This could increase their chances of dental complications. If you fall in this category, you may consider fluoride treatment for you and your family.
Florida treatment is a professional treatment that contains high fluoride concentration. The dentist often applies this treatment to improve the health of your teeth and reduce the risk of tooth decay and damage. The fluoride your dentist will use for this treatment is similar to the one in toothpaste. However, the concentration is higher. Some of the benefits of fluoride treatment include:
- It helps your body use other minerals like calcium and phosphate
- Strengthens the tooth enamel, mainly when applied to children
- Can reverse or slow down the development of tooth cavities
Check Your Diet
What you put in your mouth affects the outcomes of your oral health. For this reason, checking your diet is a significant component of dental care. Bad food choices can cause physical damage to your teeth and promote bacteria that cause tooth decay. When you think about good oral health, you should practice;
- Taking a lot of water. Water helps rinse away excessive acids from foods and leftover particles. Additionally, drinking water encourages the production of saliva, which helps avoid dry mouth and prevents the growth of bacteria.
- Eat whole grains, fresh fruit, lean protein sources, green vegetables, and low-fat foods.
As part of your dental care routine, you need to avoid the following foods that are harmful to your teeth, gums, and mouth:
- Sour candy. It is no surprise that candy is harmful to your oral health. In addition to excessive sugars that promote bacterial growth, sour candies have harsh acids on the tooth enamel. Because candies are sticky, they are more likely to stick to the teeth, and brushing or flossing may be ineffective in removing them.
- Bread. If you want to maintain proper dental health, it would be wise to avoid excessive bread consumption. Bread is mainly made of starch. The digestion of starch in the mouth breaks it into sugars. When these sugars turn gummy and stick to the tooth, they create a conducive environment for bacteria which cause tooth decay. If you cannot eliminate bread from your diet, it is wise to stick to whole wheat that contains less sugar.
- Dried fruit. Although fruit is a healthy and safe snack to satisfy a sweet tooth, you must stick to fresh fruits. When fruits are dried, they lose most of the water. For this reason, the sugar concentration per serving of dry fruit is higher than necessary. Additionally, dry fruits are sticky and could be left on your teeth, causing decay and cavities.
- Citrus fruit. Citrus fruit contains vitamin C, which is essential for proper body function. However, these fruits are often very acidic. The acid on citrus fruits can weaken your tooth enamel and increase the chances of damage. You should rinse your mouth with plain water if you consume citrus fruits.
- Ice. Drinking water is an excellent dental care practice. However, chewing on ice cubes is a behavior that could cause significant damage to your teeth. Some people chew on ice for the cool feeling during summer, while others want to satisfy their hunger without the need to worry about excess calories. Chewing ice increases the wear and tear on your tooth enamel. Instead of chewing ice cubes, you can replace the craving with healthier foods like cucumber slices.
- Alcohol. Many people know that alcohol is not suitable for your health but do not know that alcohol can cause mouth dryness. A dry mouth is a conducive environment for bacteria to thrive. Additionally, alcohol could cause tooth discoloration.
Many people know that smoking is detrimental to their overall health. However, some people fail to understand that this habit can cause dental complications as much as it can cause other health problems. You need to stop smoking if you aim for good oral health.
There are many ways that smoking can affect your teeth and oral health, including:
- Staining. One of the main aims of maintaining proper dental care is to achieve a healthy smile. It may be impossible to achieve a pearly white smile when you are a smoker. The smoke from cigarettes discolors your teeth and tongue, making them unpleasant.
- Weak Immunity. Smoking compromises your immune system. This makes it challenging for your body to fight against bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease.
- Tooth loss. Smoking dries your mouth and discourages the production of saliva. A dry mouth is a conducive atmosphere for bacteria to grow and cause dental complications like tooth decay and gum disease. When left untreated, these conditions could cause tooth loss.
- Gum recession. Gum recession is a common symptom of gum disease in smokers. Dental care becomes challenging when your gums recede and expose the margins of the crown.
Regular Dental Visits
Your dental care routine is not complete without regular dental visits. Specialists recommend making at least two dental appointments yearly, even when you do not have a problem. Some of the benefits of regular dental checkups for the health of your teeth and gums include:
- Professional cleaning. Regular brushing and flossing may not effectively remove all the tartar and plaque from your teeth and gums. Once in a while, you will need a professional dental cleaning. Using the laser technique, your dentist will help remove all stubborn stains from your mouth to maintain the health and integrity of your teeth and gums.
- Prevention of dental complications. When you make it a habit to visit your dentist, dental complications are diagnosed before they cause significant damage. During a routine dental checkup, your dentist will examine your mouth, teeth, and gums for any sign of abnormality. The dentist may also perform x-rays to detect dental issues that cannot be noticed with the bare eye. If there is any complication, the dentist recommends a method of treatment.
- Notice gaps in your oral care. Just brushing and flossing does not mean you are doing it correctly. By examining the health of your teeth and gums, the dentist can recommend and offer suggestions on what you need to improve or change for ultimate dental health.
- Avoid tooth loss. Cavities, gum disease, oral cancer, and other complications that cause tooth loss can be diagnosed early during dental visits. When you skip dental visits and only go when you have difficulty, it may be too late to save the tooth or you may have limited and costly options.
Don’t Ignore Signs of Dental Complications.
Proper dental care is always paying attention to the signs of dental trouble. Most dental complications can be treated effectively with early diagnosis. Some of the early signs of a dental emergency that should cause you to seek dental care include:
- Bad breath. Bad breath is embarrassing, and no one wants any association with the condition. However, when you experience bad breath, you should not just chug some mouthwash and move on with your day. This condition may result from severe dental complications like oral cancer, gum disease, and cavities.
- Tooth decay. When you begin to notice one of your teeth decaying, you need to seek immediate dental care. Tooth decay results from bacteria and plaque from leftover foods, and when left untreated, it can cause further complications like tooth loss.
- Mouth sores. Mouth sores are often excruciating and unlikely to go away. If you have sores that fail to go away within two weeks, you may need to check in with your dentist.
- Toothaches can result from a broken tooth, cavities, or cracked tooth. Therefore, you should avoid relying on painkillers to reduce this pain without seeking dental care.
- Tooth sensitivity. Tooth sensitivity occurs when you feel pain or discomfort after consuming hot or cold foods. This condition may signify that you have a cracked tooth or that your tooth enamel is weak.
Benefits of Good Dental Care
Engaging in proper dental care practices helps to maintain both dental health and overall health. Some of the benefits you enjoy from good dental care include:
- Maintain a beautiful smile. When you speak, your smile is the first impression. Practicing proper dental care ensures that your teeth remain white and healthy for a great smile and appearance.
- Healthier gums. Your mouth contains a variety of bacteria species, including both good and harmful bacteria. Brushing and flossing help create a healthy balance between good and harmful bacteria by reducing the disease-causing bacteria. A clean mouth is not conducive to the growth of bacteria. Therefore, you can avoid dental complications associated with the bacteria.
- Decreased chances of infertility. If you are a woman, poor oral health could impact your ability to conceive. Studies have shown that women with gum disease take longer to conceive than their healthy counterparts.
- Safer pregnancies. The link between poor oral health and fertility issues does not stop with conception. Dental complications are associated with birth complications like preterm labor and low birthweight.
- Reduce the risk of heart problems. Unfortunately, the harmful bacteria in your mouth do not always remain there. Complications like tooth decay and gum disease can cause a transfer of bacteria to the blood, which then travels to the heart. A blood infection is associated with narrowing blood vessels in the heart and eventually a heart attack. When you maintain proper dental care, you can reduce these complications.
- Reduce chances of developing diabetes. Diabetes is a dangerous condition that can cause severe disability or death. The disease develops when your blood sugar is higher than normal and your body does not produce adequate insulin to break down sugar. Conditions like gum inflammation make it challenging for the body to effectively use insulin, increasing the chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
Find a Skilled General Dentist Near Me
Your oral health is a significant component of your overall well-being. We take good care of our teeth to maintain a white and pearly smile and avoid the complications associated with poor oral health. Understanding the components of dental care is vital in ensuring that you engage in the proper practices to keep your teeth, gums, and mouth healthy.
Standard dental care practices include the basic oral hygiene of brushing and flossing. Additionally, it would help if you visited your dentist regularly to ensure that any complication is detected and treated on time. If you are unsure of any dental care practice or are experiencing signs of dental complications, you must consult with a skilled dentist.
At The Whittier Dentist, it is our priority to help you protect your teeth and oral health by guiding you on proper dental care and correcting any complications you may have. We serve clients seeking general dentistry services in Whittier, CA. Call us today at 562-632-1223 to book an appointment.