| 04/30/13

The mouth is often referred to as the gateway to the body. Several recent studies have supported this theory by revealing that individuals with moderate to severe tooth decay and gum disease have a higher occurrence of general health issues. These findings have caused many parents, care-givers and health professionals to revisit the process for achieving and maintaining good oral health.

The following key steps should be considered for each member of your family to ensure a lifetime of healthy smiles.

Learn About Oral Health Needs

Ask us about dental conditions or medical issues that may affect your oral health. It is important to remember that medication, pregnancy, heart disease, diabetes and other health-related illnesses can impact the mouth and teeth. For this reason, any changes in general health since the previous appointment should be reported to your dentist.

Maintain a Dental Health Routine

Discuss at-home oral health practices with the dentist or hygienist. Once an efficient and effective routine is established, be sure to follow it daily. Create fun incentives for your children, to ensure that oral health becomes and important part of their daily routines.

Brush and Floss

Brush teeth at least twice daily and floss at least once each day. If possible, brush after each meal or snack. Use effective brushing and flossing techniques (which can be demonstrated by your dentist or hygienist) to clean gums and all tooth surfaces. Brushing and flossing remove plaque that continually forms on teeth and can result in decay, gingivitis and other periodontal diseases.

Use fluoride

Prevent tooth decay in adults and children and help strengthen developing teeth in children with fluoride use. Toothpaste, mouth rinse and tap water can be good sources of fluoride. If your water isn’t fluoridated, talk with us or physician to determine if a supplement is necessary.

Eat a Balanced Diet

Consume a variety of healthy foods to ensure you get enough vitamins and minerals to maintain both dental and general health. Avoid sugary and starchy foods (i.e., cookies, candy, ice cream, soda, chips) which produce high levels of acid in the mouth and can result in decay.

Eliminate Tobacco Products

Quit smoking cigarettes and using smokeless tobacco products. Use of these items significantly increases the risk of oral, larynx, pharynx and esophagus cancer, as well as gum disease, tooth discoloration and other general health issues.

Become Familiar with Your Mouth

Examine your teeth and mouth routinely. Look for signs of chipping, cracking or discoloration in teeth. Watch for any new spots, cuts, growths or swelling on your gums. And, contact us if you have any pain or develop a change in your bite.

Schedule Routine Dental Visits

Make appointments to see us twice yearly for exams and cleanings. If you have special dental health needs, we may recommend additional visits.

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