About half of the American population has gum disease. Childhood tooth decay is the #1 chronic disease of childhood. We all know that our oral health could always be better. At Matthew Nawrocki DMD, MS, we do everything we can to educate the public about oral health and current topics in dentistry. Our blog is a terrific resource for this. Today we would like to give a short list of actions that can be taken to help elevate oral health to a better place!
Action #1: Learn how to Properly Brush
Did you learn how to brush your teeth from a dental professional? Chances are that answer is no. Most of us learned from parents or caretakers who learned from parents or caretakers and the fact is that much of the information was not optimal.
The American Dental Association published the most simple instruction on how to properly brush. Feel free to click here to visit. Perhaps the most important part of this instruction is the angle of the bristles as they contact the teeth and gums. Most of us were taught to point the toothbrush straight at the teeth. The fact is that this does not adequately reach between the tooth and gums. A 45 degree angle between the tooth and gums allows the bristles to penetrate into the pocket and provide the most ideal cleansing.
Action #2: The Dental Diet
The internet, magazines, books, television programs, and a host of other informative outlets can provide you with enough information for a lifetime of learning about your diet. It often can become daunting. Most of this information revolves around heart health, systemic health, or weight control. What is not readily available is information regarding the optimal oral health diet.
You may not be surprised to find out that the dietary principles that the current industry leaders ask you to follow for your systemic health are the same principles that will keep your teeth and gums healthy for life. For a good place to start, we encourage you to visit our past blog entitled “The Top 5 Worst Foods and Drinks for Your Teeth”.
Action #3: Floss Your Teeth. Yep, floss.
Have you seen the internet stories on some of the major news sites that tell you flossing is not necessary? They are everywhere. Is it true? One of the many things we love about dentistry is that it is an evidence based profession. If you read our past blog entitled “Do You Really Need to Floss?”, you will find that unless you have the ideal diet, the perfect brushing techniques, and the genetic predisposition to optimally protect you from cavities and gum disease, the evidence shows that there in fact is a difference in oral health between brushing and flossing.
Action #4: Be Careful of Your Habits
We have seen it so many times in the dental office. A patient comes in with teeth that are worn or fractured in one place and the rest of the teeth look terrific. As the discussion ensues, we find that the person bites fishing line, chews on a pen, chews ice, opens bottles with the teeth, or a variety of other dangerous habits. Although enamel (the outer layer of teeth) is the strongest substance in the body, it does not hold up to many of these habits. The results often are fillings, crowns, or a variety of other dental treatments.
Action #5: See Your Hygienist
Of the 5 actions listed, this one often is the most neglected. This action also can be the most beneficial. Why is the hygienist so important? The hygienist has two essential functions; cleaning and evaluation. First, evaluation is necessary because an educated and trained hygienist can prevent disease and understand when it is required to correct disease.
The professional dental cleaning is extremely important because it is not something that we can do on our own. Everyone has dental plaque. This is the soft buildup that occurs on our teeth from normal daily activities. The fact is that the toothbrush and floss do not always remove 100% of the plaque. When this plaque remains on the teeth for a certain period of time the intra-oral environment begins to mineralize this plaque. The mineralized plaque becomes hard and turns in to calculus (tartar). A toothbrush no longer has a chance at this.
Our body recognizes calculus as a foreign invader. As a result, it mounts an immune response. This response begins as gingivitis and can progress, leading to a loss of tooth attachment and eventually loss of teeth. The hygienist is needed to employ professional techniques and instruments to remove this buildup and keep the teeth and gums healthy!
If you have questions or comments, feel free to click here to contact us any time or call us at (904)602-8396.