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Posted on: July 21, 2022
Basic Dental Care in New Lenox
If you want to look and feel younger, then make sure you have great oral hygiene because that’s linked to longevity and good physical health. Although most people don’t connect the two, research has shown a direct correlation between good dental health and good physical health. Conversely, those who have poor oral health have a significantly higher incidence of serious diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, dementia, and more.
If it’s been a while since your last dental exam, click here to schedule an appointment.
What’s Considered Basic Dental Care?
The American Dental Association considers the following activities to be integral to basic dental care:
- Brushing twice daily at a minimum, more frequently is better
- Flossing once daily, preferably after each meal or snack
- Using a toothpaste with fluoride
- Annual dental exam and cleaning
These are the minimum activities required to maintain good oral health. Optimally, you should brush and floss after each meal or snack and schedule dental exams and cleanings twice each year.
Does Twice-Daily Brushing Help?
Twice-daily brushing is vital to the success of your dental hygiene routine. One of those times needs to be before you go to bed so that you remove the food particles and bacteria that have accumulated during the day. Don’t eat or drink anything but plain water after you’ve brushed and flossed for the night, or you defeat the purpose of those activities.
When you brush, use gentle pressure in a circular motion with a back-and-forth stroke. Firm pressure and quick strokes won’t expedite the process; it will only cause damaging striations in your tooth enamel. Be sure to brush for a minimum of 30 seconds in each quadrant of your mouth. A quadrant should be considered:
- The upper right side of your jaw
- The lower right side of your jaw
- The upper left side of your jaw
- The lower left side of your jaw
The brushing order doesn’t matter as long as you spend two full minutes brushing. Don’t forget to brush your tongue. Although many people don’t, it’s a good habit to develop. Your tongue’s rough surface can harbor a substantial number of bacteria that brushing will remove. If you’re unsure how to brush your tongue, ask your New Lenox dentist.
It’s important to use the correct toothbrush when you brush. It should be properly sized for your mouth, with soft bristles of uneven lengths. It should also carry the ADA Seal of Acceptance, as all your dental products should. This ensures you’re getting a quality product that’s also safe to use. Buy a toothbrush that’s the correct size for your mouth, even if you’re an adult and it’s a child-sized toothbrush, or you’re a child, and it’s an adult-sized toothbrush.
Replace your toothbrush every three months, more often if you’ve been sick and recuperated or if the bristles start to deteriorate.
Does Fluoridated Toothpaste Help?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that has been shown to strengthen enamel and reduce the onset of cavities and decay. Starting in the 1950’s, it’s use has increased in popularity and now it’s mostly ubiquitous. Both gel and paste toothpaste contain fluoride, and it doesn’t matter which you use.
Many municipalities now fluoridate their water supply, which has led some people to become concerned that they’re getting too much fluoride in their bodies. However, the water supplies are fluoridated only to the minimum standard for health. Getting too much fluoride has symptoms, so if you’re concerned about the matter, discuss your concerns with your New Lenox dentist.
Does Daily Flossing Help?
Daily flossing is an essential element of your oral hygiene, and flossing more than once daily is even better. Flossing removes the food particles lodged between your teeth, so they don’t become plaque, which causes inflammation and then gum disease. It doesn’t matter whether you prefer a water flosser, floss picks, or traditional floss. Floss before bedtime at a minimum and after each meal or snack for better results.
Are There Additional Tips for Basic Dental Care?
Mouthwash is an excellent addition to your basic dental care routine. Whether you use the regular or non-alcoholic formula, both can contribute to your dental health. Not only does mouthwash remove bacterial residue, but it also freshens your breath and helps eliminate the bacteria that can cause gum disease.
Your diet can help your oral hygiene also. Rather than snacking on candy, cookies, and chips that have no nutritional value, select fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Their crunchiness will help clean your mouth of food particles, while their nutritional value will improve your physical health and the number on your scale.
What Are Good On-the-Go Tips?
If you’re frequently on the road or in situations where good oral hygiene isn’t feasible, you can rinse your mouth well with plain water until it’s convenient to resume your oral hygiene habits. Many travelers find a travel kit to be helpful. Outfit it with travel-sized versions of your favorite dental products so you can take your dental hygiene with you no matter where you go. Remember, though, that you can always rinse your mouth well with plain water to eliminate many food particles and bacteria that lurk in your mouth.
What Are Good Prevention Habits?
Your best dental prevention habit is annual or semi-annual dental checkups and cleanings. Some diseases present asymptomatically, so even if you have excellent dental habits, you can develop a problem but be unaware of it until your dentist finds it. Oral cancer is a good example. It presents asymptomatically, so by the time you notice its presence, it has spread elsewhere. Your dentist can spot minor issues before they escalate, so getting regular exams should be a priority. We recommend that all our patients get screened for oral cancer during their annual exams. The screening procedure is painless and non-invasive and is done during the exam.
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We Can Help You
If you haven’t had an exam and cleaning in a while, schedule an appointment. Our only priority is our patients’ good oral health, and we’re sure you’ll be thrilled with your sparkling clean teeth.
Click here to make an appointment today. We look forward to speaking with you.