Dental Hygiene: Beyond Brushing and Flossing

The health of your mouth is a direct reflection of the health of the rest of your body. As you kick off November remember that it is National Dental Health Month, a perfect time to learn about the connection between the oral health and your general well-being.

A study conducted by the ADA (American Dental Association) revealed that people with serious gum disease have a 40% higher risk of having another chronic condition. Maintaining a healthy mouth is about more than brushing and flossing. Yes, these are important, but your diet, activity level, and even your medications can all impact the health of your mouth.

Your diet should be an obvious one. Better food means better nutrition which means stronger teeth. How active you are and how much exercise you get regulates blood flow, allowing cells to rebuild. Your medications may give you dry mouth. Since saliva is our mouths cleaner, your mouth will not be as clean if you produce little saliva. Without saliva to cleanse your mouth, you become susceptible to periodontitis. More information on periodontitis is available on my website at http://www.northmiamibeachdentist.com/dental-services/periodontics-gum-disease/.

There are four components that make up a good oral health routine. You want to brush at least twice per day, floss every day, use a mouth rinse, and be conscientious of your diet. Some would recommend chewing sugar-free gum, but, as can be seen in another article, even sugar-free gum is far from healthy.

When you brush, use soft bristles that will not weaken your enamel. Brush the top, bottom, sides, and back of your teeth. A full two minutes is recommended. As soon as your brush bristles start to fray, replace your toothbrush, avoid putting it off. It seems small, but this is an important step. When you floss, use waxed floss and get a piece 10-12” long.

You can choose either alcohol or alcohol-free mouthwash. Avoid the temptation of flavored mouthwashes. You are fine with spearmint, peppermint, and original, but I have seen some cinnamon, whisky, and bacon flavored ones as well. While I am sure these are novelties, I still want to state that flavored mouthwashes are more likely to contain unnecessary chemicals and sugars and some don’t even sound appealing.

For some of you, being conscientious about your diet is the hardest step to follow. We live in a fast-paced world, but there is no excuse for getting all three of your meals from a take-out window. I understand, sometimes you only have 15 minutes and just want a quick bite. I would encourage you to reduce your fast food by just one meal per day and see the difference it will make.

Do not put off seeing your dentist if you experience pain or have any other dental concerns. An issue that “seems small” can quickly escalate. You can’t always see the dental damage. Anything near your root may not show holes or caries. It is better to get a small situation checked out before it becomes huge.

Brushing your tongue cleans away many of the bacteria that reside there. It also opens your taste buds up making flavors taste richer. Morning breath comes from bacteria and a lot of them will hide on your tongue.

By following these tips, you can get a mouth that not only looks clean but IS clean. And that is by far more important. A healthier you starts with a healthier mouth and a healthier mouth starts with proper brushing, flossing, and a diet that is nutritious.

Before treating gum, tooth, or other oral problems consult with Dr. JJ Edderai. A dental check-up every three to four months will allow Dr. Edderai to keep a watchful eye on your oral health and prevent cavities before they start. For answers to some of the most commonly asked questions, visit my FAQ page at http://www.northmiamibeachdentist.com/faqs/.

Copyright Dr. Jean-Jacques Edderai -2015

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