If you get regular dental check-ups—twice a year is recommended—then you’ve likely heard all kinds of pointers from your dental hygienist and dentist about how to take care of your teeth. In fact, you could probably recite from memory their tips for flossing and brushing regularly as well as avoiding foods that are bad for your teeth.
You may follow these pointers to the letter or maybe you take them with a grain of salt. But for as much as you might seem like your dentist is nagging you, they’re telling you these things for a reason: they’re trying to keep you healthy and when it comes to oral health, the numbers don’t lie:
- Approximately, 18.6% of children aged 5 to 19 suffer from untreated cavities.
- Tooth decay is 20 times more common than diabetes and five times more common than childhood asthma.
- The Center for Health and Healthcare in Schools estimates that 51 million school hours are lost each year because of a dental-related illness.
- More than 40% of children have cavities by the time they reach kindergarten.
So what can be done to promote good oral hygiene and avoid extensive cosmetic dental work when you’re an adult? The simple answer is to practice preventative dentistry, which is essentially caring for your teeth at home. Doing some simple things at home can help you avoid cosmetic dental work, gum disease and loss of enamel among other dental problems.
With that in mind, here are four preventative dental tips or home oral care:
- Brushing daily: If you go to the dentist regularly, this is probably the biggest thing your dentist harps on you about the most. The best thing you can do is get yourself a good toothbrush—think something electric—and a good fluoride toothpaste. You can also brush your tongue to get rid of bacteria and keep your breath fresh. Don’t underestimate the good that regular brushing can do.
- Flossing daily: Another tip to avoid cosmetic dental work is to floss regularly. This will help clean the spaces between your teeth. Your dentist can give you a demo if you don’t know how to do it correctly.
- Eat healthy:
- Go to the dentist: In 2017 alone, more than 120 million alone visited the dentist. Not all of them may enjoy it, but it’s a necessary step. Visiting the dentist is an important step in preventative dentistry and your insurance will usually cover two cleanings a year as well as a comprehensive dental exam.
Another way to avoid a lot of cosmetic dental work is to eat healthy reguarly. Foods like tea, cheese, crunchy foods and vitamin-rich foods can help strengthen your teeth. Be sure to drink plenty of water too and try to vary your diet consistently.
Even if you’re someone who brushes and flosses regularly and does all the things you’re supposed to do, you may be wondering what the purpose of preventative dentistry is. Bottom line: it prevents a lot of pesky dental issues and can prevent and lessen the effects of things like cavities, periodontitis and gingivitis. Whether you’re a child, a teenager or a fully grown adult, you can never be too old to practice good dental hygiene. Practicing some of these habits from a young age can help teeth develop properly and help children avoid unwanted cavities, like in the statistics mentioned above.
As you can see, preventative dentistry has many positive effects on your teeth, but believe it or not, it can also have positive effects on other parts of your health. In fact, poor oral health has been linked to some pregnancy issues such as premature birth as well as health concerns like heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
By practicing good dental care on a consistent basis, you can do a lot to improve your oral health and avoid lengthy cosmetic dentistry work. By brushing and flossing regularly (it usually takes just a few minutes each day to do), by taking care to make better food choices and visiting your dentist at least twice a year, you’ll keep your smile looking it’s best, keep your teeth clean and strong and help improve your overall health.