Good oral hygiene is preeminent in maintaining your overall health. Poor oral health has been linked to heart and lung disease, diabetes, stroke, extremely high-birth weight, and premature births. Often, diseases give their first warning signs in the form of oral problems.
There are four basic steps to maintain good oral health:
- Brush at least twice daily.
- Floss every day.
- Limit your consumption of junk food.
- Visit the dentist regularly.
When brushing and flossing, the proper technique is important. Also, using the right products is equally important. Without consistent care, several oral health problems can result. Risks of gingivitis, cavities, tooth decay, and other gum diseases can lead to oral cancer or tooth loss.
Here are some simple lifestyle changes that will improve oral health:
- Set an example for your children by practicing good oral health care habits.
- Check your children’s mouth for bleeding gums, swollen gums, gums receding away from teeth.
- Check for bad breath.
- Eat a balanced and nutritional diet.
- Educate your children about the health risks of tobacco use.
- For mothers to be, tetracycline is a no no.
- Teething usually starts at around 6 months and should be brushed and flossed daily.
- Avoid baby bottle decay by not allowing your baby to fall asleep with a bottle full of juice or milk.
- If your water is not fluoridated, ask your doctor about daily fluoride supplements.
- Thumb sucking is a natural reflex for toddlers, but the habit may result in permanent bite issues.
- Make sure to use a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste when brushing your child’s teeth.
- At age two (2) schedule regular dental appointments.
- Emphasize the importance of oral hygiene.
- Again, set a good example by practicing good oral hygiene yourself.
- Keep junk foods to a minimum for snacking.
- Discourage oral piercings as they increase the risk for oral infections and can cause injury to their teeth.
- Brush twice daily, maybe more when possible.
- Floss at least once a day
- Watch for signs of gum disease such as redness, swelling or tenderness.
- Visit the dentist at least twice each year for regular check-ups.
- Limit sugary foods and soft drinks.
While practicing good oral hygiene is vital to your health, there is only so much that personal oral maintenance can do, so visiting your dentist for regular checkups is vital to your global health.
The following is a list of reasons why you should visit your dentist frequently:
1) To prevent gum disease
2) To prevent oral cancer
3) To avoid losing your teeth
4) To prevent dental emergencies
5) To help maintain good overall health
If we can be of service or answer any of your concerns, please call our office for a complimentary consult.
Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC
290 Carpenter Drive, 200A
Atlanta (Sandy Springs), GA 30328
Caucus Educational Corporation http://www.caucusnj.org/caucusnj/special_series/oralhealth/importance.asp
U.S. Surgeon General http://www.perio.org/consumer/children.news.htm
“Top 5 Reasons to Visit the Dentist” by Tammy Davenport http://dentistry.about.com/od/dentalhealth/tp/visit_dentist.htm
The Oral Cancer Foundation http://www.oralcancerfoundation.org/
The American Dental Association http://www.ada.org/
Colgate Family Guide to Oral Care http://www.colgate.com/app/Colgate/US/OC/Information/OralHealthBasics/GoodOralHygiene/OralHygieneBasics/FamilyGuideOralHealth.cvsp
About the ADA seal of acceptance. (2005, March 14). Retrieved February 7, 2009, from American Dental Association Web site: http://www.ada.org/ada/seal/index.asp
American Dental Association News Releases. (2008, February 4). A reminder to parents: Early dental visits essential to children’s health. American Dental Association. Retrieve February 6, 2009, from http://ada.org/public/media/releases/0802_release01.asp
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2006, December). Oral Health for Adults. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Division of Oral Health. Retrieved February 6, 2009 from http://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/publications/factsheets/adult.htm
Oral health in America: Summary of the surgeon general’s report. (2006, April 16). Retrieved February 7, 2009, from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site: http://www.cdc.gov/Oralhealth/publications/factsheets/sgr2000_05.htm
 When buying any dental products, look for the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. The ADA seal is an important symbol of the dental product’s safety and effectiveness (ADA Seal, 2005).
 This “silent epidemic” (U.S. Surgeon General) can be avoided by regular treatment at home and dental visits twice each year.
 Smoking is the number one preventable risk factor for gum diseases.
 A common antibiotic that causes tooth discoloration to your child and should not be used by nursing mothers or by expectant mothers in the last half of pregnancy.
 Try water or a pacifier and make sure to wipe teeth and gums with a gentle cloth or gums after feeding
 Fluoride is very important even before teeth start forming.
 Buck teeth or overbite.
 Contact your dentist if you experience any of these symptoms.
 Generally, plaque begins forming to maturity about every 3 months.
 “Routine dental exams uncover problems that can be easily treated in the early stages, when damage is minimal” (American Dental Association [ADA], 2008).
 Gum disease, specifically gingivitis, is a leading cause of tooth decay and tooth loss. If gum disease is discovered and diagnosed early, it can be treated. However, if left untreated, gum disease can become periodontitis, a more severe and irreversible stage. This may lead to serious damage of the gum tissue and jaw bone, causing your teeth to fall out. This late stage of gum disease can also increase your risk of developing a heart attack or stroke.
 According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, a United States citizen will die from this type of cancer every hour of every day. Of similar concern is the fact that out of the 34,000 newly diagnosed Americans every year, only half of these people will be alive in the next five years. However, while attending your regular dental checkup, your dentist and oral hygienist screen you for this specific cancer. If diagnosed early, there is a good chance that oral cancer can be treated successfully.
 Without your teeth, normal eating habits can obviously be far more difficult. Also, taking care of your natural teeth now will help you avoid paying for dentures later. As stated previously, gum disease can easily lead to adult tooth loss, but regular visits to your dentist and good oral hygiene can prevent it.
 Toothaches, a broken jaw, chipped teeth, and other dental emergencies can be easily avoided with regular dental visits. Early signs or symptoms of these unpleasant conditions can be detected and treated by your dentist. If left untreated, you may have to endure root canals or forced tooth removals- these treatments are significantly more expensive than preventative care such as regular check-ups (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2006).
 Since gum disease is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and certain forms of cancer, regular visits to your dentist can help prevent and treat this disease. By treating conditions early and learning from your dentist how to prevent oral damage, you can achieve better health and ultimately better quality years of life.