No matter your age, oral health is important. Taking care of your teeth starting in childhood can help you avoid problems with your teeth and gums, such as cavities or even tooth loss.
You’ve heard that brushing keeps your teeth healthy and reduces stains. You’ve seen it on packages, in commercials and have heard it from your dentist (if you have one). However, brushing your teeth is not the only thing you should be doing for your oral health, and you may not be brushing your teeth as often as you should. Let’s talk about oral health and what you can do to keep your teeth healthy.
There are multiple things you should be doing daily for a healthy mouth and teeth. You should brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Preferably, brush after each meal and especially before going to bed. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making the tooth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth. It can also reverse early tooth decay.
You should also floss at least once a day. Flossing removes food particles and other bacteria that will lead to tooth decay. You should also rinse daily with a mouthwash that contains fluoride. Look for mouthwashes that also have antiseptic ingredients to help kill materials that cause plaque.
Eat nutritious meals and limit the amount of snacks you consume. Avoid certain snacks like candy, pretzels and chips because they can remain on the tooth surface. If you do eat sticky foods, brush your teeth soon after you consume them. Did you know some vegetables, like celery, help remove food and help saliva neutralize plaque-causing acids?
Lastly, you need to visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral exams. These routine check-ups can catch issues with your teeth and gums involving cavities, plaque, teeth grinding and oral cancer.
You can also check with your dentist about dental sealants, a plastic protective coating applied to the chewing surfaces of your back teeth, to protect from tooth decay. Your dentist also identifies diseases, recommends treatment options and will provide you with resources you want and need. Your dentists will also be able to recommend visits to specialists like orthodontists, endodontists and others depending on the issue. Overall, dental check-ups are necessary to maintain healthy teeth and prevent future health issues.
If you are having pain in your teeth or mouth area, you should seek medical attention. If you are experiencing extreme pain, call 911 or go to the emergency room.
Are you in need of a new dentist or need to start dental care? Call 317-880-0000 or visit www.eskenazihealth.edu/health-services/dentistry to set up an appointment at one of Eskenazi Health’s health centers.
Nydia Nunez-Estrada, M.D.
Eskenazi Health Urgent Care East