Visiting your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings can help prevent many dental problems as well as to help you maintain optimal oral health. Don’t wait until you have a toothache before you call your dentist. You should have a regular dental visit at least every 6 months.
What happens during a dental visit?
Clinical dental examination – Your dental professional will check for cavities and to see if there is plaque or tartar on your teeth. Plaque is a clear, sticky layer of bacteria. If it is not removed, it can harden and become tartar. You cannot remove tartar with brushing and flossing. If plaque and tartar build up on your teeth, they can cause oral diseases.
Next, your gums will be checked. This will be done with a special tool to measure the spaces between your teeth and gums. With healthy gums, the spaces are shallow. When people have gum disease, the spaces may become deeper.
The check-up should also include your tongue, throat, face, head, and neck. This is to look for any signs of trouble, swelling, or cancer.
Dental cleaning – During the dental visit, your dental professional cleans your mouth by removing any plaque and tartar, polishing your teeth and flossing.
Once your examination and cleaning have been performed, they’ll tell you about the health of your teeth and gums and then make any additional recommendations. It’s important that you see your dentist every six months for a routine examination and cleaning. By seeing your dentist on a regular basis and following daily good oral hygiene practices at home, you are more likely to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Your body is a complex machine. The foods you choose and how often you eat them can impact your general as well as your oral health. If you consume too many sugar-filled sodas, sweetened fruit drinks or non-nutritious snacks, you could be at risk for tooth decay. Tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease, but the good news is that it is entirely preventable.
Foods that contain sugars of any kind can contribute to tooth decay. To control the amount of sugar you eat, read the nutrition facts and ingredient labels on foods and beverages and choose options that are lowest in sugar. Common sources of sugar in the diet include soft drinks, candy, cookies and pastries. Your physician or a registered dietitian can also provide suggestions for eating a nutritious diet. If your diet lacks certain nutrients, it may be more difficult for tissues in your mouth to resist infection. This may contribute to gum disease. Severe gum disease is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Many researchers believe that the disease progresses faster and is potentially more severe in people with poor nutrition.
For good oral hygiene, keep these tips in mind when choosing your meals and snacks:
Drink plenty of water
Eat a variety of foods from each of the five major food groups including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean sources of protein (e.g. lean beef, fish, dry beans, peas), low-fat and fat-free dairy products
Avoiding following types of foods is a way to maintain good oral hygiene:
Carbohydrates – Refined carbohydrate-laden foods (chips, bread, pasta, crackers, etc.) can be as harsh on your teeth as candy.
Chewy, sticky foods such as raisins, jellybeans, caramel, honey etc.
Candy and gum
Carbonated soft drinks
Fruit and vegetable juices
Limit the number of snacks you eat. If you do snack, choose something that is healthy like fruit or vegetables or a piece of cheese. Foods that are eaten as part of a meal cause less harm to teeth than eating lots of snacks throughout the day, because more saliva is released during a meal. Saliva helps wash foods from the mouth and lessens the effects of acids, which can harm teeth and cause cavities.
Remember to visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings – typically twice a year.
For good dental health, always remember to brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, floss daily and visit your dentist regularly. With regular dental care, your dentist can help prevent oral problems from occurring in the first place and catch those that do occur in the early stages, while they are easy to treat.