When it comes to dental care, prevention really is the best medicine. Daily dental care is the key to maintaining a healthy smile, no matter what age. Follow these tips for a healthy smile:
1. BRUSH TWICE DAILY & BRUSH RIGHT
Using a soft-bristle toothbrush, brush your upper teeth in a downward motion and your lower teeth in an upward motion, starting at a 45-degree angle and following the natural growth pattern of the teeth and gums. Brushing horizontally pushes plaque down into the gumline. Brush for about two minutes – about the length of the average song on the radio (or your Ipod). To help assure proper brushing, we highly recommend electric toothbrushes.
Although a manual toothbrush can be effective, most people simply don't brush as thoroughly or for as long as they should," explains Dr. Anundsen. "In these cases, an electric toothbrush can help by maximizing the cleaning power of every stroke." In addition, Dr. Anundsen recommends electric toothbrushes because they may:
- Make it easier to clean around dental braces, dental implants or adental bridge
- Improve oral health in patients who are receiving gum disease treatment
- Have been proven to remove dental plaque and combat gingivitis better than manual brushes
- Motivate reluctant brushers to brush for longer
- Less likely to cause gum ressesion
2. GET IN THE GROOVE OF FLOSSING DAILY
If you don't floss you miss cleaning 30 percent of each tooth's surface leaving sticky, bacteria laden plaque between your teeth that can cause gum disease, tooth loss and bad breath. Floss at least once a day.
3. SEE YOUR DENTIST TWICE A YEAR & SAVE MONEY
Many oral health problems cause no pain often go undetected and until they get worse. To save you discomfort—and money, have a dental exam and professional cleaning at Alpine Dental Arts every six months.
4. SWISH, SWISH, SWISH THROUGHOUT THE DAY
Make it a habit to swish your mouth with water after you eat a meal or snack and after you drink a beverage. Swishing with water helps remove food particles and dilutes the sugar, starch and acid, which helps reduce plaque and decay-causing bacteria.
5. DON'T USE YOUR TEETH AS TOOLS
Tearing, cracking or biting objects can lead to chips or cracks in your teeth and even tooth loss. Avoid chewing on hard objects like popcorn kernels, ice and hard candy which can also chip or crack your teeth.
6. PREVENT THE DAILY GRIND
Grinding and clenching your teeth (bruxism) puts pressure of up to 1000 poundsof pressure per square inch on your back teeth and 250 on your front teeth, which can result in fracturing or loosening of teeth. If you wake up with a sore jaw or dull headaches, ask Dr. Anundsen if you need a custom-made mouthguard that helps prevent grinding or clenching.
7. IF YOU SMOKE, PLEASE QUIT!
If you smoke, you're four times more likely than a nonsmoker to have gum disease, and more than twice as likely to lose your teeth. What's more, smoking (and chewing tobacco) can cause oral cancer.
8. GUARD YOUR MOUTH WHEN YOU PLAY SPORTS
If you play sports or are involved in rigorous activities, get (and wear) a mouth guard, especially if you have braces, veneers or bridges. Mouthguards also help prevent cuts and scarring to your lips and tongue.
9. MAKE SURE YOUR MEDS SMILE FRIENDLY
More than 400 different drugs can indirectly affect your dental health. Tell Dr. Anundsen about all of your prescriptions, you may need a high fluoride rinse or gel to protect your teeth.
10. DON'T LET YOUR TUMMY TROUBLE BE A SMILE SPOILER
Gastroesophageal acid reflux disease (GERD) can cause stomach acid to back up into your mouth and erode tooth enamel. It can also introduce infection-causing bacteria into your gums that can lead to periodontal disease. Tell your dentist if you have acid reflux and follow your physician's instructions to control it.