Oral health is a complex topic. Suffice it to say, maintaining optimum oral health requires a multi-faceted approach. So, for the sake of brevity we would like to provide you with a basic overview of a few key concepts that, when implemented properly, can help promote dental health.
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy products help provide essential vitamins and minerals that support overall and oral health. On the other side of the spectrum, it is good to avoid sugary and carbohydrate rich foods that, while tasty, do not promote good dental health and often result in cavities.
A classic expression well known amongst dentists goes something like this: There is nothing a dental professional can do in the office that will overcome what the patient won’t do at home. The point is that professional care alone is insufficient to maintain optimal dental health. A fastidious homecare routine is essential.
Brushing and flossing should ideally be done after every meal and snack. For the average person this would take approximately 6-10 minutes daily, which could hardly be considered an excessive amount of time if it helps guarantee optimal dental health. Many people carry floss and a toothbrush with them so that they can care for their teeth at work or even in a restaurant bathroom if needed. The bare minimum, even for health mouths, would be brushing 2 times a day for 2 minutes and flossing once a day.
Using an anti-septic mouthwash 1-2 times per day for 30 seconds is particularly helpful to control the effects of gum disease by reducing the overall number of harmful bacteria present in the oral environment. There are several effective anti-septic rinses on the market in a variety of pleasing flavors. One of the alcohol free types would be best since they won’t dry out the mouth.
If “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” then the road to dental hell is paved with 6-month checkups.
Ingrained in the western dental culture is the idea that 6-month cleanings and check ups are all that is needed to maintain good oral health. Good intentions notwithstanding, the biggest error committed by the dental community is perpetuating this cookie cutter approach. It is true that 6-month check ups may be sufficient for patients with no current signs of or history of cavities/ gum disease, but it is also true that that is not the typical state of dental health of the American dental patient.
Most patients subscribe to the 6-month theory because it is what their insurance will pay for. However, don’t let your insurance company dictate your healthcare decisions. They are in business to make money not to make you healthy. These are decisions that need to be made by you and your dentist together to find the proper schedule ideal for YOUR mouth. Whether it is every 3, 4 or 6 months…the investment you make in disease prevention will pay you back for a lifetime.