Take Good Care of Your Body, Your Mouth Included. It’s the Only Place You Have to Live: A Dental Health Series by Dr. Natalie Bailey and Dr. Suzanne Popp of Advanced Dentistry
Welcome back! Last week, we discussed how staying healthy during the pandemic doesn’t just mean avoiding infection with COVID-19. If you missed it, check it out here. Your mouth is the gateway to your entire body so it really should be a priority to you!
While most patients are feeling comfortable seeing their dentist and hygienist by now, some people are still hesitant. For this week’s article, we put together a few reminders on keeping up with your oral health. Some of these homecare routines may seem “mundane,” but hey, so is washing your hands and we seem to all be on board with that now!
Brushing: Easy to remember – 2 times a day for 2 minutes (each time!). Set a timer! Bonus: electric toothbrushes remove more plaque and bacteria than a manual toothbrush. Don’t forget to change your toothbrush every three months, and after you’ve been ill because those germs can hang around on your toothbrush for days! That’s also why we don’t recommend shared toothbrush holders. Bacteria like to play hide and seek under the papillae on your tongue and can cause halitosis, or bad breath, so don’t forget to brush your tongue!
Lastly, please use fluoridated toothpaste. We understand that many people are opting for all-natural products, but fluoride has been proven to reduce cavities. We won’t get into the controversy here, but as with any substance, yes, excessive intake or exposure can be harmful. The amount used in fluoridated water, toothpaste, and mouthwash is not considered excessive.
Flossing: I know you hear about this “mysterious” chore at every cleaning appointment. It really is important! Don’t use the excuse of having trouble with the string floss – that’s what those premade flossers are for and we’d rather see you use those than nothing. Flossing cleans the 40% of tooth structure your brush either missed or cannot reach to clean properly. More harmful bacteria hide in between your teeth or under your gums than anywhere else in your entire body!
Make sure you’re flossing correctly though. If you’re going to do it, you may as well do it right. Contour the floss around the side of the tooth as if you’re hugging that tooth, then slide the floss up and down a few times against the tooth surface and under the gumline. There’s a variety of floss to choose from, but we really like cocofloss because of the no snagging and refreshing feel.
Mouthwash: Want to always feel fresh and clean? Mouth rinse! The swishing action reaches areas the brush and floss miss. There are all kinds to choose from – fluoridated if you’re concerned about cavities or have a lot of fillings and crowns, or a non-alcohol rinse if you experience dry mouth symptoms. Most of the rinses you find at the store work great! We really like a product called CTx3 Rinse by CariFree because of the xylitol component which also prevents cavities in a different way than fluoride.
Diet: What in the world does your diet have to do with your mouth? Well, everything! You want to minimize the simple carbohydrates and sugar composition in between meals. Carbs, like pasta or cereals, convert to sugar quickly in the mouth, causing cavities. If you have to satisfy your sweet tooth though, just remember to brush right after!
Regular dental visits: If you can come in, please do! If not, please follow the above 😊 If you have been told that you have gum disease or if you are concerned about bleeding gums or chronic bad breath, both symptoms of infected gums, be extra sure to schedule an appointment.
We hope this has helped reinforce the need to focus on your overall health. If you ever have any questions, feel free to call us at 619-435-4444 or check us out for expectations during a cleaning or check-up visit here.
Look out for next week’s article on sleep apnea. Stay healthy out there Coronado!