Preventive dental care is essential, starting the moment a baby grows his or her first tooth. By practicing good oral hygiene at home and visiting your dentist regularly, you can help prevent plaque buildup, which can lead to serious dental problems. Here are a few simple, yet essential ways you can keep your smile healthy and bright for years to come.
At-Home Oral Hygiene
Proper brushing and flossing should be done at least twice a day, or after every meal. It’s recommended you brush for approximately two minutes. This removes plaque, which, if not removed, can lead to tooth decay and/or gum disease. It is also important to brush your tongue, as it can be the source of bad breath and a plethora of bacteria. Brush your tongue gently but firmly, back and forth, and side to side.
Fluoride is an important line of defense against tooth decay and can even reverse the decaying process. Fluoride repairs and re-mineralizes tooth enamel, which is the hard substance on the outer layer of your teeth. Dr. Hampton recommends using fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinses at home. He also offers his patients fluoride treatments in his North Dallas dental office.
Smoking and Drinking
Smoking and chewing tobacco are terrible for your overall health and can cause serious damage to your teeth. Smoking leads to dry mouth, tooth discoloration, plaque buildup and more serious conditions such as gum disease, tooth loss and oral cancer. Alcohol also dries the mouth and is acidic, which can erode the teeth.
Foods with sugars and carbohydrates feed the bacteria that produce plaque, while not consuming enough calcium increases your chances of gum disease. Remember to limit the amount of sugar you eat, and substitute foods high in processed sugar for naturally sweet foods, like fruit. If you are on a dairy-free diet, taking calcium supplements can help keep your teeth healthy and strong.
If you play contact sports like soccer or football, it’s a good idea to invest in a mouth guard. A mouth guard, particularly a custom-fitted one, can go a long way to protecting against broken teeth and other mouth injuries. A mouth guard can also be used to treat teeth grinding, which can contribute to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.
Regular Dentist Visits
Even people who practice good oral hygiene at home are at risk for dental problems. Many dental conditions are painless at first, so you may not be aware of them. Regular dental visits are designed to detect dental problems and fix them before they become serious issues. It’s recommended you visit your dentist twice a year for a routine cleaning and screening of your teeth.
Want to learn more about how to keep your teeth healthy and your smile bright? Contact The Hamptons Family & Cosmetic Dentistry today. Schedule your appointment by calling (972) 395-9292.