You have probably been told from the time you were a child that you need to brush your teeth. At that time, your parents may have forced you to brush even if you didn’t want to. However, as you get older, you may start to neglect this important duty, and the other steps required to maintain oral hygiene. Without proper care, any of a number of problems can go wrong, landing you in the dreaded dentist chair. Routine cleanings are one matter, but as oral problems become more serious, the risk of something going wrong during a dental visit increases. The more diligently you maintain your health, the less likely you will need to visit the dentist extra times.
Brushing Your Teeth
If you only take one step to improve your oral hygiene, it should be brushing your teeth regularly. Your teeth naturally develop a layer of bacteria which builds up as plaque. This by itself is normal, but needs to be removed daily by brushing. If plaque is not removed, it will calcify into a hard substance called tartar. Tartar is much harder to remove through brushing, and almost always needs to be removed by the dentist with the dreaded scraping tools. Scraping tartar off teeth is one of the worst parts of going to the dentist for many – it can be painful and uncomfortable. Fortunately, brushing your teeth to remove plaque regularly will greatly decrease the amount of tartar that the dentist needs to scrape off at your regular cleanings.
Brushing your teeth can really only remove plaque from the outsides of the teeth. The areas in between each tooth can be difficult to reach, especially if you have tightly spaced teeth. However, plaque and tartar form there too. In these areas as well as the outer tooth surfaces, the buildup of tartar is a leading cause of cavities. Getting tarter scraped off your teeth may be unpleasant, but cavities are no fun experience either. When the dentist performs a filling, they drill down into the tooth to remove the area of the cavity. This is the most aggravating part for most people, as it can be painful and stressful. To avoid having to go through the experience of having cavities filled, it is important to floss your teeth once a day. Wrap the floss around your index fingers, and slide it gently between each tooth, moving it carefully up and down all the way to the gumline. Your gums may bleed a little the first time you floss, but this should not happen if you are flossing regularly and gently. Flossing diligently should help you avoid extra visits to the dentist.
An often-overlooked aspect of dental hygiene is using a rinse. Many rinses are available, but the best ones to choose are those that are designed to protect against specific dental problems. Some rinses focus on reducing bacteria in the mouth, which leads to embarrassingly bad breath. Others are meant to reduce the risk of periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, which leads to inflammation and deterioration of the gums, often resulting in the need to have teeth extracted. A mouth rinse can protect against developing gum disease, and stop you from needing to have a painful dentist experience.
Taking preventative measures to keep your mouth healthy is easy – don’t let yourself become someone with a constant supply of dental horror stories! Take control and lessen the likelihood of needing to visit the dentist often.