Some people think that if everyone practiced superior brushing and flossing habits, dentists would be out of a job. But regular trips to the dentist help spot potential problems like oral cancer – and the truth is that some patients develop issues which can’t be corrected with good brushing techniques, like crooked teeth and soft tissue problems caused hereditary oral health concerns.
When it comes to preventing dental complications, both your dentist and your at-home health regimen are essential.
Caring for your Teeth at Home
Establishing good brushing and flossing skills is an important first step. As a guideline, you should brush your teeth for at least two minutes and make sure to reach often-neglected spots, like back teeth. Thoroughly flossing between each tooth helps clean the sides of teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach.
But there are other things you can do to keep your teeth healthy at home, such as making sure your diet prevents tooth decay. To limit decay, steer clear of foods and drinks that contain added sugars or simple carbohydrates – these tend to stick to surfaces of teeth and encourage the production of acid, which erodes dental enamel. This is especially important for children, as many kids are drawn to sugary sports drinks and sweets which put them at high risk for tooth decay. Even if your child still has their baby teeth, maintaining pediatric oral health supports healthy adult teeth.
Nutritional choices that are smart for your teeth are also good for your overall health -- these include leafy greens, yogurt, and nuts. You can even chew gum that contains an ingredient called xylitol, which can help fight decay as well.
Routine Dental Visits
Even if you do your best at brushing and flossing, it’s still possible that you may have missed some important spots and need a dentist to more comprehensively clean your teeth at least twice a year. By visiting the dentist every six months, you can prevent the build-up of plaque and the progression of gum disease and dental caries.
During each dental appointment, we take x-rays of your smile to ensure that there are no problem spots on your teeth. We also evaluate the health of soft tissue to combat any symptoms of
periodontitis. For young patients, these trips to the dentist play a key role in making sure that the alignment of their teeth and bite is developing correctly. If any potential problems are found, we can recommend care that sets your child up for a healthy smile in their teen and adult years.
Good oral health starts with you and includes the help of our Lansdowne family dental office. If it’s time for your next dental appointment, please call our office to schedule your visit.