Welcome to 2022, a new year bright with possibilities and goals. As you consider ways to better yourself or new challenges to tackle, be sure to add your oral health to that list. Too often when people think of ideas for self improvement, they note ideas for physical and mental health but neglect oral health.
Your dental health is linked to your self-esteem and your overall physical health. Here, we discuss the importance of dental health and tips to improve your oral hygiene in 2022.
Why is oral health important?
Your oral health is about more than just beautiful pearly whites, although we won’t deny that a bright smile is important to your confidence as well. Your teeth have important functions in chewing, digesting food, and speaking. If the teeth and gums are decayed or damaged, their role is impacted as well.
Additionally, oral and overall health are connected. Since the mouth is the portal to the body, anything that enters has an effect on the person’s well-being. Oral health has been linked to pregnancy issues, heart disease, kidney issues, and pneumonia. Problems such as diabetes, osteoporosis, and HIV can also increase the risk of dental problems.
How to improve your oral health this year
It is important to keep your oral health in check to keep your mouth functioning as it should and to protect your overall health. Here are some tips to improve your dental health this year and for the future.
1. Practice good oral hygiene
Dental hygiene refers to practices for maintaining your healthy smile. This includes how you brush and floss. Your hygiene routine should include brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice daily. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush for two minutes per session to gently remove food particles.
Daily flossing removes particles from between the teeth and along the gumline. Do this gently to avoid damaging your gums. Rinsing with mouthwash each day helps to get rid of debris in hard-to-reach areas that brushing and flossing may miss. All of these practices work together to help prevent cavities, gum disease, and bad breath.
2. Consume a healthy diet
Healthy foods and drinks keep your body and your teeth strong. Eat a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Look for foods that are a rainbow of colors to maximize the vitamin and mineral content.
Although it is easy to turn to sugary snacks, look for sugar free items or snack on a piece of fruit to get your sweet fix. Plaque and bacteria in the mouth feed on sugars in foods which can then damage the tooth enamel.
Drink plenty of water. Water not only hydrates your body, but it also increases the saliva in your mouth. This helps remove plaque from the teeth and prevents issues such as dry mouth and bad breath.
3. Avoid smoking and tobacco products
Say no to smoking! Tobacco products cause bad breath and yellow stains on the teeth. The yellow discolorations detract from your smile and make you look older.
In addition, cigarette smoking has been linked to an increased risk of gum disease and tooth loss. Periodontal disease is a common cause of tooth loss in adults, but it can be prevented. Stop smoking to reduce your risk of both problems.
4. Minimize products that may stain your teeth
Tobacco products are not the only stain-causing items. Red wine, coffee, tea, and tomato products are common culprits as well. The rich, dark colors leave a residue on the teeth that, if not removed quickly, causes stains to build up.
If you cannot decrease your use of these products, at least commit to rinsing your mouth after consuming them. This will help keep stains from collecting. Patients who do need to get rid of tooth stains may want to consider safe, effective, professional teeth whitening procedures. This helps get rid of plaque and stains for a brighter, healthier smile.
5. Avoid using your teeth as tools
Your teeth have a role in chewing and speaking. Their job description does not include being used as tools to hold, tear, or open items. Using your teeth as tools can damage or break a tooth. The result would mean advanced dental work such as root canals, crowns, or extractions to correct the damage.
Prevent problems in the first place by not using your teeth as unnecessary instruments.
6. Visit your dentist for hygiene appointments
Prevention is a key to good oral health. Even if you think your mouth is healthy, unseen problems could be lurking. General hygiene appointments are an important piece in protecting your dental health.
Appointments are scheduled twice a year, unless otherwise directed. This time frame ensures bacteria has a limited period of time to spread. If signs of tooth decay or disease do arise, they can be diagnosed and treated early before more severe steps are necessary.
During a routine appointment, your hygienist cleans and polishes your teeth. In some cases, particularly for children, a fluoride treatment may be applied. X-rays are taken to assess the underlying structures. Your dentist also checks your teeth, gums, and jaw to make sure your mouth is healthy.
7. Stay on top of recommended dental procedures
If problems do crop up between dental visits, your dentist may recommend treatments to get your oral health back on track. It is important to stay on top of these restorative procedures. This prevents small problems from escalating. A small cavity and filling today could spread to a larger cavity requiring a root canal or extraction later.
Not only does staying on top of your oral health prevent the spread of disease, but it also protects your wallet. More advanced procedures often come with a higher price tag.
Let Aten & Garofalo Dentistry help you stay on top of your oral hygiene!
At Aten & Garofalo Dentistry, our patients come first. We provide tips and education to help patients achieve good oral hygiene. We provide comprehensive dental procedures in Ballantyne, NC.
Let us help you stay on track with your oral health this year. Contact us today for an appointment.