November 9, 2020
Clinical Contributors to this Story
Pujitha Talasila, DMD contributes to topics such as Dental Medicine.
Steven Hobson, DMD contributes to topics such as Dental Medicine.
Going to the dentist can seem like a chore sometimes, but did you know that keeping up with your dental health is one of the most important ways to stay healthy.
A lot of times a little bit of education about how your oral health is connected to your overall health can help you understand their important relationship. We talked to Steven Hobson, DMD and Pujitha Talasila, DMD, of the JFK Medical Center Dental Clinic about things that they wished patients knew about their oral health.
1. Knowing how to brush properly and effectively is crucial
Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush twice a day, especially after dinner! Both manual and powered toothbrushes can be effective – try both and see which one works best with your dexterity to effectively clean all surfaces. Visit the American Dental Association (ADA) for illustrations of proper brushing methods.
2. Use an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste as well as mouthwash
You can dilute the mouthwash with some water. The fluoride will help re-mineralize the teeth!
3. Keep your tongue clean
Tongue scrapers are very effective. There are many benefits of cleaning the tongue such as reducing bacteria load, reducing sulfur compounds that cause bad breath, and reducing plaque.
4. Flossing is very important – do it daily
You should floss at least once a day before bed! A toothbrush is only about 60% effective without flossing. Flossing helps remove particle that are stuck between the teeth especially at the contact point. It also helps reduce inflammation and keeps the gingival tissue healthy, preventing bleeding and periodontal disease.
5. Use a straw
Drinking coffee, sodas, and other acidic drinks through a straw will reduce how much of the drink comes in contact with the teeth and that will reduce staining and erosion of the teeth surfaces.
6. Oral health can influence your overall health
Your oral health can be closely linked to your overall health. All major organs including your brain, lungs and heart can be affected by poor oral health.
Harmful bacteria can make it from your mouth to your blood stream and affect your heart. Increased inflammation in your mouth can also lead to other issues throughout your body.
Keeping up with regular visits is the best way to keep your oral health in check. Your dentist will help you ensure dental issues don’t turn into serious medical concerns. Ask your dentist about doing an oral cancer screening as well.
7. Keeping up with regular dental visits is critical
You might not “feel” a cavity until it is in its later stages (where the nerve is often involved) and at that point, a more complex treatment is required than a cavity at its beginning stages. So, it is very important to keep up with dental appointments and to intervene earlier than later. Oral cancer screenings can also be done at your regular appointments.
Next Steps & Resources:
- To make an appointment with a doctor near you, call 800-822-8905.
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The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.