Published: January 26, 2018
Good oral hygiene will keep your mouth fresh, odor free, and comfortable. In addition to impressing family and friends this holiday season with white teeth, practicing healthy habits and visiting the dentist Irving residents can trust will make it easier to enjoy the festivities. However, your personal habits are just as much, if not more, important in having something to be thankful for.
Why Having Healthy Teeth Is Important
Healthy teeth are more than about getting good news from the dental hygienist every six months. You can’t rely on a professional cleaning twice a year (although it’s important) to take the place of good dental habits every other day. With good habits, you can avoid more serious issues later, such as losing teeth. Many people see dentures as an inevitability as they age, but, if you keep your teeth healthy, they can last a lifetime.
There is also a connection between your oral health and the health of the rest of your body. Plaque and tartar build-up and gum disease have a lot to do with bacteria. In high enough levels, these microorganisms can enter the bloodstream and cause infections elsewhere. Medications such as painkillers, antihistamines, and decongestants can reduce the amount of saliva, which helps wash away food particles and neutralize acid that bacteria produce. If your mouth is consistently dry, it can affect the health of your teeth.
A severe form of gum disease, known as periodontitis, may be associated with bacteria as well, according to Mayo Clinic. Research has shown there may be connections between oral health and other diseases and conditions, such as:
Cardiovascular disease: Oral bacteria have been linked to infections and inflammation related to clogged arteries, heart disease, and stroke. Although the evidence doesn’t conclude gum disease prevention definitely avoids heart problems, according to the American Heart Association, risk factors such as age, diabetes, and smoking have been correlated with both issues.
Endocarditis: An infection of the endocardium is often caused by bacteria or germs from elsewhere. Some of these are the same found in the mouth. Heart damage can result from an infection. The germs spread in this situation can enter the bloodstream when gums bleed during tooth brushing, flossing, or during a dental procedure.
Pregnancy complications: Physicians have linked periodontitis with premature births and incidents of low birth weight. Pregnant women should, therefore, consider their oral health long before a pediatric dentist Irving, TX children are treated by is needed.
It’s also wise to consider conditions that can impact your oral health. Diabetes can make people more prone to infection, and gum disease is more prevalent among diabetics than the general population. Individuals with uncontrolled glucose levels are even more at risk for gum disease. The American Dental Association (ADA) says that nearly 22% of people with diabetes have periodontal disease.
Osteoporosis, a condition associated with weak and brittle bones, can affect teeth as well. It can lead to periodontal bone loss and the loss of teeth. In addition, dry mouth, eating disorders, and rheumatoid arthritis may be linked to dental issues, too.
Healthy Teeth Habits
A few good habits will give you something to be thankful for. While a teeth whitening may give you the shade you want, having perfectly white teeth isn’t what optimal oral health is all about. However, your daily habits are. You’ve probably heard many of these before, but here is a look at the most important teeth habits:
- Regular brushing: Brush your teeth two or three times a day. How often you brush is just as important as how you do it. The ADA recommends using a toothbrush with soft bristles. It suggests choosing one with a size and shape that best fits your mouth, and to replace the brush every three or four months
- Focus on technique: When brushing, the toothbrush should be at a 45-degree angle to your gums. Going the width of each tooth, the brush should be moved gently back and forth. Remember to brush the outer surfaces of teeth, the chewing surfaces, and the inner sides. These inside surfaces are best cleaned by tilting the brush vertically and stroking it up and down.
- Floss every day: Flossing gets to parts of the teeth brushing does not—the sides. Food particles and bacteria can easily build up between the teeth. There is a lot of real-estate that may be missed otherwise. Flossing removes plaque and can prevent cavities, gum disease, and bone loss.
- Don’t forget the tongue: Your tongue is a breeding ground for bacteria. There is plenty of surface area and hiding places, so it should be included in your daily oral hygiene habits. Brushing your tongue helps. A tongue scraper is an even better way of cleaning. It won’t make you gag if used properly; use the device in a back to front direction instead of back and forth or up and down.
- Limit coffee and soda: If you drink coffee, try rinsing your mouth with water afterward. Coffee is acidic, so it can cause tooth damage. Drinking water will neutralize the pH in your mouth. Soda is acidic, as well; both can stain your teeth, so limit consumption only to during meals.
- Cut down on snacks: Many people consume snack foods with a lot of sugar or starch. Fruits or vegetables make for a filling and healthy snack in the late morning or mid-afternoon. Not only are they better for you and your teeth; they also stimulate saliva production, which protects teeth surfaces.
- Avoid tobacco: Cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco often contain sweeteners with sugar. They can, therefore, increase the risks of tooth decay. Plus, smoking is a known oral cancer risk. At the very least, smokers are four times more likely to have gum disease on average. This is based on an American Academy of Periodontology study.
- Get dental cleanings: A dental cleaning and checkup can go a long way in optimizing your oral health. Brushing and flossing can remove a lot of buildup, but your dentist will remove the plaque that you can’t reach. In fact, the plaque accumulation process occurs every time you eat and drink, so it’s unavoidable. A thorough exam should also include additional health screenings. An oral cancer screening can detect early signs of a problem, such as tenderness, lumps, and red or white patches. With panoramic x-rays, carotid artery blockages can be found. An extensive examination of a patient’s teeth, jaw, and throat can spot problems early, so you can have a lot to be thankful for later.
How Smiles Las Colinas Can Help
Smiles Las Colinas is devoted to providing individualized treatments, whether you are looking for a whitening treatment, Invisalign, or porcelain veneers from our cosmetic dentist, or require a family dental practitioner to address the needs of everyone, regardless of age. Oral sedation is available to those with a fear of the dentist.
Our dentists are skilled, qualified, and continuously trained. Aside from completing continuing education courses, we’re equipped with a state-of-the-art facility that supports digital x-rays that improve accuracy. We offer laser gum treatment and same-day crowns and bridges as well.
Preventative dentistry is taken very seriously, so your healthy teeth habits are rewarded. Our team also provides:
- Root canals
- Tooth extractions
- Crowns and bridges
- Dental implants
- Implant supported dentures
- Teeth grinding treatment
Laser gum treatments are used to remove bacteria from below the gum line. No cutting or stitches are required. Early stages of disease often have no symptoms, but early detection and treatment can avoid progression. Symptoms can be prevented, too, but, if you experience these, look for red, tender, swollen, or bleeding gums. You may have bad breath or be sensitive to hot or cold foods or drinks. Gum recession is a sign of trouble, as are loose or shifting teeth.
Fortunately, our dental lasers provide a minimally invasive alternative to traditional surgical techniques. The treatment is pain-free and faster, while the recovery time is minimal. It’s used to repair tissues, sterilize infected tissue, conduct a crown lengthening procedure, or complete a frenectomy or a correction of tissue under the tongue and between the top front teeth.
We Care About Your General Health
Smiles Las Colinas can address other health issues as well. Sleep apnea is when a person experiences abnormal breathing during sleep. In fact, breathing can stop altogether. The condition causes a lack of sleep and increases the risk of problems such as depression, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart and liver issues.
We offer a convenient alternative treatment to CPAP machines. A custom-fit oral appliance moves the lower jaw forward to keep the airway open during sleep. It can alleviate snoring and symptoms such as daytime drowsiness, headaches, dry mouth, and waking up short of breath, gasping, or gagging.
Schedule an Appointment Today
When visiting the dentist, Irving patients get more than a simple cleaning. Our team is trained to ensure you know how to keep your teeth healthy. Smiles Las Colinas is also keen on spotting signs of other health issues. For a dental cleaning, examination, and treatment you can be thankful for, request an appointment online at our Las Colinas, Arlington, or Flower Mound office today!