Unfortunately, gum disease is very common. But completely preventable.
Here are some simple ways to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
If you keep your teeth and gums healthy, you will only need to visit the dentist for cleanings and checkups. Not major treatment.
1. Brush for two to three minutes, at least twice a day, with fluoridated toothpaste. Be sure to brush along the gumline. Remove the bits of food Don’t brush too hard, but be thorough. Scrubbing your gums aggressively can be painful and is a BIG don’t.
2. Floss daily to remove plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. Don’t like to floss? Try a floss holder, which makes it far less complicated to insert the floss between teeth. But get over your aversion to flossing, unless you want decay or gingivitis (gum disease).
3. Although not a substitute for brushing and flossing, using a mouth rinse can prevent plaque accumulation and keep your enamel strong. Remember that fluoride mouth rinses are not the same as mouthwashes. Mouthwashes have alcohol and are designed to freshen breath. (But they can worsen dry mouth which can cause other problems.)
4. Eat a healthy diet. Starchy and sugary foods increase plaque. A nutritious diet provides the nutrients necessary (vitamins A and C, in particular) to keep teeth and gums healthy.
5. Avoid cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, which may bring about periodontitis (advanced gum disease) or oral cancer. While you’re at it, avoid E-cigs and vapors.
6. Be aware that certain medications can also threaten a healthy smile. These include oral contraceptives, antidepressants, and heart medicines. If your medications are affecting your dental health, talk to Dr. Buchheit.
7. Exercise preventive care and schedule regular exams — the best way to detect early signs of gum disease and make a plan to reverse it.
8. Talk to your dentist about oral health issues such as old, broken fillings, or crowded teeth.
9. If you grind your teeth, talk with Dr. Buchheit about ways to protect your teeth.
Listed above are nine simple ways to ensure your teeth don’t decay, or worse, fall out completely. It’s vital to brush your teeth in the morning and at night. Bonus points for brushing and/or rinsing after lunch. Daily dental hygiene also keeps your breath fresh. Your friends, family, and co-workers will appreciate that.