Simple Steps to Maintain Your Oral Health

THE TRUTH ABOUT SOME COMMON DENTAL MYTHS

The profession of dentistry has experienced an amazing evolution over its lifetime. References to tooth decay can be found in various ancient texts. At one time, a local barber would provide haircuts and pull troublesome teeth in the same shop. Dentistry evolved from these humble beginnings to what we know today: a structured medical discipline where patients benefit from evidenced-based care. Oddly enough, though, several oral health myths and misconceptions have failed to fade away....

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SIMPLE STEPS TO MAINTAIN YOUR ORAL HEALTH

On the list of common reasons people avoid the dentist, cost is usually near the top. It is a fact — some dental treatments are expensive. However, you have some control in working to avoid pricey dental procedures. Two of the best ways to avoid needing expensive dental treatments are to visit a dentist regularly for an exam and cleaning and following proper dental hygiene advice every day.

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COMMON SLEEP DISORDER WREAKS HAVOC ON THE BODY

The National Sleep Foundation estimates over 18 million adults in the United States, or about one in every 15 people, suffer from sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that interrupts breathing, resulting in disruptive sleep. Individuals suffering from obstructive sleep apnea will experience a repetitive (partial or complete) airway collapse throughout their sleep, which prevents air from reaching the lungs.

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SIMPLE STEPS TO MAINTAIN YOUR ORAL HEALTH


If you need cost-saving alternatives to a private dental office, look for free dental screening announcements or options available through dental schools or dental hygiene programs.

Five Minutes Each Day,  Every Day.

Visiting the dentist regularly is only part of the answer to helping avoid expensive dental treatments. It is no real surprise that a good daily oral health routine is also important. This includes brushing twice a day for two minutes each time, as well as flossing daily.


Yes, dentists still recommend flossing because the floss reaches bacteria your toothbrush does not. What happens when you skip brushing? More than just bad breath occurs. Plaque, a sticky film, forms on your teeth. When you eat or drink foods containing sugar, the bacteria produce acids that can dissolve tooth structure. Once the tooth breaks down, cavities can form. Bacteria in the mouth can cause an infection of the gum tissue, which can also lead to bone loss. If not removed, plaque can turn to a harder, more resistant substance called tartar or calculus. Tartar is very stubborn and must be removed in a dental office. If it is not removed, tartar can lead to inflamed and infected gums.


Bonus Tip: Be Mindful of What You’re Eating.

Your diet is also important to your dental health. The foods and beverages you put in your mouth can have a direct impact on your teeth. Tooth decay and its progression can be influenced by:



Foods that can harm your dental health include empty-calorie foods such as candy, cookies, cakes and chips; drinks containing sugar (soda, lemonade, juice or sweetened coffee or tea); and acidic foods.


Your Mouth’s Best Defense.

In oral health, as in many sports, the best defense is a good offense. Regular dental office visits and committing to five minutes of oral health care per day can help many people avoid major dental issues. Avoiding high dental treatment costs aside, keeping your mouth healthy is also an important part of maintaining your overall health.    

DR. SUSAN BISHOP

Dr. Susan Bishop is an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry. She sees patients in the Faculty Practice Clinic in the Dental Science Building on the UK campus. She loves how the field of dentistry blends art with science. Her clinical interests include general, aesthetic and family dentistry. More information on UK Dentistry is available at www.ukhealthcare.uky.edu/dentistry.

more articles by dr Susan Bishop

On the list of common reasons people avoid the dentist, cost is usually near the top. It is a fact — some dental treatments are expensive. However, you have some control in working to avoid pricey dental procedures. Two of the best ways to avoid needing expensive dental treatments are to visit a dentist regularly for an exam and cleaning and following proper dental hygiene advice every day.


Don’t Miss Your Regular Visits.

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends regular dental visits at intervals determined by a dentist. Individual patient risk factors determine the frequency of exams and cleanings needed to prevent disease. Visiting the dentist regularly helps ensure better oral health and typically less costly dental expenses overall. Small cavities can be treated before they lead to an infection or the destruction of significant tooth structure. Gum disease caught early can usually be treated instead of leading to tooth and bone loss. Even if you are not experiencing any pain or symptoms, still plan to visit the dentist regularly. You definitely want to follow ADA advice and visit the dentist if you are experiencing any of the following: