6 Things Your Dentist Wants You to Know
You have the power to prevent oral health issues.
We dentists stand at the ready in the fight against tooth decay and other oral health problems. We have a lot of tools in our medicine bag that can help maintain your beautiful smile and a healthy mouth.
However, every day we see some of the same preventable oral health issues. In many cases, our patients are their own best weapon in the fight against oral disease.
Here are 6 things we wish you knew and really took to heart. If everyone was aware of these, it would cut down tremendously on oral health problems.
1. Food can be a friend or an enemy. Choose wisely.
Brushing and flossing regularly is fantastic for your dental health. It helps remove plaque and prevent hard-to-remove, bacteria-harboring tartar from forming on your teeth.
However, what you expose your teeth to also matters. Crunchy foods, like carrots and apples, can help clean your teeth; whereas other not-so-healthy options can damage them.
Sugar feeds bacteria, fueling a much faster proliferation of bad bacteria in your mouth. And getting that sugar from acidic soda is doubly bad. The acid in the soda weakens your tooth enamel, and dark-colored sodas will stain your teeth over time.
2. Flossing is important!
Approximately half of American adults over age 30 have some form of periodontal disease. If you start experiencing mild periodontal disease, usually called gingivitis or gum disease, you may be able to reverse it yourself simply by flossing your teeth. Regularly flossing your teeth is also effective at keeping periodontal disease at bay.
Little bits of food can get stuck between your teeth, and your toothbrush isn’t effective at removing them. These circumstances offer a safe haven for bacteria to accumulate and grow. Removing the food particles by flossing can eliminate this problem.
3. We don’t want you to be in pain.
Contrary to what many people seem to think, dentists don’t enjoy your pain. We’re not evil masterminds rubbing our hands together and cackling before we walk into the exam room with an innocent smile on our faces.
Instead, we seek to make your visit as pleasant as possible. That’s why we use anesthetics and other devices to alleviate your discomfort as much as we can. It’s also why we would rather prevent cavities than fill them.
4. Say no to coffee, sweets, and smoking.
Your daily habits have a huge impact on the health of your teeth and the health of your body. While the health benefits of coffee are still hotly debated, there are no health benefits to eating a lot of sugar or smoking. In fact, you’re doing a great disservice to your body with these habits.
Like soda, coffee is acidic, which weakens your tooth enamel over time. Coffee is also a major culprit in tooth discoloration, especially for coffee grazers who are constantly exposing their teeth to the dark liquid throughout the day.
Sugar fuels the production of bacteria, which is the main culprit in gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss. There is a reason so many pediatric dentists hold buy-back campaigns for Halloween candy: they’re trying to stem the tooth decay epidemic that is coming.
And smoking? We could say a lot about this awful habit. As far as your teeth go, it is a major accelerant for severe periodontal disease. Smokers are twice as likely to develop gum disease as nonsmokers, and treatments tend to be less effective. If you continue smoking, bone and tooth loss are common consequences.
5. Dental X-rays aren’t harmful.
Nobody wants to get cancer and some people shy away from dental X-rays, fearing they are a significant source of radiation. After all, your dentist is pointing that thing right at your head.
However, the levels of radiation you’re exposed to during dental X-rays aren’t harmful. You actually get the same amount of radiation from being exposed to the sun for a day. The protective gear your dentist gives you is actually out of an abundance of caution and not 100% necessary.
Furthermore, being able to detect major dental health issues and begin treatment early far outweighs any negative aspects of dental X-rays.
6. The internet is not a substitute for a dentist.
There is a wealth of health information available online these days. Unfortunately, not all of it is true or applicable to your particular situation. If you think you are dealing with a dental issue, it doesn’t hurt to research it to understand a little more about it. However, a blog post that took you two minutes to read is not a valid substitute for visiting a dentist near you who has spent several years learning all the ins and outs of oral health.
Ready to visit a dentist?
Are you looking for a great dentist in Chico, CA? Don’t hesitate to check out our practice. We offer expert dentistry for children and adults to ensure you have the best oral health possible.