Annual Oral Health Checklist: What You Need to Know

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YOUR ORAL HEALTH IS REALLY IMPORTANT.

Your teeth are far more important than you probably realize, which is why good oral hygiene habits are necessary from the moment you get your very first tooth. Unfortunately over time, whether it is as a result of neglect, general wear and tear, or unexpected trauma, your teeth are susceptible to damage and cavities. Gum disease, or periodontitis, is also a threat.

That’s the bad news. The good news is these are all preventable with the correct oral hygiene routine and regular dental check-ups. But what is good oral healthcare and how do you know you are doing all the right things?

Take a look at at our annual oral health checklist and see just how many of them you can confidently tick. While you’re at it, you can use a few of our handy tips to up your dental hygiene game.

DO YOU BRUSH YOUR TEETH AT LEAST TWICE A DAY?

One of the first steps to ensure your oral care is up to scratch is by brushing your teeth at least twice a day, preferably in the morning and just before you go to bed at night. But remember, it isn’t just about brushing. It needs to to be for two minutes at a time, using the correct brush with a fluoride toothpaste.

For the best results, you should brush in a circular motion, and don’t make the mistake of brushing too hard. This will only damage the enamel on your teeth as well as your gums.

DO YOU LOOK AFTER YOUR TEETH IN BETWEEN BRUSHES?

As much as you would like to, it’s not always possible to brush your teeth throughout the day, so how do you look after your teeth in between brushes? Dentists suggest using an antibacterial mouthwash to get rid of any food particles, or you could chew on sugar-free chewing gum.

Both of these will protect your teeth and freshen your breath when you are on the go. They will also prevent gum disease and plaque build-up on your teeth and gumline.

DO YOU FLOSS AT LEAST ONCE A DAY?

Contrary to popular belief, flossing shouldn’t only be done once a week or quickly before your annual dental check-up. Daily flossing will get to those hard-to-reach places that a toothbrush can’t. As good as flossing is, it is easy to damage your gums if you aren’t careful. Make sure you do it gently, and also only floss one tooth at a time.

We know that some people find it hard to do, and not everyone enjoys it. If this sounds like you, you could use a water flosser, pre-threaded flossers, plaque removers or a dental pick. Ask your dentist to recommend a suitable one for your needs.

ARE YOU KEEPING AN EYE ON WHAT YOU EAT AND DRINK?

You know the old saying, “An apple a day will keep the doctor at bay.” The good news is it will keep cavities and other dental issues away in the process. Most people think that what you eat and drink only affects your weight and health, but too many sugary snacks, sodas, and processed foods can also damage your teeth and gums.

Try to limit your intake of sugar to five or six teaspoons a day, and make sure you include loads of fresh fruit and vegetables in your diet. Dentists recommend cutting down the amount of coffee, tea, and red wine you drink, as these can stain or discolor your teeth. Do you have regular dental check-ups?

DO YOU ONLY POP INTO YOUR DENTIST WHEN YOU HAVE A TOOTHACHE?

Unfortunately, by then, the damage is already done. Ideally, you should see your dentist twice a year, or depending on how well you look after your teeth, once a year is fine.

With the advances in dental technology, there is a shift towards preventative care, which means potential problems can be detected before they even start. Using state of the art equipment, your dentist can do comprehensive and periodic examinations, sealants, scaling and root planing, and even oral cancer screenings.

SO HOW DID YOU DO?

Were you able to answer yes to most of the questions on the checklist? Of course, should you experience any problems in between your regular checkups, it is best to book an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.

THESE COULD INCLUDE:
  • Bleeding gums when you brush or floss
  • Swollen or sore gums
  • Sudden temperature sensitivity to food or drinks
  • Bad breath that doesn’t go away
  • An unusual taste in your mouth
  • Mouth sores or ulcers that don’t heal
  • Teeth that pull away from your gums
  • Dentures that don’t fit properly anymore
  • A change in the alignment of your teeth

IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO START LOOKING AFTER YOUR TEETH.

Bela Family Dentistry of Kershaw offers general, preventative, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry for the entire family. Book your appointment today with one of our experts. Healthy teeth and gums are only a visit away.

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