Contributed by: Carolyn D. Holden
Our proactive oral guidelines will prevent major health concerns later on
An apple a day keeps the dentist away. Brush your teeth twice each day. Don’t eat sugary snacks before bedtime. All of these statements are very wise preventive dental care tips. Actually, they are probably pieces of advice that your dentist has been prescribing for years. But did you know that every dollar you spend on preventive care—things like electronic toothbrushes, floss or dental cleanings—will actually save you money as far as emergency and cosmetic dentist procedures later on?
It’s true that your dentist is in the business of making money—and a good deal of it! However, by advising you on good dental care and booking regularly check-ups and cleanings, he or she is helping you avoid more serious and expensive tooth and gum health problems.
So take the advice of your dentist, follow these proactive oral health tips to save money on preventable dental procedures down the road:
1. Check in with your dentist regularly: This tip will save you a ton on your mouth later on—especially if you are covered under a dental plan that covers yearly check-ups and cleanings. Take advantage of those exams, teeth cleanings, or X-rays covered by your insurance. Getting Regular check-ups catch oral issues early on— before they become more serious and expensive (for example, root canals, veneers, etc.)
2. Brush your teeth twice a day: The professionals from the American Dental Association (ADA) recommend brushing teeth twice per day using these techniques:
- Brush in circular and up and down motions
- Focus circular stroke on the gum line to remove food bits
- Use toothpaste with fluoride (for adults and children)
- Electric toothbrushes are especially effective for kids who might not enjoy brushing with a manual toothbrush
- Choose a manual toothbrush with soft bristles
3. Floss every day: Flossing your teeth helps prevent gingivitis, which can causes gums to decay as well as painful infections (called gingivitis pockets) to occur. Flossing banishes bits of food and tartar from between the hard-to-reach areas between the crowns of your teeth and gums. Flossing will also make your yearly cleanings much more effective and much less painless.
4. Eat a healthy diet: A diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and calcium-rich dairy products will help prevent tooth decay. At the same time, limiting your intake of sugary, sticky and starchy foods will decrease plaque bacteria and buildup on your teeth.
5. Drink water—and lots of it: Hydrating your body with 8 to 10 glasses of water a day cleanses the mouth and helps wash away food stuck between your teeth. You can add to the benefits of water by drinking beverages that contain fluoride.
6. Get your fluoride treatments at the dentist: Harvard studies show that fluoride is safe and effective for cavity prevention. A yearly fluoride treatment can help drastically decline your risk of tooth decay.
7. Butt out: There’s a reason why leading health organizations like the American Academy of Periodontology warns smokers to quit. Smoking not only increases your risk of periodontal disease, the chemicals in tobacco can slow down the body’s ability to heal after infection, and increase your risk for gum disease and tooth loss.
8. Be proactive in your dental care: We’re aware that you’re not a dentist, but educating yourself on oral care by asking your dentist how to better care for your teeth will save you a lot of money and time. Ask for instance:
- How long should I wait before I change my toothbrush?
- What kind of toothbrush should I use?
- Can you recommend a brand of toothpaste for my dental needs?
Can you demonstrate proper brushing and flossing techniques?