Masks are coming down, and smiles are coming out…4 tips to promote your health and well-being
All across North Texas masks are starting to come down. With the increase in fully-vaccinated individuals and cases on the decline, businesses throughout Dallas are starting to loosen mask and social distancing restrictions. It is just so refreshing to start to see smiles again. Of course as a periodontics and dental implant office, we get to see people’s mouths all the time. However, getting to see people out in public smile at each other once again – there is something special about that. Does the prospect of removing your mask and showcasing your smile once again have you thinking even more about your oral health? If not, it should. Your oral health is linked both to your overall well-being (and may even be a significant factor in your body’s response to COVID…see this study for more details) and should be on the forefront of our minds as we all consider how to promote and protect our community’s health moving forward.
Because your oral health affects your overall health and wellbeing, board-certified Dallas periodontist and dental implant specialist, Dr. Charles Orth, would like to offer some simple tips for promoting and protecting your oral health.
You hear it often because it’s true. Brushing your teeth properly is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. When brushing, be sure to do the following:
- move the brush in a circular motion several times using small, gentle strokes
- use some pressure but not so much that you feel any discomfort
- clean both the outside surfaces and the inside surfaces of all your teeth
- change the position of your brush as often as necessary to reach and clean all surfaces
- gently brush the surrounding gum tissue
- brush your tongue (doing this will can prevent potential problems and remove the presence of bacteria)
- rinse vigorously to remove loosened plaque
Flossing allows you to clean the surface of your teeth that your toothbrush cannot reach. If you avoid flossing, then you are neglecting approximately 40% of your tooth’s surface! When flossing, be sure to do the following:
- use a thread of floss at least 18″ long, wrapping the floss around the middle finger of each hand
- use a back and forth motion to slide the floss down between your teeth
- floss thoroughly by gently moving the floss up and down on the side of each tooth and below the gum line
- don’t forget the back side of the last tooth on both sides (upper and lower)
- rinse vigorously with water to remove plaque and food particles
- don’t be concerned if during your first week of flossing, your gums bleed – as you floss daily, your gums will heal and the bleeding will stop
AVOID TOXIC INFLUENCES
Many factors can negatively affect the health of your gums, which in turn negatively affects your overall health. Some of these factors, such as genetics or various medications or treatments for diseases such as cancer, cannot be avoided. But some factors that increase your risk for periodontal disease (which is the leading cause of tooth loss for adults over the age of 35) and also increase your risk of the negative effects of developing periodontal disease CAN BE AVOIDED. If possible, avoid the following toxic influences on your oral health:
- stress – yes, we know that this one can be hard to avoid; but consider adding some relaxing activities to your daily routine in order to help manage and relieve stress
- clenching and grinding teeth – if you are unsure whether or not you are clenching or grinding your teeth, discuss this with Dr. Orth at your next appointment
- poor nutrition – a good rule of thumb regarding nutrition is that the more natural, the better
- tobacco usage – tobacco users experience greater incidence of calculus formation on teeth, deeper pockets between gums and teeth, and a greater loss of the bone and fibers that hold teeth in your mouth
RECEIVE ROUTINE PROFESSIONAL CARE
Regular professional examinations and cleanings are an essential part of promoting and protecting your oral health. For most people, the recommended routine is to visit your dentist for a cleaning and exam at least 2 times every year. During your routine visit, your dentist or hygienist may recommend a consultation with a periodontist if they finds signs of periodontal disease. But you may also experience certain symptoms that indicate you should seek periodontal treatment, even without a referral from your dentist. Symptoms you should watch out for include:
- bleeding while brushing or eating normal foods
- bad breath (haliotosis) which continues despite rigorous oral cleaning
- loose teeth and gum recession
- related health concerns such as heart disease, diabetes, osteopenia, osteoporosis
If you have any questions about your oral health or especially if you have neglected your oral health and routine cleanings during this past year of COVID, we encourage you to schedule an appointment at our Dallas periodontal and dental implant office without delay.
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