Saturday, December 22, 2012

6 Habits to Keep Your Teeth Healthy

Poor dental health can make you miserable in more ways than one. A bad tooth can cause pain that will envelope half your head. You could experience temporary loss of function and even tooth loss if problems are unchecked. There are even links between gum disease and other serious problems including heart disease, diabetes, respiratory problems, and failed pregnancies.

Keeping your teeth healthy means maintaining good habits and being quick to take care of problems as soon as they appear. Here are some important ways you can keep your mouth healthy.

1. At home dental care
The most important thing you can do for your teeth is to keep up good hygiene habits including brushing at least twice a day, flossing once a day, and rinsing with mouthwash regularly. If you aren't able to brush immediately after eating, chewing a sugar free gum will help prevent growth of bacteria.

2. Pay attention to your gums too
Most of the things you are doing to care for your teeth will maintain gum health as well and help prevent gum disease, which can cause receding gum lines, bone loss, and tooth loss not to mention other health problems. But be careful not to brush on your gums too hard. Use a soft bristle tooth brush and up and down rather than side to side motions to avoid damaging your gums.
3. Regular dental checkups
Even if you have great oral hygiene habits you can still get cavities and infected gums. So it's important to see your dentist regularly for checkups. They will be able to find the first signs of problems even before you can. Also brush your tongue to remove bacteria that causes decay and bad breath.
4. Look for signs of trouble
Pay attention to your mouth. Look for dark spots in your molars and indentions or holes in all your teeth. Over sensitivity to cold, sweet, or pressure may also be signs of cavities. Also watch for inflamed, painful, or receding gums, which are signs of gum disease.

5. Act immediately when you notice a problem
Don't delay seeing a dentist hoping your problems will just go away. By the time you notice a problem, it's probably worse than you think. Dentists have a lot of tools in their belts to find and correct problems and minimize damage. But the longer you wait, the fewer your options become.

6. It's never too late to start taking care of your teeth
Maybe you haven't been taking care of your teeth as well as you should have. You may think because you haven't seen any signs of trouble you're OK. But by the time you start feeling pain, damage has already been done. Maybe you think you're destined to dentures already. But you might be surprised what dentists are capable of now.

Whatever the reason, know that the longer you wait, the worse things will be. A filling is a lot less painful than a root canal. A root canal is a lot less painful than pulling a tooth. Even at that point you have options. Today's dental implants function and look just like real teeth. But if your bone or gum tissue is too deteriorated, that may not be an option for you. Go see your dentist, start to brush and floss and commit to keeping these habits up. The only guarantee you have is that if you do nothing you'll lose them all.