What is the first thing we notice when we meet someone? If you said body, you should reevaluate your thinking, but if you said someone’s teeth, ding ding ding, you win!
Teeth are the first and foremost line of communication, so it is no surprise that is the most noticeable part of someone. If you are a dental professional, raise a hand, because the years of training, educating, and treating teeth, yes we absolutely see someone’s teeth before anything else.
Now it may seem vain to say teeth are important, but I’m going to argue this point. Because well I’m a dental professional myself, and its just basic human need. So why are teeth so important? Number one is they chew your food, allowing your body to digest necessary nutrients to keep you alive.
Point two is that they are needed to establish bone levels in your jaw. No one wants a glass jaw, no teeth= bone recession. See the crazy yet wonderful thing about our bodies is that they adjust to change. So, when your teeth are not grounded in bone, the bone to make a simple term doesn’t continue to hold the tooth in place, thus losing its current job position. Point three your teeth help keep the form of your face. If you have ever seen an individual in dentures, will notice their lips and cheeks sink in. This leads to looking older than you currently are. Once you lose that facial structure that is held in place by the teeth, you don’t ever get that back.
Now, I can go on and on about the wonders of the human dentition but in hopes to educate and not bore I will get right down to the nitty gritty. You need your teeth. To keep your teeth, you need to maintain them. Think of your vehicle, you need it to get to work/school/etc., and when it needs an oil change you make sure to take it to get changed. You are maintaining your vehicle so that it will last you longer. Same with teeth, maintaining good oral hygiene strongly promotes the health of your dentition, as well as assisting in your teeth lasting you a long time.
So how do we maintain our pearly whites? Step one: brush those bad boys at least twice a day. Once in the morning/ once in the evening. Make sure you brush for at least two minutes. There are plenty of electric toothbrushes on the market that offer timers, music that runs for two minutes, or other ways to make sure you hit that time mark for clean. Brushing alone is not enough to help you maintain good oral hygiene. You must do everyone’s least favorite dental exercise, Flossing. When I was in dental assisting school, there was a saying, “Only Floss the Teeth you want to Keep.” There is so much truth to that. If you do not floss you do not remove, plaque and tartar from in-between your teeth. The building up of plaque and tartar causes your gums to recede, causing gum disease. Untreated gum disease can result in bone recession and tooth loss.
If flossing seems like a burden, there are many awesome dental products you can use. Floss picks are a big hit for both adults and children. Easy to use, no wrapping floss around your fingers anymore. Also, there are interproximal brushes, if there is space between your teeth, these handy little brushes keep the spaces free of food, decreasing the plaque and tartar buildup. Electronic tooth brushes also offer what is called a Floss Tip. This pointed tip works to get between your teeth to keep your interproximals clean. Even though flossing used to seem hard, it is far easier and less time consuming thanks to these awesome and easy products.
Brushing and flossing seem to be the whole package deal, do these and you will have healthy teeth. Well there is truth to that there still needs to be more maintenance than brushing and flossing. Another car analogy because I like cars and they make for good analogies. Your car, needs gas to run, if you put cheap gas in your car, it does not run as well, won’t go as many miles. But if you put high quality gas in your vehicle you can go further miles while using good quality items that go into your vehicle. Where am I going with this you ask? Well like the car that gets the good gas. Your oral hygiene also has to do with what you are putting into your body.
How does what we eat affect our oral health? Oh, let me count the ways. Food has a PH range like all matters in life. Our mouth needs a stable ph to help promote good health in your mouth. Foods that are highly acidic can over time wear down the enamel on your teeth. Food products containing sugar, also have a similar affect. Sugar promotes cavities. No getting around this one. Also, sugar is what I call the cement boot of food ingredients. Not only does it cause you to have bad oral hygiene it also makes for bad overall health throughout your whole body. To fight off infections, to ensure we are healthy individuals, we need to make sure we are eating foods that promote not only body wellness but dental wellness.
Make sure to have regular dental cleaning every 6 months. The purpose of dental professionals is to educate, prevent, and when needed treat dental concerns. I know that the dentist office can be scary. I promise we are some of the nicest and gentlest folks out there. If you are apprehensive about dental care, be assured, dentists offices have many ways that they can help you feel comfortable. Some offices can offer medicines to decrease anxiety, almost all offices offer nitrous oxide (laughing gas), and local anesthetic. So, fear not, we can make you comfortable. So, brave up if necessary, call your local dentist, and make your appointment today. Who knows, maybe I’ll see you in my office!