An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure!
This old piece of wisdom certainly holds true when it comes to your dental health. Good dental care starts with you, but unfortunately, so many people still neglect the basics, let alone making other lifestyles changes that will help keep the mouth healthy.
“Brush three times a day. Floss. Cut down on sugary foods.”
We’ve heard this message our whole lives, but do we really understand how critical this advice is in keeping our teeth and gums healthy and cutting down our dental expenses? With so many people going without healthcare benefits nowadays, it is more important than ever to make sure we are doing everything possible to keep our mouth healthy. Home care costs so little and good habits are priceless when it comes to keeping dental cost low.
How can you keep your future costs down? Follow these common sense tips:
PRACTICE GOOD ORAL HYGIENE
Home care takes only minutes out of your day. Getting into the habit of brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily takes such little time, but the benefits to your oral health is huge. In addition, rinsing daily with an antiseptic mouth rinse will kill the germs that cause plaque buildup, gingivitis and bad breath. This is the very bare minimum you should be doing each day to help prevent cavities and gum disease.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT TOOTHBRUSH and TOOTHPASTE
Your teeth and gums are not designed to withstand the abrasive forces of hard bristled toothbrushes and abrasive toothpastes. They will eventually show signs of wear and recession. Choose a soft bristle toothbrush and remember ask your dental provider to show you how to use a brushing technique that will allow you to brush both your teeth and gums. Ensure that your toothbrush is able to get into hard to reach places and is replaced when it shows signs of wear – every 3 or so months.
DO NOT NEGLECT PROFESSIONAL CARE
When it comes to professional dental care, neglect can be costly. It is surprising how many people do not visit the dentist until they are in pain. This is can be very costly in terms of long lasting damage to teeth, future dental problems and higher treatment fees. Prevention is key in keeping disease and dental costs at bay! We understand how tempting it must be to skip regular care visits when you are trying to be judicious with your limited funds, but neglecting professional exams , cleanings and treatment actually adds to dental costs as we tend to see more tartar buildup, unhealthier gums and we miss the opportunity to detect problems when they are small, less costly issues.
Snacking may not seem like a harmful habit, but eating in between regular meals interferes with the natural healing and repair process that is supposed to be taking place between meals. Most meals result in bacterial acids attacking and destroyed the hard tissues of your teeth. Your saliva then repairs this damage over a 4-5 hour period. When you eat sugary or highly acidic foods during this time, you are sabotaging this healing process by introducing another harmful acid attack. Nowadays, so many processed foods contain sugars. Even sugars found naturally in fruits and vegetables help form this bacterial acid. Reach for water! Fill up on water rather than snacking. Not only is the hydrating nature of water beneficial to the body in so many ways, it also improves the quantity and quality of your saliva. Reduce the number of acid attacks during the day and let your saliva do it’s job!
HEALTHY FOOD CHOICES
Your oral health and over-well health depends on the good nutrients it gets from eating a well-balanced diet. You may not be aware that some foods that are healthy for our bodies yet are not really dentally healthy because they are hard to clean away from teeth and encourage the type of bacterial activity that causes harm to teeth and gums. If you are considering changing your food habits to a healthier diet, start with looking at the five major food groups. Because there are a variety of foods available from each groups, choose ones that are in their natural form rather than are part of a processed food product are plentiful.
Here is a good article from the Ontario Dental Hygienists Association to assist you in making wiser food choices.
HYDRATING and RINSING
You can’t always get to a toothbrush to clean your teeth after a meal, so rinsing with water or a mouth wash is the next best thing. Not only will this help clear food debris away from the teeth making less food for the germs, it also helps your saliva dilute the bacterial acids that are attacking teeth and thereby helping to return your mouth to a normal pH level where bacteria are less active.
Less food > less bacteria > less acid > less tooth decay.
AVOID the TOXINS
People who regularly use intoxicating substances may already know the toll it can take on the body, but may not realize that it can cause significant damage to teeth and gums. Many chemicals in addictive substances like tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs can impair our body’s defense systems making the repair and recovery in our mouth difficult. Prolong and excessive use of these substances cause tooth decay and erosion, gum disease, bone loss, dry mouth, infections, grinding and clenching, staining, bad breath, oral cancer and tooth loss.
Ontario Smoker’s Helpline: 1-877-513-5333
Ontario Addiction Treatment Helpline: 1-800-419-7941
Even chewing sugarless gum will stimulate salvia floe to help protect teeth from decay! So make sure to always carry some gum with you to chew after a meal if you can’t brush your teeth right away. Share this information with a teacher and it will help to combat all the extra in school snacking the happens at recess!
Healthy teeth starts with healthy choices.
Being proactive about your oral health is key to preventing breakdown and diseases in the mouth. Skipping dental appointments and neglecting dental health because of money will certainly increase the cost of future visits. There are a number of government programs in Ontario that you may be able to access to help you find affordable dental care in your community. Call your local Health Department for more information.
The above tips are basically long term lifestyle changes for people who want to save money on their dental healthcare while still saving their teeth for life. It’s an affordable win-win situation and we’re always here to help!