Taking proper care of your teeth and gums is the best way to keep your smile healthy for life. Think of your mouth as the environment from which to eat, speak, smile, and laugh. All of these functions are important to the way we feel and the way we are perceived. When oral health is a priority, we seek ways to improve it, and doing so is probably the simplest way to help ensure overall well-being.
Oral Hygiene Basics
Brush your teeth thoroughly for two minutes, once in the morning and then again before bedtime. Floss once per day, preferably after your last meal of the day.
Choose an ADA approved toothbrush with soft bristles that is easy to maneuver around teeth. Children often do a better job with a motorized toothbrush as it adds an element of fun and does the work in less time. An electric toothbrush can also benefit those who suffer from arthritis or have other problems with their fine motor skills.
Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to clean along the gum line and front surfaces of teeth. Use a small circular motion, taking time to be thorough. For backs of teeth, use several short strokes to remove plaque and food debris from each tooth.
Seeing the Dentist
Generally, it’s best to see your dentist twice a year for routine exams and cleanings. This provides sufficient opportunity to catch an issue with a tooth early before it leads to a dental emergency or threatens the health of other teeth or soft-tissue.
If you have experienced any form of gum disease, or have a condition that puts you at increased risk of developing problems with your gums, you should be consulting a periodontist. This specialist deals with the soft tissue and underlying bone that is the foundation of your smile. Gum health is important, as this tissue supports each tooth and along with your jawbone, keeps them firmly in place.
Your dentist or periodontist will also check for signs of illness that may first appear in your mouth. In addition, a direct link between many systemic conditions and oral health has been established. Potent oral bacteria can travel to the heart and lungs and cause infection or other serious health complications.
The Importance of Our Smiles
The oral and overall health connection makes caring for our smiles even more important. We count on our mouth to nourish and express ourselves. When we learn to respect our smiles and every aspect of our teeth and gums, we not only gain healthy teeth, we take the first steps to improving every part of our lives.
Dr. Brian Gurinsky provides advanced periodontal care in Denver and Centennial, CO.