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When you get a haircut, your hair continues to grow. If you fall and scrape your knee, a scab forms and the skin heals. When you trim your fingernails or toenails, they ultimately grow back. The body is incredibly resilient, but unfortunately you only get one chance with your teeth. When you neglect your teeth and allow them to decay, they're stuck that way for the rest of life. Your teeth do not heal. Enamel does not grow back. Any damage or issues your teeth are suffering from needs to be addressed and fixed by a dentist; the problem won't resolve itself. That's why practicing good dental hygiene is so important. Maintaining good dental hygiene is so simple and only takes a few minutes each day, yet it seems to be something that many individuals put on the back burner or don't place an emphasis on.
Below are four basic dental hygiene tips that everyone should follow.
1. Schedule a dentist appointment every 6 months
Recommendations on how often you should visit a dentist vary, but every 6 months is a good goal to aim for. Most dental insurance plans cover bi-annual cleanings and checkups, so you should take advantage of them to ensure your teeth remain in tip-top shape. If life gets a bit hectic and you only make it in once a year, that's fine, too. Annual dental appointments should be sufficient to keep your teeth in good condition, particularly if you have good oral health and you stay on top of brushing and flossing. However, even people with great teeth can still benefit from professional cleanings, so don't lapse too long between appointments even if you don't think you have a need to come. Preventative care is always better than the restorative care that will be necessary if a problem presents itself because you skipped a few checkups and cleanings.
2. Brush twice a day
It seems like common sense, and this recommendation is taught very early on in life, but a surprising number of people don't brush their teeth twice a day. Each time you brush your teeth only takes two to three minutes, and the benefits are immense. By brushing regularly, you'll keep your teeth in great shape for years to come, which not only helps preserve that beautiful white smile, but saves you a significant amount of money on dental work. We certainly appreciate our patients and we're always happy to help, but we'd much rather only see you once every six months for a routine checkup and cleaning than we would to see you over and over again for fillings and other procedures to correct the damage that's done by not sticking to a regular brushing schedule.
3. Use mouthwash
Mouthwash can’t replace brushing because it isn’t able to physically scrape away plaque like your toothbrush can, but using mouthwash in conjunction with brushing is a good habit. The biggest benefit of mouthwash (aside from giving you fresh breath, which is always nice) is that it greatly reduces the amount of bacteria in your mouth. Over 500 species of bacteria can be found in plaque, so using mouthwash is a great way to kill any bacteria left behind after brushing.
There’s an ongoing debate about whether flossing regularly to keep healthy gums helps ward off larger medical problems like heart disease and stroke. For years, many doctors and scientists believed there was a link between the two, however, more recently the consensus is that there’s no true connection between gum disease and heart health. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t floss. Flossing is crucial in fighting tooth decay and gum disease, which occurs when plaque is left to linger on teeth along the gum line. Flossing is the best way to clear out plaque and buildup in between your teeth, which are difficult-to-reach spots that you can’t quite get to with your toothbrush.
Very few people make it through life without experiencing a dental problem. From accidents like a chipped tooth to cavities that develop over time, dental issues are a part of life. Don't panic or stress out if it turns out you have a problem that needs to be fixed. Even people that follow the most stringent dental hygiene routine will still end up needing professional dental care. It's nothing to stress about, that's what we're here for. Whether you’re looking for a new dentist, overdue for a checkup, or have a problem that needs to be fixed, be sure to schedule an appointment so we can help. Going to the dentist is never fun, but it’s our goal to make your appointments as pleasant as possible. We use state-of-the-art techniques and equipment combined with years of experience to change the world, one smile at a time. Give us a call today!
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