When you think about dental health, bright, dazzling, straight teeth may come to mind. There’s definitely an aesthetic value to a beautiful smile, making services like teeth whitening, veneers and Invisalign® increasingly popular. But that’s only part of the story.
Have you ever heard the expression about your mouth providing a window to your overall health? It may sound a little lofty. After all, are your teeth really that important when you look at the big picture of your overall health?
Drew Shabo, DDS at Simple Smiles in Johnson City, TN answers with a resounding “Yes!” Tapping into his experience, Dr. Shabo gives us the 411 on the importance of your dental health and how you can safeguard it.
Why is dental health important?
If you are among the more than the 7 million Americans who have undergone knee or hip replacement surgery or the more than 182,000 Americans that have had heart valve surgery, you recall that you needed to get a clean bill of dental health prior to scheduling your procedure. What does one thing have to do with the other? Plenty — but it all comes down to bacteria.
The mouth is jam packed with bacteria, most of which is harmless or can be kept in check with vigilant oral care practices like brushing and flossing and professional dental cleanings. But if bacteria builds up, it not only can result in tooth decay or gum disease, but it also may also play a role in a number of health issues like diabetes and heart disease.
In the case of surgical procedures, untreated bacteria can travel to the surgical site with potential serious complications. The good news is, there are simple steps you can take to safeguard your dental health.
Brush and floss daily
Brushing your teeth at least twice daily and flossing are the first line of defense against bacteria buildup. The goal is not only to wash away small particles of food that may remain, but to also prevent bad bacteria from lingering and causing decay or gum disease. Brush gently for about two minutes and don’t forget to cover all surfaces of your teeth. Finish off your brushing regimen by cleaning your tongue with a toothbrush or tongue scraper.
Avoid excess sugar and sugary drinks
Plan healthy meals and snacks to fuel your body with the nutrients it needs and select healthy options when it comes to your beverage choices. Ditch sugary sodas and processed juices, which are known contributors to tooth decay. Instead choose milk, water, and fresh juices. Occasional sweets and desserts are fine; just don’t make them a habit. Your teeth and your waistline will thank you.
Visit your dentist for checkups and professional cleanings
Scheduling routine appointments for dental checkups and professional cleanings is the ultimate complement to vigilant at-home oral care. Unfortunately, according to the American Dental Association, each year an estimated 100 million Americans skip seeing the dentist altogether, putting them at higher risk to developing cavities and gum disease or worse.
During a regular checkup, your dentist not only monitors the health of your teeth and gums, but he is also trained to detect symptoms of other systemic issues that may first show up in the mouth as an oral problem or lesion. Catching small dental issues before they turn into big, painful problems is important.
The professional cleaning portion of the checkup can remove the plaque buildup that you can’t get to by brushing and flossing alone. At Simple Smiles, we use an ultrasonic scaler that delivers high-frequency sound waves to get rid of plaque and tartar. Your Simple Smiles hygienist then uses dental-grade toothpaste to clean your teeth and tops off the session with thorough flossing and a fluoride treatment, as needed.
If you have concerns about your dental health, schedule an appointment with the team at Simple Smiles in Johnson City, Tennessee. Use our convenient online booking tool to make your appointment or call us at 423-241-6070.