According to research conducted by the World Health Organization, tooth decay has become a global problem. While a world full of incomplete smiles would be troubling enough, recent research has found links between tooth decay and the development of such chronic diseases as diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.
Even in the U.S., where preventative dental care ranks as some of the best and most advanced in the world, tooth decay has become the leading chronic illness among kids, while 25 percent of seniors have lost all of their natural teeth.
To help you take back you oral health and avoid the long-term problems associated with tooth decay, you need to create an oral health plan that enables you to maintain and improve the health of your teeth and gums. Here’s how to get started.
Schedule a Dental Appointment
Over 100 million Americans fail to visit the dentist regularly, according to the Center for Public Integrity. In addition to depriving you of the routine checkups and cleanings, failing to visit the dentist also deprives you of the knowledge needed to improve the health of your teeth and gums.
Every person’s oral health is different, and depends largely on factors such as the current state of your health and the types of prescription medications you take daily. If you suffer from diabetes, for example, or take medications that cause dry mouth as a symptom, your daily oral hygiene routine would differ greatly from someone who only suffered from mild decay.
By scheduling an initial exam with dentist in Sandy, OR Dr. Conklin, you can begin to gain a better understanding of the current state of your oral health, including how many, if any, cavities you have, whether you suffer from early stage gum disease, and what steps you need to take at home to maintain and improve your oral care.
Create an Oral Hygiene Routine
Once you understand the current state of your oral health, you can begin to create an oral hygiene routine that will meet your needs. If you suffer from tooth decay, for example, you may need to brush more often throughout the day with toothpaste fortified with additional fluoride to help offset the damage caused by plaque, a sticky bacteria that contributes to tooth decay. Flossing longer and more frequently can treat early stage gum disease, which will help prevent your gums from bleeding or becoming red and swollen after brushing and flossing.
If you take medications that cause dry mouth as a symptom, you may need to drink additional glasses of water or chew sugar free gum periodically throughout the day to replenish saliva levels in the mouth. Individuals with diabetes may need to schedule more frequent dental appointments to help offset the effects the disease has on their oral health.
Whatever your unique oral hygiene requirements, you can use the knowledge gained about your oral health to create a custom routine that will help prevent decay. Quality oral care is a habit that’s all about repetition. Considering the hectic lives most Americans lead, you may want to consider creating a routine that allows you to take care of your oral care needs at the same time everyday. Once these habits become ingrained into your daily routine, you’ll find yourself forgetting to floss or brush far less often than before.
Improve Your Diet
The primary cause for tooth decay is plaque, a sticky mixture of bacteria and food particles that develops in everybody’s mouth. Plaque causes decay by releasing damaging substances that eat away at tooth enamel whenever you consume carbohydrates or simple sugars, two things the typical American diet contains in heavy quantities.
One of the easiest ways to prevent decay, and to lose a few extra pounds, is to eat a healthy and balanced diet that contains plenty of whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables. The better your diet, the less damage plaque will be able to inflict on the health of your teeth and gums.