Here is a short list of dental-health tips that most patients have either forgotten or never knew:
Don’t eat ice cubes. It is the season for this refreshing pastime, but it can result in fractured teeth. Many older fillings are made of silver, which doesn’t bond to teeth like the white amalgams and can cause tiny cracks because of the stress of chewing hard items like cubes, candy or unpopped popcorn kernels.
Brush at 45-degree angle. To clean the sulcus (the space between the gumline and the point where gum attaches to the tooth), turn your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and get the bristles in there. A normal depth for the sulcus is 2-3 millimeters, but if it reaches 7-8 it’s time to start worrying.
Deep pocket cleaning. To clean in a particularly deep pocket, try tying a single or double knot in your floss to catch any food particles.
Flossing the back teeth. When flossing the back teeth, curve the thread around the tooth and push it underneath the gumline.
When to change your toothbrush. When the outer bristles of your brush start to flare, it’s time to change it.
Rinse until you get to your toothbrush. If you eat a sweet snack and can’t get to your toothbrush for a while, rinse with water to delay the sugar’s activity.
Stop smoking. Smoking is so destructive to teeth and gums that many periodontists won’t even treat these patients because the prognosis for recovery is so poor.
Courtesy of The American Dental Association‘s website: ada.org
Good Oral Health is Good For You
Improper oral care may lead to plaque buildup and plaque formation may lead to gingivitis, which in some patients may progress to periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease.
Recent evidence suggests that periodontitis may be associated with heart disease, diabetes and other health conditions.
What is the association between oral health and your heart?
- Some studies suggest that oral inflammation and bacteria associated with periodontitis may be associated with the development of heart disease
- One theory is that harmful oral bacteria may enter the bloodstream and attach to fatty deposits in the blood vessels of the heart
- Another theory is that inflammatory proteins may enter the bloodstream and may stimulate inflammation in blood vessels
- Both theories suggest that these conditions may lead to blood clots and contribute to heart disease
When you have heart disease, maintaining good oral health is important. Remember to:
- Make sure your dentist and hygienist know you have a heart problem
- Have regular dental checkups
- Maintain good oral health by brushing and flossing twice a day
- Eat healthy, exercise and if you smoke, quit
What is the association between diabetes and oral health?
- Diabetes may affect your oral health, and your oral health may affect your diabetes
- Studies show that gum disease may be more difficult to manage and /or eliminate in patients with diabetes
- When your blood sugar levels are poorly controlled, the following oral conditions may develop: periodontitis, tooth loss, thrush, a fungal infection of the mouth, and dry mouth
- And recent evidence suggests that periodontitis may adversely affect a person with diabetes in controlling his/her blood sugar levels
When you have diabetes, maintaining good oral health is important. Remember to:
- Follow your physician’s instructions and control your blood sugar levels
- Go for regular dental checkups (tell your dentist and hygienist you have diabetes and about any medications you may be taking)
- Practice good oral hygiene with twice-a-day brushing and flossing