Monday, July 13, 2009

Health Care and Dental Hygiene

Americans love to smile. Keeping those pearly whites nice and white should be a priority for everyone in order to maintain a great smile and a healthy life. Having good teeth and healthy gums provides overall good health, and studies have shown that oral hygiene is critical to maintaining a healthy body. Reports by all dental sources and surveys indicate very strongly that poor dental maintenance leads to poor health and potential fatal results due to infection if not addressed in a timely basis.

According to Dr. Robert Schwartz at NYSmile.com, regular cleanings with our office promote good oral hygiene, but did you know they can also prevent a multitude of diseases? That two o’clock chair-side rendezvous may not seem nearly as exciting as a late lunch with a friend, but it will be well worth it in the end. Here are 10 really great reasons to stick with your regular cleaning schedule:

1.) It Prevents Oral Cancer. You may or may not realize that you’re screened for oral cancer during your regular dental cleaning. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, an American dies of oral cancer every hour of every day. It’s a sad proposition, especially when you consider that it is highly curable with early diagnosis.
2.) It Wards off Gum Disease. Gum disease (an infection in the gum tissues and bone that keep your teeth in place) is one of the leading causes of adult tooth loss. It can be treated and reversed if diagnosed early. Unfortunately, not receiving treatment will lead to a more serious and advanced state of gum disease. Regular cleanings and check-ups and daily brushing and flossing are key weapons in the fight against these conditions.
3.) It’s about More than Your Mouth. Sure, not getting regular check-ups may make you less kissable, but did you know that studies have linked heart attacks and strokes to gum disease associated with poor oral hygiene? A trip to your dentist's office every six months could reduce your risk of serious health problems.
4.) You Want to Preserve Your Smile. As mentioned, gum disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss in adults. To keep your pearly whites intact, stick with your cleaning schedule.
5.) It’s Best to Detect Dental Problems Early. We’ve already touched upon early detection of gum disease and oral cancer, but don’t overlook more basic dental problems. Cavities and broken fillings are easy to treat. Without regular trips to the dentist, these problems can lead to root canals, gum surgery and tooth extraction. Which sounds worse: a 30-minute cleaning or an hour under the knife?
6.) You Want to Know You’re Doing It Right. Maybe you bought a fancy new electric toothbrush, or aren’t keeping up with what current research has to say about caring for your teeth. Either way, check-ups allow us to examine your mouth and keep you on the right path.
7.) You Have Dental Insurance. Consider how much money you put into your insurance plan. Take advantage of it and save a lot of money in the long run by avoiding costly procedures that result from poor dental habits.
8.) You Want to Upgrade Your Smile. If you’re already suffering from tooth decay or gum problems, regular appointments will allow our office to create a personalized treatment plan that will give you the best smile possible.
9.) You Want to Dazzle. Regular cleanings remove most tobacco, coffee and tea stains, polishing your teeth to a beautiful shine!
10.) You Need Some Time Alone. Okay, maybe not completely alone, but the time you spend in the waiting room and in the chair is really your time. You can forget about the office or the stresses of family life. Read a magazine or work through a crossword if you want. Take advantage of the time you’re given, rather than worrying about how to fit it in your tight schedule. Your health and well-being should never take a back seat to your daily planner.

According to FamilyDoctor.org, the American Dental Association recommends that parents take their child to a dentist around his or her first birthday. This gives the dentist a chance to look for early problems with your child's teeth. Pediatric dentists specialize in treating children's dental health. You and your child's dentist should review important information about diet, bottles, tooth brushing and fluoride use. Visiting the dentist from a young age will help your child become comfortable with his or her dentist. It also establishes the good habit of regular dental check-ups. This routine is critical to establish healthy dental practices for children, adolescents, and adults.

According to Consumer Guide for Dentistry, dental hygiene, also known as oral hygiene, is the process by which preventative dental care is provided to avoid dental emergencies. At the core of dental hygiene is the in-home dental care regimen you perform. Your at-home regimen is supplemented with professional preventative dental care provided by dentists and licensed dental hygienists. While you are responsible for day-to-day dental maintenance, dental hygienists, along with general dentists, family dentists and cosmetic dentists, play an integral role in preventative oral care. Tooth brushing is fundamentally important, though it alone will not remove the calculus (also called tartar or dental plaque) that builds up over time. Calculus must be removed to lower your risk of toothaches, cavities, periodontal disease or even the loss of all your teeth. By removing calculus, you can reduce your chances of needing root canals, tooth extractions, dental bridges, crowns, and more.

The Guide, found at YourDentistryGuide.com, reports that over time calculus builds up on the teeth. If calculus forms below the gum line, bacteria can invade and create a host of other dental problems. Furthermore, the surfaces and areas between the teeth and under the gum line must be maintained and treated on a regular basis in order to ensure proper dental hygiene. These areas are impossible for you to examine yourself; they require a professional touch. Dental hygienists are often responsible for performing professional tooth cleaning, scraping hardened plaque (tartar), removing calculus deposits, taking X-rays, identifying changes in the bite (occlusion), investigating components that relate to the bone and setting up the nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”) that is used, when necessary, to relax people requiring more invasive treatment. Your dentist then works with your hygienist by further examining the teeth, mouth and gums to provide any necessary treatment for tooth decay or gum disease. Regular dental visits are critical at any age for the maintenance of dental hygiene. The American Dental Association recommends that patients visit with their dentist and dental hygienist a minimum of two times each year to maintain proper dental hygiene.

According to Colgate.com, maintaining good oral hygiene is one of the most important things you can do for your teeth and gums. Healthy teeth not only enable you to look and feel good, they make it possible to eat and speak properly. Good oral health is important to your overall well-being.Daily preventive care, including proper brushing and flossing, will help stop problems before they develop and is much less painful, expensive, and worrisome than treating conditions that have been allowed to progress. In between regular visits to the dentist, there are simple steps that each of us can take to greatly decrease the risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease, and other dental problems. These include:
--Brushing thoroughly twice a day and flossing daily.
--Eating a balanced diet and limiting snacks between meals.
--Using dental products that contain fluoride, including toothpaste.
--Rinsing with a fluoride mouth, and rinse if your dentist tells you to.
--Making sure that your children under 12 drink fluoridated water or take a fluoride supplement if they live in a non-fluoridated area.

Modern dental technology has reached a point where saving a tooth is very possible, no matter the condition of that tooth according to Healthy.Net. There are dentists available virtually on every corner with full-page advertisements in the newspapers, yellow pages and even bus benches beckoning the consumer to pay them a visit. There are dental insurances, payment plans at dental offices and dental schools offering low cost dentistry, yet statistics indicate many people are still not making the routine six month visits to their dentist. Whether it's due to lack of insurance, fear or other reasons, many individuals wait until there is pain, before making a dental appointment. Prevention is not a hard concept to understand and carry out, once you know the consequences of disease. Preventing disease in the mouth follows the same path as preventing disease in any other organ in the body. With the mouth it’s even simpler since you can see inside the mouth. It is much simpler to detect and treat illness at the early stages than waiting until it has advanced. Routine 3-6 month visit (depending on health of your mouth), along with 5 other steps are the means of saving all of the teeth all your life.

Visit a dentist on a regular basis, and practice good oral hygiene consistently to maintain your health. Brushing your teeth is the best way to keep your smile and your health.

Until next time. Let me know what you think.

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