Welcome to the McKenzie River Dental blog! Here Springfield dental provider Dr. Schilt and his friendly and professional staff will post information regarding a wide variety of topics pertaining to how you and your family can enjoy the best oral health possible. Check back each month to discover the latest trends in oral health and answers to your questions on how to enjoy a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.
We like to start our first post by discussing the basics of quality oral hygiene and what it takes to enjoy a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.
In recent years, a number of studies have found strong links between an individual’s oral health and a variety of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and even cancer. This research has shown a light on how important practicing quality oral hygiene is not only for your oral health but for your overall health as well. With that in mind, here are the three steps every patient needs to take to protect their oral health.
Brush at Least Twice Day
Brushing helps to remove plaque – a sticky biofilm comprised of bacteria and lingering food particles – from the surface of your teeth. When left on your teeth, plaque produces substances that slowly erode away at enamel, the hard outer shell of your teeth that protects the delicate roots and nerves at the center. Excessive plaque buildup leads to the development of tooth decay, cavities, and increases your risk of gum disease.
To prevent plaque buildup, it’s important that you brush at least twice a day, ideally once in the morning after waking up and just prior to bedtime. Brushing in the morning helps to remove plaque that builds up overnight when your body produces less saliva, which helps to prevent plaque from sticking to teeth, while brushing before bed removes lingering food particles trapped in the mouth from eating throughout the day.
The American Dental Association recommends brushing for at least two minutes each time you brush. Unfortunately, despite this recommendation, studies have found that the average American only spends 30 seconds brushing, or one quarter of the amount of time they should spend addressing their hygiene each day. To improve your brushing habits, consider dividing your mouth into four quadrants and spending 30 seconds brushing each one.
In some ways, flossing actually ranks as a more important daily oral hygiene habit than brushing, as it removes food from hard to reach places in the mouth that your toothbrush cannot reach. To give you an idea of the importance of flossing, the most likely place for a cavity to develop is between your teeth, according to the ADA.
Despite the importance of flossing, studies have found that only 51 percent of Americans floss on a daily basis, and 10 percent don’t floss at all. This allows food particles and plaque to buildup between teeth where they can cause permanent damage to the health of your teeth and gums.
Flossing only takes a few minutes of your day, and can make a dramatic difference lowering your risk of gum disease and tooth decay. If you struggle to find the time to floss, try performing the habit while checking your email, updating your Facebook page, or watching TV. If you need tips on the best flossing practices, take a look at this video from the ADA.
Schedule Regular Checkups
Scheduling regular checkups and cleanings with Dr. Schilt provides the doctor and his staff of dental hygienists with the opportunity to thoroughly examine the state of your oral health. Cleanings remove tartar – built up plaque deposits – from along the gum line where they contribute to the development of gum disease. Finally, every exam includes a oral cancer screening. Spotting oral cancer early in the disease’s development dramatically improves a patient’s chances of successfully overcoming the disease and returning their oral health to normal.
If you have any questions about your oral health or the best oral hygiene practices, be sure to ask Dr. Schilt during your next appointment. And be sure to check back next month for our next blog post!