No matter what stage in you life you are in right now, it is possible to salvage what you have and get healthy. As dental professionals, we are well aware that you can’t grow back permanent teeth that have been lost. And some teeth are just so far gone, there is no other option but to extract the tooth. Your family dentist can help explain your options, should you experience tooth loss. The technology right now is really great, and while natural teeth is still the best, fake teeth can be made to look natural and work nearly as well.
Take stock of you personal oral health needs
This is something we like to tell our Spokane Valley dentist patients, your gums and teeth are unique and so your health needs are also unique. We tell all our patients to brush and floss, but the truth is, that’s not enough for some people. Depending on your dental history and general health, and your age, there are a few things you will have to do differently from everybody else. For instance people with diabetes automatically have to be more alert about gum disease, aside from the sugar and simple starch they consume. There are many other factors that can complicate the state of your oral health, and you can get the best care plan by finding a dentist who is attentive, who you can talk to, and trust.
Don’t ignore your medication history
To get the best care, you need to share! We’re making that our new motto for patient relations, hopefully it will catch on. If you’ve suffered a serious illness in the last year, like cancer, don’t leave that out. Take note of any medication you’ve been on the last 3 months, or are currently on, and mention that to your dentist or dental professional. Especially if you suspect your meds are affecting your oral health. Is it giving you bad breath or dry mouth? Do you feel your gums are more flushed, your tongue swollen, does it make your mouth numb? This is important stuff dentists are very interested in knowing. So don’t be shy and don’t think it’s trivial. If there’s an acceptable time and place to be a complainer, it’s at the doctors or dentists.
Regular brushing and flossing
Because it needs to be said, we’re putting this one out there, with emphasis. A daily brushing and flossing habit will do wonders for your teeth. Some people stop at brushing, but don’t do that. Make the effort to floss and rinse. Just like forming any habit, it can be difficult for some to maintain a dental hygiene routine. But never give up. Remember if you lapse one day, you can still make up for it tomorrow. You might have to adapt to cleaning braces or cleaning dentures at sometime in your life. Your oral hygiene routine will have to change, and you’ll be forced to change your mindset as well. Just accept it as something you have to do to be healthy.
Watch what you eat
As a concern for your general health and your teeth, eat less food that causes tooth decay. The list is short, so you’ll remember: soft drinks, candies, any sweets, and potato chips. When you snack, rinse out your mouth quickly to remove bits of sweet or starchy food that can feed bacteria, give your bad breath, and rot your teeth.
Watch when you eat
Timing is particularly important for tooth decay, as it is for weight watchers. But as a family dentist, our eating rules are a lot more simple to follow: Don’t sleep with food in your mouth. Once you brush and floss for the evening, don’t eat anymore before bed. If you do succumb to the temptation of a midnight snack, brush again. The tooth decay causing bacteria in your mouth experience a population explosion every night while you sleep. That’s why you get morning breath. Add fuel to the fire in the form of that evening snack, and you’ll have cavities in no time. It is particularly important for parents not to give candies to children in the evening, not to let their kids fall asleep with candies in their mouth, which does happen. Babies who fall asleep with a bottle in the mouth get caries on any new teeth they’ve just sprouted. This occurrence is so common, it has its own name: “bottle mouth”, which any parent will agree, is quite nasty sounding.
We all know smoking is a risk factor for lung cancer, which is why tobacco chewers think they’re much better than smokers. But tobacco is still tobacco even if it’s smokeless tobacco, and you put yourself at risk for oral cancer. Chewing tobacco also wears down the teeth very quickly, you’ll lose them before their time. You stain your teeth, give yourself bad breath and weaken your immune system. Those who stop chewing or smoking, for as long as 10 days will get back normal circulation in the gums, and much healthier teeth, just like a non-user.
Get familiar with the look of your own mouth and teeth
Everybody has a unique set of teeth, and jaw bone shape, that it can be used to identify your remains, should you be unfortunate enough to be buried in an unmarked grave after your death. While you’re still living, get familiar with the way your teeth and gums look, so you can tell when you are are starting a cavity, suffering from gum disease, or showing symptoms of oral cancer. You can ask a dental professional to teach you how to check yourself for oral cancer. But you can also start on your own, just getting used to the look of your own mouth, and what is normal for you, so you can alert your dentist or doctor if anything potentially dangerous comes up.
Get there to a dentist’s
That would be our office, if you’re looking for a Spokane Valley dentist. The American Dental Association recommends regular dental exams and cleaning twice a year. But this again, can change, according to your individual needs. Those with braces, women who are pregnant, individuals with diabetes, HIV, other immune issues, may have to find a specialist and visit the dentist more often.
Find a dentist you can work with
While we recommend our own practice, as a dentist Spokane Valley, it is very important for your long term dental heath to find a dentist you can work with. This not only means dental professionals you trust and respect, but also one that is practical. A dentist that is convenient to your own location, and one you can afford or is covered by your insurance. We make our office as comfortable and time-saving as we can for families with children. We treat both adults and kids, have a child friendly environment, in house dental plans for families, and accommodate block appointments. This is something to consider, especially if you are a busy parent with kids, when you’re searching for a dentist.
Plan long term
We know that dental treatments can be expensive, but when you think of it as an investment, you will make your own oral health a priority in your budget. Once your permanent teeth come out, you’re not getting another set. Tooth loss is not just unattractive, it can change the shape of your jaw, lead to bone loss and muscle loss. You will look different when you lose your teeth. Lost teeth will affect the way you eat, and therefore your overall nutrition. A bum tooth will increase your number of sick days, if you work or go to school. Make plans for your own oral health for many years to come, and you’ll still have your natural teeth in your golden years.