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Friday, April 22, 2011

5 Things to Know About Your Dental Health

Michelle E. Story, D.M.D.
1227 S. Ft. Thomas Ave.
Fort Thomas, KY 41075

If you are like most people, a visit to the dentist isn’t at the top of your Fun Things To Do list. Dentistry gets a bad rap for being painful. The only problem is that the mouth pain most people endure is usually due to neglect and can be avoided. If everyone took care of their mouth, dental problems would decline and more people would have a fantastic reason to smile.
Here are five things to think about regarding your dental health:
1) Good dental health is critical to good overall health. Bacteria in the mouth can contribute to many health problems including heart disease, premature and low birth weight babies, pancreatic cancer, pneumonia and stroke. So – clean your mouth multiple times every day. Brush, floss, and clean your tongue. Tongue scrapers are the best way to clean the tongue, but if you don’t have one, use the edge of a spoon. The most important time to clean your mouth is at bedtime. Removing the daily grunge from your teeth is the best way to prevent cavities and gum disease.

2) Prevent Bad Breath. There are many reasons for bad breath, but the main cause is poor oral hygiene. Cleaning bacteria from your mouth frequently will help reduce odor. One part of the mouth most people forget about, which is a common source of bad breath, is the tongue. Use a tongue scraper daily in addition to brushing and flossing to help combat bad breath. Also, avoid mouthwashes that contain alcohol. If bad breath persists after improving your oral hygiene, you may need to see your physician. Sometimes, bad breath is a sign of a more serious health problem.
3) Avoid gum disease. The unfortunate problem with gum disease is that it is often painless. Most people have some form of gum disease and don’t even know it. Signs of gum disease include red, puffy, swollen gums, bleeding of the gums, and bad breath. Consequences of gum disease include tooth loss, the health issues mentioned above and many other health related problems.
4) Dry Mouth is a serious decay risk. Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, can be caused by medications, excessive alcohol use, mouth breathing, and some health issues. Having a dry mouth reduces salivary flow and increases the bacteria in the mouth. Oral rinses are available to help lubricate the mouth. Don’t use juices or sugary drinks to combat dry mouth as this will also greatly increase your chance of cavities. Chewing gum with xylitol can also help stimulate saliva flow.
5) Spruce up your mouth. Whitening the teeth is a simple way to improve your smile. Over the counter products are available as well as a more custom fitted option made by your dentist. If you don’t like the shape or placement of your teeth, consider orthodontic treatment, or veneers or bonding. So many options are available in many price ranges for you to improve your smile.
So, clean your mouth daily and see your dentist regularly to help maintain excellent dental health.

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