Oral / Dental
Going to the dentist is vital for your oral health. About 65% of adults in the United States have gone to a dentist in the last 12 months.
However, just seeing the dentist is not the only thing you have to do to maintain your oral health. There are many things that you can make part of your daily dental routine to help maintain this yourself.
What can you do to improve your dental health? What are the top oral dental issues that you may face in your life? What can you make part of your oral dental care routine to maintain your dental health?
This guide answers all of those questions and more.
For those of you that are reading this and have kids, you may be wondering when you should take them to the dentist. The truth is that this depends on when your child gets their first tooth.
If they get their first tooth in early, you should take your kid to the dentist less than six months after their first tooth comes in. However, if you have not noticed anything developing by the time that they are 12 months old, you should take your kid to the dentist anyway.
Before the First Dentist Appointment
You will have to go through the process of preparing that child to visit the dentist. Part of this is seeing what the child may be afraid of when seeing the dentist.
Can they handle bright lights well? How about someone poking their finger in the child’s mouth to check their teeth? Would they be afraid of any of the tools that dentists use in their office?
These are the things that you need to think of before bringing your child to the dentist. However, there are things that you can do to prepare for your child’s first dentist.
The first thing that you can do is try to mimic what a dentist’s office may be like. This can include offering your child a chair to sit on in a room with a lot of bright lights. Then, you can practice what the dentist might do by putting your finger around the child’s tooth to get them used to this.
Another thing that you can do is use toys and puppets to try to give your child a visual aid as to what to expect. You can use this toy or puppet to show them what the dentist might do to examine their teeth.
If you do not have one of those things in your house, you can use something such as a laptop or a tablet to help with this. How does this help?
You can look up educational content that focuses on kids having to go to the dentist. This content goes through the things that kids may experience during their first dentist visit. During this, the educational content tries to promote that this visit is good for you and it is perfectly safe.
Scheduling Dentist Appointments
Some people may be curious as to how often they should schedule dentist appointments. Well, the answer is that it is recommended that they go to the dentist every six months.
While you should go to the dentist every six months, there are people who choose not to go that often. As stated above, only about two-thirds of people go to the dentist every year in the United States.
Why should you go more often? The answer is that you can have a professional examine your oral health more routinely. This means that they have the opportunity to catch something early before it has the opportunity to get worse.
For example, let’s say that you end up needing a root canal procedure done. When a dentist examines your mouth, they could see this tooth and discover that it is not in good shape.
This may not be something that you notice right away because you may not feel pain right away. However, if you fail to get this taken care of sooner rather than later, you will definitely feel that pain later.
On top of that, you could risk developing an infection in your mouth and have that root canal issue spread to other teeth within your mouth. The point here is that seeing the dentist more often allows you to get those things checked out before you experience even more pain or further damage to your oral health.
Top Oral Dental Issues
With maintaining oral health comes fighting off oral dental issues that you may face along the way. Let’s talk about some of the biggest things that you could have to deal with if you do not stay on top of your oral health.
Something that can happen with your oral health is that chipped teeth can develop. This can be caused for a number of reasons.
If you are someone that grinds your teeth a lot, you could end up accidentally chipping one of your teeth if they wear down far enough.
Believe it or not, you are not alone with this. Up to 30% of people grind their teeth. This tends to happen most often while people are sleeping.
Having chipped teeth can leave you open to infections in your mouth and it can affect the status of healthy teeth that are next to your chipped tooth.
Another thing that may happen is that if you do not take good care of your dental health, you could end up with yellow teeth. This can happen for a few reasons.
When it comes to daily habits, yellow teeth can develop if you do things such as drink coffee, drink tea, or smoke cigarettes to excess. On top of this, yellow teeth can develop if you have poor hygiene. This can happen from something as simple as not brushing your teeth often enough.
So, what can happen to you if you develop yellow teeth? It can be a sign of issues that can come such as having too much plaque in your mouth, too much bacteria in your mouth, tooth decay, and even gum disease.
Arguably one of the most common oral dental issues is people having untreated cavities. These can be hard to spot in the beginning because it may not be something that you notice overnight. That is because it can be a while before someone starts to feel pain from this.
Cavities are a good example of why it is so important to go to the dentist regularly. Unless a cavity is on one of your front teeth, you are not going to be as likely to notice it yourself.
A dentist may spot it during a routine appointment and take further action from there to fill the cavity. Luckily for you, this procedure is rather simple with minimal complications.
However, the real danger tends to come from failing to fill this cavity sooner rather than later. This is because it can lead to even worse issues for your oral health if it is left untreated.
Examples of this can be gum disease, cavities spreading among your healthy teeth, your ability to eat properly, your pain level, and more.
Deep Tooth Decay
Another thing you have to look out for is deep tooth decay. This happens when you neglect your oral health for a long enough period of time. When you get to this stage, you may be facing more drastic measures.
Also, it is likely that you are experiencing a lot of pain at this stage. That is because the pain that you are experiencing likely originates deep within your tooth.
When this happens, it could mean that you need to have a root canal procedure done. For those of you who are not familiar with this, it is when a dentist has to surgically remove the soft center of your tooth.
It can not only help relieve the pain that you are experiencing but also help prevent further infection and further decay with your neighboring teeth.
Something that you may run into once you become an adult is the possibility that you may have to get your wisdom teeth removed. This may have to happen because a dentist could determine that these teeth could cause problems for you in the future.
Wisdom teeth are somewhat unique because they are some of the last adult teeth that end up growing into your mouth. As a result, these are not always placed properly and have the potential to cause problems with your other teeth.
If you have to get your wisdom teeth removed, a dentist will likely let you know about this concern during a regular appointment. Then, they will schedule a surgery for you to remove your wisdom teeth.
This procedure is arguably one of the most extensive when it comes to dental issues. You can elect to take some laughing gas to numb the pain and become unconscious during this procedure. However, prepare for the pain to happen once the surgery is complete, as it will take time to recover from that operation.
Oral Dental Care Routine
One thing that you can do for your oral health is to have a proper dental care routine. What this will do is give you a consistent pattern to follow and daily responsibilities that will help you take care of your oral health.
What should you do to make sure that you have a good dental care routine? These are some of the biggest things that you should include in it.
Brushing Your Teeth
Arguably the most important thing you can have as part of your dental care routine is brushing your teeth regularly. Most dentists recommend that you brush your teeth at least once per day. However, some may take this a step further and recommend that you brush your teeth after every meal.
What is the purpose of brushing your teeth? The goal is to eliminate any bacteria or plaque that may be stuck in your mouth. On top of this, brushing your teeth helps keep your teeth clean and get rid of any food that may be stuck in your mouth.
If you can keep one thing part of your dental care routine, it should be brushing your teeth.
Another thing that you should include as part of your dental routine is flossing. What this does is it helps you get rid of any small pieces of food that are stuck between your teeth. It can also help you keep plaque from building up in between those teeth.
Dentists recommend that you floss at least once per day. Sometimes, they may even argue that you should do this more than once per day depending on your other habits.
How will this help you? It can help you avoid things such as gum disease and keep cavities from developing.
One thing that is popular with people that may be lazier about brushing their teeth is using mouthwash. The reason why this is a popular alternative for some people is that mouthwash can help with the smell of your breath. If your breath stinks, you may be tempted to use this to get a fresh scent.
However, this is not meant to be something that replaces brushing your teeth. It is supposed to be something that you do in addition to brushing your teeth because it can help fight deeper issues in your mouth.
An example can be if you are worried about developing plaque. Rinsing your mouth with some mouthwash can help with this because it has the ability to stop plaque from the root. It is also something that can help prevent tooth decay and cavities.
If you are going to use this, you can do so once per day. It is best to do so once you are done brushing your teeth and flossing.
Eating and Drinking Habits
Believe it or not, developing some healthier habits overall can help you improve your oral dental care. If you make these habits part of your regular routine, it should make it easier to maintain your oral health.
One of the biggest things you can do is change what you are eating and drinking. Foods that are processed, too hard, or have too much sugar do not tend to be the best thing for your teeth.
On the liquid side of things, avoiding drinks such as soda will do you wonders for your oral health. Instead, you can drink something more natural such as water or orange juice.
Then, you have to think about what type of food you are eating. Avoiding sweets with a lot of sugar such as candy can help you with this as well.
Seriously consider changing what you eat and drink because it could help you avoid dental issues down the road.
Eliminating Bad Habits
What is just as important as encouraging good habits mentioned above is discouraging bad habits that can harm your teeth. These are other things that people may expose their oral health to that could result in more bacteria and tooth decay developing.
One of the biggest things here is drinking too much coffee. You have to remember that coffee is considered acidic. As a result, it may increase your chances of developing cavities.
On top of this, it can impact your smile because coffee could turn your teeth yellow. We will talk more about what you can do for that later.
However, coffee is not the only bad habit that you should get rid of. Smoking cigarettes is another thing that can cause tooth decay and your smile to go yellow as a result. Not to mention all of the bacteria that you are exposing your teeth to.
The good news here is that fewer and fewer people are smoking cigarettes in the United States. In 2023, only about 11% of adults still continue to smoke cigarettes.
Still, if you or a loved one do happen to be part of that 11%, consider dropping this habit to improve your oral health.
Regular Dentist Appointments
Finally, make sure you are going to see a dentist regularly. They are the people that can provide you with deep cleaning and routine examinations of your mouth to check your oral health. Not missing these appointments allows you to keep track of your oral health once or twice per year.
Dentists do recommend that you try to visit a dentist once every six months if possible. However, considering that only 65% of American adults even go to the dentist once per year, you should at least go whenever you have the opportunity.
If you do so, you can prevent bigger issues from developing by catching them early. A dentist is the most likely person to tell you that you have a cavity that you need to fill or even a wisdom tooth that needs to be removed.Â
Something else that is important for you to do is to make sure that you have straight teeth. Having this allows you to have better dental health and a better chance of preventing further issues.
Going off of the above, some dentists may notice this problem early for you. You could even still be a child when a dentist tells you that they have to take action to straighten your teeth.
An example could be if you have buck teeth or if you have an underbite. This typically means that your front teeth are too far up or your bottom teeth are too far up.
What a dentist may do here is give you braces to wear for a year or so. The braces can help shift your teeth closer together and make them straighter.
The same thing can occur if you have crooked teeth. A dentist may tell you that you have to wear braces to try to get this closer together.
Another time when this issue may come up is if you are someone that grinds your teeth regularly. As mentioned above, this is something that tends to happen when you fall asleep at night.
What you can do for this is use a night guard. You would wear this at the end of the night before you go to sleep. As a result, it can reduce the impact that grinding your teeth in your sleep has on them.
Follow your dentist’s advice if one of these things becomes an issue for you.
Finally, some people may want to improve their smile. Considering that this is the first thing that some people may notice about you when you meet them, it is something reasonable to want to address.
One of the biggest things that may impact how your smile is received is the color of your teeth. If your teeth become yellow from some of the things mentioned above, you may want to consider whitening your teeth.
Luckily, this is a very easy procedure for your dentist to do for you. Simply let them know that you have an interest in doing this. Or, your dentist may even recommend this to you if it is something that you are concerned about.
This is a cosmetic procedure so it is not something that your dental insurance may automatically cover. However, because of its simplicity, it should not be something that is too expensive for you.
Look into the options that you have here and ask a dentist if it is best for you to get this done. If this ends up being the case, a dentist can provide options for you.
Get More Daily Dental Advice
These are some daily dental tips that you can use to improve your oral health. You can have healthier habits become part of your daily routine such as brushing your teeth, eating better, drinking better, flossing, using mouthwash, and eliminating bad habits.
Then, you can look into things such as straightening your teeth or whitening your teeth if you still continue to have issues.
Do you want to know more about this? Check out some articles we have here.