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Monday, June 1, 2009

Oral Health Reminders

  • One of the most important things you can do for your oral health is schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings.
  • An oral exam can detect other health issues such as poor nutrition and hygiene, growth and development problems, and improper jaw alignment.
  • Prevention includes maintaining good oral hygiene, drinking fluoridated water and making healthy dietary choices.
  • Fluoride promotes remineralization, or the rebuilding of minerals in the tooth enamel. The presence of fluoride on tooth surfaces attracts other minerals (such as calcium) and helps to speed up remineralization.
  • As long as your toothpaste contains fluoride and has the ADA seal of approval, the brand or extra features you choose don’t really matter.
  • A diet that promotes good oral health is not just about the foods you eat or avoid — when and how you eat them is equally important.
  • Chewing sugarless gum that contains xylitol can help reduce plaque and fight cavities because chewing stimulates saliva, which helps keep teeth clean, while xylitol inhibits the growth of the oral bacteria that cause cavities. (Chewing gum is NOT recommended for patients in braces.)
  • You should clean and massage your baby’s gums daily to help establish healthy gums and to aid in teething.
  • From age 2, children should begin to brush their own teeth with a parent’s help.
  • Use of smokeless tobacco causes bad breath, discolors teeth and promotes tooth decay that leads to tooth loss. Smokeless tobacco users have a decreased sense of smell and taste, a greater risk than non-users of developing cavities and a 50 percent greater risk of developing cancers of the cheek, gums and lining of the lips.
  • As we get older, our dental needs become increasingly specialized, making regular dentist visits even more vital.
  • You may experience changes in your oral health during pregnancy due to a surge in hormones, which can cause your gum tissues to exaggerate their reaction to plaque.
  • If you drink soda, be sure to drink it through a straw and rinse your mouth with water afterwards to reduce the risk of cavities. (Soda is NOT recommended for patients in braces.)

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