In a American Dental Association poll, dentists reported that counseling was the number one service they provided patients following a procedure that required the loss of a tooth. Dentist reported that over 40 percent of their patients suffered from severe anxiety stemming from the perceived social stigma that accompanies tooth loss. Patients claimed they feared a loss of social and professional standing due to their tooth loss, with some even fearing loss of employment.
The unfortunate part of these findings is that non-accidental tooth loss is easily avoidable by practicing quality oral hygiene. A solid, daily oral hygiene regimen will help prevent tooth decay and the development of gum disease, which ranks as the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
However, if you’re one of the over 100 million Americans currently suffering from tooth decay; you’re probably not doing enough to care for the long-term health of your teeth and gums. Taking care of your oral health doesn’t require a lot of time, just consistency and willingness to sweat the small stuff. To help keep your smile looking its best, here are steps towards maintaining and improving your oral health.
Brush and Then Brush Again
While most people brush their teeth daily, a large majority only brush once a day. Brushing helps to prevent the buildup of plaque, a sticky biofilm of bacteria and lingering food particles.
Eating causes plaque to release substances that erode away at tooth enamel, which increases your risk of suffering from decay. By brushing, you remove excess plaque from the mouth, which in turn also reduces the amount of harmful substances that get released each time you consume any type of sugar or starch.
Think of the buildup of plaque as a slow drip. Every hour of every day, the amount of plaque slowly increases in your mouth, even as you sleep. By the time you wake up in the morning, you have significantly more plaque in your mouth than immediately following your nightly brushing. By waiting a full 24 hours before brushing again, you allow that slow drip of plaque to build into a significant amount.
According to the Broadway Family Dentistry, Brushing after waking and right before bed keeps the amount of plaque in your mouth at a reasonable level, and significantly reduces the amount of damage the biofilm can cause to the health of your teeth. By just budgeting two minutes into your morning routine to brush, you can greatly reduce the risk of tooth decay.
According to the new study, about 32% Americans fail to floss daily, with 10 percent never flossing at all. Considering the important role flossing plays in maintaining the health of your teeth and gums, the fact that so many Americans neglect this habit explains why tooth decay ranks as the number one chronic disease in the country.
No matter how meticulously you brush, your mouth has a number of cracks and crevices that a toothbrush simply cannot reach. Even if you somehow never get food stuck between your teeth, the primary benefit of flossing is the removal of plaque from between your teeth, where it can buildup unimpeded.
If you don’t think that much plaque could possibly buildup in those small spaces between your teeth, consider that the most frequent place for cavities to develop in the mouth is between your teeth. In the view of some dentists, failing to floss daily actually eliminates the benefits your teeth receive from brushing, so enjoying healthy teeth means you need to floss.
Buy an Electric Toothbrush
While studies have shown that using an electric toothbrush offers only a small improvement to how clean a person’s teeth become after brushing when compared to the meticulous use of a regular toothbrush, most people don’t actually but in the effort required to make the use of a regular brush nearly as effective.
Rinse Before Bed
As mentioned previously, your teeth and gums contain a number of hard to reach areas that you can easily miss when brushing. Using an antibacterial mouthwash as the last step of your nightly oral hygiene routine can help to eliminate plaque deposits from those hard to reach areas of the mouth, while also improving the freshness of your breath.