From keeping your whole body healthy to their infinite patience with fibs about flossing, there are plenty of reasons to say thanks to your dentist on National Dentist Day, March 6. To help you show appreciation, DentalPlans.com has put together eight easy “ and healthy “ ways to make your dentist smile next time you head in for a check-up.
Take it easy: You can get your teeth clean without scrubbing them unmercifully. Use a soft brush, keep the bristles at a 45-degree angle to the surface of the teeth, and move the brush in small circles. Just like brushing too enthusiastically, using a side-to-side brushing motion can weaken the enamel on teeth.
Dont share: the bacteria that causes tooth decay can be passed from one person to another. Use your own toothbrush and store toothbrushes separately rather than clustered in a cup or holder with bristles touching. Remember to replace a toothbrush every three months “ or sooner if the bristles are worn, bent or frayed. Also, replace your toothbrush if youve just recovered from a cold, the flu or another ailment.
Tell the truth: Flossing is essential, but some people just cant stand the process. You cant fool a dentist, so instead of pretending you floss regularly ask him or her about other options. You may be able to use a different device or a different type of floss, or you may just need to learn a different technique.
Teeth have one job: Use them to chew food, not to gnaw fingernails, pry things open or crunch on ice cubes. And, try to avoid tooth grinding, which can seriously damage teeth and cause sore jaws, headaches, and a swollen face. Tooth grinding can be caused by stress or dental issues like misaligned teeth. If it is an ongoing issue, talk to your dentist.
Stay hydrated: A dry mouth is a mouth thats in danger of dental problems. Saliva is the mouths major defense against tooth decay, helping to wash away food debris and control the bacteria that lives in your mouth. If your mouth is dry you may experience tooth decay, gum disease, oral sores and pain, and bad breath. Drink more water, chew on sugar free gum, or use an oral rinse designed to keep your mouth moist.
What’s good for your teeth is good for your body: Limiting sugar, sticky treats and simple carbs from your diet will keep your smile “ and your body “ strong and healthy. Sugar creates the carbohydrates that oral bacteria crave, and carb-fueled bacteria produces acid, which erodes tooth enamel and can cause dental decay. Instead, eat foods that are rich in calcium and phosphorus, which helps to maintain optimal mineral levels in saliva, neutralizes acid levels in your mouth and protects your tooth enamel.
Cheat smart: If you choose to eat acidic or sugary foods or drinks, eat them as part of a meal instead of a snack. Saliva flows more freely when youre eating a full meal, so acids/sugars will spend less time in your mouth.
Visit your dentist: Regular checkups correct potential problems before they become major issues, and a professional cleaning is the only way to completely remove bacteria-rich buildups that develop on your teeth over time. No matter how well you brush and floss at home, you cant remove hard layers of tartar from your teeth, and these deposits are the primary breeding places of the bacteria that can cause tooth decay.
We all know how important it is to take good care of your teeth, but far too many people can’t fit dental checkups into their budgets. Unfortunately, dental problems don’t go away “ your oral and overall health just get worse and problems become much more expensive to fix the longer care is delayed,” says Bill Chase, Senior Vice President of Marketing at DentalPlans.com.
For those who dont have dental insurance, there are affordable alternatives available. Dental savings plans, for example, make dental care more affordable for many. Plan members receive 10-60% off the cost of most procedures from a nationwide network of more than 100,000 participating dentists.
And, dentists like dental savings plans because they are easy for patients to use and reduce paperwork and other payment management chores for the dental practice. Plus, the savings make it possible for patients to get the care they need to maintain healthy smiles.
To learn more about the advantages of dental savings plans visit www.dentalplans.com.
DentalPlans.com, founded in 1999, is a leading dental and health savings online marketplace in the U.S., helping more than a million people to affordably access quality healthcare services. Our mission is to empower consumers with the tools, information, and services that they need to live happier, healthier lives. www.dentalplans.com.
Nicole Fry, Communications Manager