What You Should Know About Oral Health

flossing Dental professionals from the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) have identified seven common misconceptions associated with oral health:

(1) The primary reason for brushing is to remove food debris. (daily brushing and flossing also minimize the formation of plaque which over time can irritate the gums)

(2) Bleeding gums are normal. (they should serve as a warning sign of gum disease)

(3) Oral health doesn't affect overall health. (when the gums are infected, bacterial byproducts can enter the bloodstream and travel to major organs triggering other problems such as heart disease)

(4) Bad breath is caused by a lack of oral hygiene. (some people forget to brush their tongue where much of the bad breath bacteria reside)

(5) Cavities are the number one cause of tooth loss. (it's actually cavities and gum disease combined)

(6) Pregnant women should skip professional dental checkups. (the woman's periodontal health can affect the unborn baby's health)

(7) Stress does not cause problems in the mouth. (high levels of personal stress and poor coping skills have been shown to increase the chances of developing gum disease)

According to WebMD and the Cleveland Clinic Department of Dentistry, there are nine steps you can take to ensure good oral health. As you will see, there is more to oral health than just brushing and flossing. Here are the steps to consider:

1. Understand your own oral health needs. (cancer treatments, pregnancy, heart diseases, diabetes, and dentures/braces can all affect your oral health; let your dentist know these conditions if any)

2. Develop, then follow, a daily oral health routine. (depending on what your dentist discusses with you, develop and follow a daily oral health routine that works for you)

3. Use fluoride. (important because it strengthens developing teeth in children and prevents tooth decay in both children and adults)

4. Brush and floss daily. (while you need to brush in the morning and before bedtime, you also need to floss once a day in order to remove plaque)

5. Eat a balanced diet and limit snacking. (it is especially important to limit your intake of sugars and starches which can cause acids in the mouth leading to the development of tooth decay; brushing teeth or chewing sugarless gum afterwards can help prevent tooth decay)

6. If you use tobacco products, quit. (increases your risk for oral cancer as well as other general health concerns)

7. Examine your mouth regularly. (if you notice anything unusual in your mouth such as spots, cuts, or swellings on the gums/tongue/inside cheeks as well as tooth chipping/cracking/discoloration then see your dentist immediately)

8. Visit your dentist regularly. (the standard recommendation is twice a year for checkups and cleanings)

9. Develop a partnership with your dentist. (maintain open communication with your dentist and remember that you are responsible for your own oral health)

Source: EzineArticles