Most people know that routine maintenance is important if you want your car running smoothly, but the same also holds true for your mouth. Regular dental checkups and proper oral hygiene at home are vital for a healthy smile. The American Dental Association cautions that prevention is the key, and offers three things everyone can do to maintain healthy teeth and gums:
• Brush Twice Daily
Brushing twice a day helps to reduce the number of cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth. If you only brush once a day, you’re giving the bacteria in your mouth a bigger opportunity to attack your tooth enamel.
• Floss Daily
As important as flossing is to your oral health, 1 in 10 people surveyed say they never floss at all! Why is it important to floss? Flossing helps remove plaque and food particles between the teeth and under the gum line where toothbrush bristles can’t reach.
• Eat a Balanced Diet
Today, many people eat on the run. Bear in mind, though, that the bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar and starches, and produce acid that attacks your tooth enamel. The USDA’s dietary guidelines encourage us to limit foods and beverages that are high in added sugars that may crowd out other healthy foods. To protect your oral health, the ADA recommends eating a balanced diet and limiting between meal snacking.
In addition to home care, it’s also important to visit your dentist regularly. These visits can help spot oral health problems early on, when treatment is likely to be simpler and more affordable. Plus, oral health is an important part of overall health. Regular checkups are important because some diseases or medical conditions have symptoms that can appear in the mouth. Recent research suggests there may be an association between gum disease and serious health conditions such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes.