Top 4 Dental “Must-Dos”
When surveying Dr. Ku’s patients, we can see that we have a significant number of high-achieving, driven people that visit our practice. And while it’s hard to turn visiting the dentist into a competition, there are certain things that can absolutely make you a “stand-out” patient. Now, don’t take that to mean we don’t love all our patients, because we do! If you do want to strive to be an A+ patient in terms of dental care, though, you can follow these four steps. We’ll bet that by your next appointment here in Fort Worth, we’ll be able see the improvements.
1. Don’t visit us when you’re sick
Since we’re in the middle of flu season, we thought this could be an important reminder. The first thing to consider before cancelling a dental appointment is to determine how sick you are. We understand that everyone has different tolerance levels for this kind of thing, but we all know the tell-tale signs of a serious infection.
Ask yourself, am I so miserable that I couldn’t make it through an exam? This includes your ability to breathe through your nose. Also, if you have a fever and remain contagious, it’s important you cancel your exam. Many viruses are airborne, so going to the dentist could easily spread the illness to staff and other patients.
2. Seriously, remember to floss
Flossing is important for more than just your gums and teeth! Recent research has shown that flossing has an impact on the entire body.
Bacteria that cause tooth and gum decay also play a role in heart disease and strokes. Most bacteria in your mouth isn’t dangerous; however, poor oral care or a suppressed immune system could allow the bad bacteria to quickly multiply. This bad bacteria can enter your bloodstream through cuts in your gums and cause infections in your heart or lungs.
In addition, flossing can lower your risk of diabetes. Severe gum infections can spread through your body and increase insulin resistance and damage blood vessels. Since insulin resistance is a major factor of diabetes, it’s been hypothesized that the two are linked. In addition, diabetes decreases your ability to fight infections, so bad bacteria in the mouth will only make you full-body health worse.
3. Don’t skip the x-rays
The American Dental Association highlights the benefits of dental x-rays, some of which might surprise you. Most importantly, however, x-rays can help your dentist identify diseases and developmental problems before they become serious health issues. Early detection of an infection or injury also can limit or prevent further damage to other areas of the mouth.
Some patients have indicated they would prefer to skip the x-rays to prevent excess exposure to radiation. However, the amount of radiation used is very small. Your dentist will decide when x-rays are needed on the basis of your oral examination findings, any symptoms you report, a review of your health history, your risk of experiencing oral disease, your age, or any combination of these factors.
4. Brush your teeth properly
One of the most common mistakes we see is rushing through teeth brushing. The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time. Two minutes is much longer than most people realize, which is why so many patients speed through brushing their teeth. Keep a timer near your sink to ensure you’re brushing for the correct amount of time.
While you’re going through the motions of brushing your teeth, aside from the time you devote, you might potentially be using the wrong motion, too. Some people use a tight circular motion while others prefer long, back and forth strokes. Experts recommend using long strokes to ensure all surface area is covered; however, if you have unique gaps in your teeth or have periodontal implants, your dentist may suggest alternative brushing patterns.
Finally, make sure that you’re brushing all parts of your mouth. The means you tackle the front, inner and chewing surfaces of your tooth, plus your tongue! Your tongue is just as much of a target for bacteria as your teeth are, even if it is not at risk for developing cavities.
Schedule an appointment to visit our office soon! We’ll be thrilled to give you an A+ for your at-home dental care.