SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI—One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to get healthier. While there are many ways to create a healthier you—eating healthier food, exercising more, quitting tobacco-products—there are dental health choices that can improve your overall health as well.
“Committing to a healthier mouth is committing to a healthier body,” says Dr. Marc Barnett, a Nixa dentures provider since 1984. “Many people don’t realize it, but the benefits of dental health extend way, way beyond the mouth.”
Many studies have linked an unhealthy mouth with overall health problems, including heart disease, stroke, respiratory infection and diabetes. (http://www.exceldentalozarks.com/good-oral-health-is-good-for-your-heart-too/). Periodontal disease, which is also called gum disease, works as a gateway for bacteria to enter the bloodstream and because periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease it can complicate other diseases that cause inflammation in the body.
Consider making these five dental resolutions part of your list in 2013 for a healthier mouth and body:
1. Call the family dentist to schedule your first of two visits for this year.
“This resolution is easy and simple to keep,” says Dr. Kelly Barnett, an award-winning Springfield Missouri dentist. “It doesn’t require a lot of willpower each day or hours in the gym, just one quick phone call for the appointment. However, getting your teeth cleaned twice a year can improve your health significantly.”
At a routine dental appointment, your teeth get a deep, thorough cleaning and professional examination for any signs of decay or disease. Your mouth is checked for gum disease and other signs of problems.
2. Get in three minutes twice a day.
Brushing teeth with fluoride toothpaste removes plaque, the sticky, colorless film of harmful bacteria that builds up on and in between teeth. The longer the plaque sits on your teeth, the more enamel-eroding acid it is able to produce and the more damage it does.
“Brushing your teeth twice a day is absolutely essential for warding off tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath and tooth loss,” says Dr. Tracy Davis, who is one of the Branson dentists at Barnett-Davis Dental Group. “Taking six minutes out of your day for dental care can save you so much heartache and money down the road, just in terms of dental restorations and tooth replacements.”
3. Find time to floss.
Only flossing removes the plaque that collects between teeth and below the gumline where decay and gum disease often starts. You can protect your teeth from cavities, your gums from periodontal disease and your face from signs of aging just by flossing thoroughly once a day.
“If flossing hurts, your technique might need some fine-tuning or you might have tender, swollen gums caused by the early stages of gum disease,” says Dr. Nick Matthews, who offers cosmetic dentistry services like Springfield MO tooth whitening. “We’ll be happy to help you learn the proper way to floss or treat conditions that make flossing uncomfortable.”
Keeping a container of floss in your gym bag, the glove compartment or your lunch bag is a good reminder, and it gives you no excuse not to floss if you forgot before heading out that morning.
4. Resolve to treat small dental problems now, not later.
Postponing dental work is something a lot of people do, but brushing off small cavities and other dental problems is a potentially dangerous and expensive gamble. Most dental problems start out innocuously and don’t hurt. Pain is often the last symptom of a dental problem, meaning that if you’ve put off getting something fixed until you experience pain, the problem is probably going to be serious.
“Our dental practice is one of the few in southwest Missouri to use dental lasers to treat many dental problems without the need for needles or a drill,” says Dr. Davis, Springfield Missouri cosmetic dentist. “Procedures done with a dental laser significantly reduce patient discomfort, minimize the need for anesthetic, limit post-operative swelling and discomfort, and cut down on the recovery time needed.”
5. Get an oral cancer screening at least once a year.
“A screening is fast, simple and painless,” says Dr. Marc Barnett. “But those five minutes could save your life.”
When caught in its early stages, the survival rates of oral cancer are very high. (http://www.exceldentalozarks.com/early-detection-saves-lives-get-a-complimentary-screening-this-april/)The best way to catch it early is to have regular oral cancer screenings that check for the signs and symptoms of any oral cancer, which includes cancers of the mouth, tongue, tonsil and throat. After the doctor does a visual examination of the oral tissues, he or she feels parts of the throat and the floor of the mouth to check for abnormalities.
“One of the ways to make you more likely to stick to New Year’s resolutions is to set small, attainable goals and build in rewards along the way,” says Dr. Kelly Barnett. “Consider making a Springfield Missouri cosmetic dentistry procedure like teeth whitening your reward when you keep your dental health resolutions.”