Healthy Smiles Premier Dental

As everyone by now knows from experience, it is very challenging to maintain excellent oral hygiene in normal times. Most of us have imperfect teeth: crooked, some either too tight to clean easily, gaps between some, and perhaps others that got cracked or chipped.

No one taught us when we were growing up exactly how to brush and floss (brushing for two minutes after breakfast and dinner and flossing carefully before bedtime to remove all food particles; if you are not sure of the proper technique, ask your hygienist to demonstrate). Almost everyone gets cavities and as we age, periodontal infection is very common and often leads to the loss of teeth. 

As most people spent more time at home during the initial stages of the pandemic and many continue to do so, it has been all too easy to snack often and get lazy about adequate cleaning (not to mention keep up with exercise regimens with gyms closed!). It was hard to get any dental treatments initially and since then it has sometimes been hard to get appointments because of the need to keep everyone socially distanced. 

You may have felt that you were doing ok with your oral health on your own, since you didn’t feel any pain. But periodontal disease (infection of the gums and jawbone) is painless in its early stages. If you find that your gums bleed easily, that is the first sign of an infection. Not treated and without better oral hygiene practices, this could lead to teeth becoming loosened by the next stage, when the gums begin to pull away their support. Soon, they either fall out or need to be extracted. Each one starts a process of the neighboring teeth becoming loose. You may find that you suddenly need multiple dental implants to restore the ability to chew and speak properly and stop more teeth from falling out.

Never before has it been so true that you need to take responsibility for your own health. Dentistry, more than any other specialty, requires the active involvement of the patient along with the dentist to keep healthy. If oral bacteria are not treated, they spread throughout the body and raise the risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Be sure that you not only come in for an examination and have a professional cleaning by your hygienist, but that you ask for a full-mouth digital x-ray (which has minimal radiation) to be sure periodontal infection has not reached into the jaw (which would require a bone graft). 

Meanwhile, try to improve your diet with less sugar and more whole foods, since the body’s entire health depends on everything working together in an optimum way.