This great post is brought to you buy Dr. Toni. She provides some great tips on keeping your dentist visits a little less.. painful.
“I hate the dentist.” I know. I’m a dentist and I don’t take it personal anymore.
It could be the noises. Or the smell. Maybe it is the dreaded needle. No one likes needles. At least not in their mouth.
But you know what?
If you want to make sure that your next check up at the dentist is short and sweet there are some things that you can do now and habits you can incorporate in your daily routine.
Let me show you is how to keep your visits to the dentist short and your bill low.
Maintain good oral hygiene
Your next dental check up is really going to depend on your oral hygiene. The better your oral hygiene is, the better your visit will go.
Brush twice a day
I know that you have probably heard it before … brush your teeth.
You want to make sure that you are brushing twice a day. Preferably, with an electric toothbrush. An electric toothbrush is more efficient and will help do some of the work for you.
Making sure that you are brush for two minutes with help with make sure that you got the toothbrush on all of the surfaces of every tooth in your mouth.
Floss once a day
After you brush, flossing at least once a day will help minimize cavities and gingivitis.
I know you have probably heard in the news that flossing is not beneficial and it is a waste of time. Be careful with news you receive on TV and especially the internet.
There were several problems with this individual study and should be rejected as truth.
The problem with flossing is most people do not floss properly. There are many videos on YouTube that can help you with flossing, like this one:
I know it may seem silly and a waste of time, but trust me. It is worth taking two minutes to make sure that you are flossing correctly so that you don’t hear your dentist say that you have a cavity.
Swish with a mouth rinse
After brushing and flossing, it is good to rinse your mouth. Using a mouthrinse like ACT or Listerine can help with giving you the whole clean mouth feeling and protect your teeth from the bacteria that cause cavities and gingivitis.
Thoughts on oil pulling
If you’re into natural and homeopathic remedies, don’t skip brushing your teeth. Instead, incorporate oil pulling.
I will be honest. I wasn’t completely on board with oil pulling when it first became popular. The reason is I would have patients that did not want to brush their teeth for 2 minutes, but would do oil pulling for 20 minutes.
Now my feelings are beginning to change because there are studies that show there is clinical evidence that oil pulling is beneficial.
Why maintaining good oral hygiene is key
Maintaining good oral hygiene will help prevent cavities that will require fillings or more expensive treatment by your dentist. And it helps prevent gingivitis and gum disease.
Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums due to irritation from plaque and tartar build up left on the teeth. Once plaque and tartar build up is removed consistently, your gums heal and the gingivitis is reversed.
You need the help of your dentist or hygienist to remove the tartar build off of your teeth. This is another reason why it is important to see your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.
If gingivitis is left untreated, it can develop into gum disease.
Gum disease is an infection in the gums that destroys that jaw bone that supports your teeth. Over time, the infection destroys the bone and tooth loss becomes inevitable.
Like diabetes, gum disease does not have a cure, but can be controlled. It will require more treatment by your dentist to stabilize and more frequent visits to control gum disease.
In addition to preventing gingivitis and gum disease with good oral hygiene, preventing cavities is another common preventable problem.
Everyday your mouth produces plaque. Plaque has many bacteria that come together and feed off of the foods that you eat throughout the day. In particular the tasty carbs and sugars. As a result, the bacteria produce an acid by product that eats away at the teeth and forms cavities.
Because of this, it is imperative that you brush daily to remove the plaque to prevent cavities.
Other habits that can be detrimental to your teeth and gums
There are other habits that negatively impact your teeth and gums that should be prevented to keep your next check up at the dentist quick.
Smoking not only stains your teeth, it contributes to the development of gum disease.
I know that it is very difficult to quit, but there are many resources out there to help.
Chewing ice wears away at your teeth and can cause you to crack or fracture your teeth. If you find yourself chewing ice frequently, you may want to see your doctor to make sure there is no other underlying issue like anemia.
Biting your nails
Biting your nails is not only bad for your teeth because it can potential wear away it your teeth. But it is not the most hygienic. You can easily transfer germs that you pick up from touching various things to your mouth.
Brushing too hard
You don’t need muscle to remove the plaque and food on your teeth. Remember plaque is soft and needs to be gently brushed off. No scrubbing.
Scrubbing your teeth can cause damage to your teeth and gums. Also, trade your hard or medium toothbrush for a soft or extra soft toothbrush if you find that you are a little heavy handed.
Key points to remember
Keeping up with your oral hygiene can make your visit to the dentist easy and cheap.
Brushing and flossing regularly and possibly incorporating oil pulling, will help prevent gingivitis and cavities.
This will in turn help relieve the anxiety that comes with going to the dentist.
About the author
Dr Toni is a wife, mother, dentist, and blogger at drtonidds.com. She started out wanting to be an advisor to the president on environmental affairs but later pursued dentistry after seeing how improving her own smile changed they way she felt herself and could potentially change the life of others.
Dr Toni loves decorating for holidays and birthday parties with the help of Pinterest. But, finds the most fulfillment in serving others. When she is not saving teeth in a private practice setting and the Navy Reserves, she is watching WWE or playing with Hot Wheels with her two little boys.