Dental choices for a new year
Incisive BiteSunday, January 10, 2021
by Dr Sharon Robinson
Dental health is an important part of your overall wellness, and the new year is a great time to create resolutions for improving your health. Many people have dental health resolutions that range from improving tooth brushing habits to completing delayed dental treatment. Understanding the benefits of your particular resolutions can be motivating and rewarding. Whatever your goals, it is important to take small steps to achieve them. Consistency is key with any resolution you make.
Improving brushing and flossing habits
A daily routine that includes brushing and flossing is a sure and simple way to improve your oral health. To successfully remove bacterial plaque it is important to brush at least twice a day using an appropriately sized, soft-bristle, manual or electric toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste. When you brush your teeth, gently position the toothbrush bristles at a 45-degree angle toward the gum line and move the toothbrush across the teeth to effectively remove bacterial plaque. It is also important to floss at least once per day to remove bacterial plaque and food that has accumulated throughout the day. Your toothbrush should be replaced every three to four months, after you have had a cold or flu, or if the bristles are frayed. Daily brushing and flossing help to prevent gingivitis (gum disease), tooth decay and halitosis (bad breath). The daily use of antimicrobial and fluoride mouth rinses also helps to improve oral health.
Healthier food and beverage choices
An important part of achieving your dental health resolutions is making healthier food and beverage choices, especially for snacks. Frequent consumption of products containing carbohydrates and acids contributes to tooth decay, so it is important to brush after snacking. Using a Xylitol-containing gum or lozenge after a meal will also help to neutralise acids and reduce cavity-causing bacteria and plaque build-up.
Improving your smile
There are several smile-improving techniques that you may use while you brush and floss. In recent years, tooth whitening has become very popular. It enhances the appearance of teeth by removing deep (intrinsic) or surface (extrinsic) stains. There are a number of tooth whitening products that may be purchased over-the-counter (OTC) for at-home use, administered by a dentist at the dental office or dispensed by a dentist for use at home. Tooth whitening products are typically categorised into two major groups: whitening toothpastes (dentifrices) and peroxide-containing bleaching agents.
Your New Year's resolution may be to finally correct an abnormal bite caused by an injury, thumb sucking, tooth crowding or crooked teeth. Correcting any of these problems with braces not only enhances the look of your smile but also, and most importantly, improves your oral health. There are several options for straightening your teeth. Which orthodontic method you choose depends upon your preference and the types of appliances offered by your dentist or orthodontist.
The new year may be the right time to start or complete deferred restorative dental work such as crowns, implants or fillings. Completing these types of procedures will help you to preserve the tooth structure and to maintain proper tooth alignment, which could ultimately improve your oral health.
Quit using tobacco products
Quitting cigarette smoking and smokeless tobacco use is important for improving your oral and overall health. There is no better time than the present to make a resolution to stop tobacco use. Consider free online tools, smoking cessation groups, progress-tracking apps and support from friends and family to help you quit.
Routine dental visits
A resolution to make routine visits to the dentist may help prevent oral disease or reveal an existing disease in its early stage. Dental visits should take place every six months to allow your dentist and dental hygienists to monitor the condition of your oral cavity and develop an appropriate treatment plan to meet your wants and needs. Your dentist can refer you to a specialist for a treatment that is beyond the scope of his practice.
Dr Sharon Robinson, DDS has offices at Dental Place Cosmetix Spa, located at shop #5, Winchester Business Centre, 15 Hope Road, Kingston 10. Dr Robinson is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Technology, Jamaica, School of Oral Health Sciences. She may be contacted at 876-630-4710. Like their Facebook page, Dental Place Cosmetix Spa.