As a dentist in Fort Myers, our mission is always to help you reach and keep your best possible oral health through diagnostic assessment, prevention, and education. Here’s how we’ll develop your personalized oral hygiene care plan based on your needs.
First, we will start by reviewing your medical and dental history. To ensure you have proper oral hygiene care, we’ll examine your teeth for decay, visually and with radiographs. Research shows that unchecked plaque on your teeth can lead to periodontal disease – and that is a risk factor for serious illnesses, such as diabetes, lung and heart diseases, and stroke. Then, we’ll take a look at your gum tissue and assess your biting, chewing, and swallowing patterns. Finally, we’ll evaluate your dental readiness for procedures, such as cosmetic smile enhancements, and reassess your overall treatment.
As your dental care provider, we’ll start by screening for oral cancer with clinical measurements, radiographs, and other assessment methods. We’ll clean and scale your teeth to remove pesky surface stains, plaque, and tartar. Most importantly, we’ll be able to educate you about your teeth, gums, and mouth, give you instructions about brushing and flossing, and explain treatment options (i.e., orthodontics, cosmetic procedures, etc.).
You’re probably wondering why oral hygiene care is important. Have you heard the phrase that your eyes are the window to the soul? Very similarly, your mouth can be regarded as a window to your overall health as it can show signs of nutritional deficiencies, illnesses, and general infections. Since your mouth already contains so much bacteria, if it’s not properly taken care of, it can cause serious inflammation and gum infections.
Also, your mouth is a port of entry for infection by allowing harmful bacteria to enter the bloodstream. This can lead to more inflammation in other parts of your body, such as the heart and lungs.
When it comes to cavities, foods high in sugar and carbohydrates are the fuel to make more cavity-causing acid in your mouth. It’s actually tiny bacteria that cause decay, and those bacteria in our mouths feed on the sugars and carbohydrates we eat to make acid which then decays teeth. While your physician or personal trainer might tell you to reduce sugary foods and carbohydrates altogether, from a dental perspective, it is more important how often you expose your teeth to sugar and carbohydrates than how much. A person who sips on a 12 ounce can of soda, sweetened coffee, sweet tea, etc all day potentially does far more damage to their teeth than a person who drinks a large soda in one sitting.
The bacteria don’t store the sugar, but every time they are exposed to sugar, they make a new batch of tooth-destroying acid. Be careful of frequently sipping on fruit juices and sports drinks also as most contain plenty of sugar. Even “natural” sugars can lead to tooth decay. When it comes to dental cavities, look for how often throughout the day you have carbohydrates or sugars more than how much. Enjoy your meals! Be careful with your snacks.
Your physician is right when it comes to quitting smoking. While smoking is not known to lead to increased decay, smoking causes gum disease to worsen. The success rates for dental implants is generally very high, but failed implants are about twice as likely in smokers. While it’s best not to smoke, smokers should be especially mindful to keep regular dental checkups to monitor for new or worsening problems.
Brush your teeth at least two times each day using fluoride toothpaste.
The frequency of how much you brush and how you brush is important. Take the time to try to remove all the plaque from your teeth by brushing in circular motions and don’t skip out on your tongue. It doesn’t matter how tired you are either. And at the end of the day, always brush before bed.
Floss helps to remove plaque and prevents future buildup, which can lead to excess tartar on your teeth. If you suffer from bleeding gums, don’t be afraid to floss, the floss won’t make your gums worse. In fact, flossing helps gums and will likely reduce the bleeding in time.
Schedule regular dental visits.
Visit us at least two times a year (or more, depending on your own personal treatment plan) for professional cleanings and checkups. We’ll be able to do deep cleanings, spot potential issues, and offer treatment solutions.
So, as you can see, good oral hygiene is more than just brushing your teeth. It’s about maintaining a regimen. Your oral hygiene appointments can aid us in early detection of oral cancer and other dental issues, provide us with an opportunity to remove stubborn plaque and tartar buildup, and to discuss how your lifestyle can affect your oral health.
Hygiene services begin here, but they must always be followed by proper brushing, flossing, and healthy eating at home. If you’re not sure how, contact our office today or ask your dentist or hygienist during your next visit.