On behalf of Park Avenue Dental and Dr. Michael Sherman – your Orange Park dentist who cares – we are confident in telling you that one of the best investments you can make when it comes to your overall health is in premium dental care. Whether you’re paying for something you’ll use on an everyday basis, such as dental floss, or a specialized dental service like Invisalign, the return is typically a major improvement in your quality of life. Why is the payback so big? Because of the unique fashion in which your oral health affects you physically and psychologically; it influences virtually every aspect of your life, believe it or not, from the way you chew and taste food to how you look, talk and socialize.
Good Oral Health Starts with YOU
When most people visualize the words “dental care,” immediately thoughts of dentists, dental fillings, orthodontic braces and dental sealants are conjured up – and while those are important, they don’t tell the whole story. Good dental and oral health really begins with you and a regular oral hygiene routine that encapsulates the following:
1. Brush Your Teeth Twice a Day
Brushing your teeth with a soft-bristle toothbrush twice a day for 120 seconds at a clip is just as important as flossing at least once a day…in fact, many respected periodontists would argue flossing is even more essential. Brushing and flossing help keep your teeth healthy and your smile bright, but as critical as good oral hygiene is to your dental health, the steps you take at home are significantly more effective when they are part of a comprehensive dental care plan that includes regular dental exams and cleanings.
Gum disease and tooth decay remain big problems – and not just for older people. According to the ADHD, three-fourths of teenagers experience gum tissue that bleeds…so, along with the basic advice we just outlined, remember that:
- Toothbrushes should be changed three to four times a year.
- Teenagers with braces may need to use special toothbrushes and other oral hygiene tools to brush their teeth; talk to your dentist or orthodontist about this.
- Older people suffering with arthritis or other problems may have trouble holding a toothbrush or using floss; some people find it easier to use an electric toothbrush, while others apply a foam tube or bicycle grip over the handle of a standard toothbrush to make it easier to grasp.
2. Start Children Early
Irrespective of great strides in decay prevention, one in four young children develops signs of tooth decay before they even step foot in a school. Perhaps worse, half of all children between the ages of 12 and 15 have cavities; indeed, Michael Sherman of Park Avenue Dental believes that dental care should begin as soon as the child’s first tooth appears, usually around six months, with teeth being able to be wiped with a clean, damp cloth or very soft brush. At age two, it is recommended that kids begin brushing for themselves – or should begin trying – although it’s important to supervise.
3. Use Enough – but Not Too Much – Fluoride
Fluoride, with its tendency to strengthen enamel and make it more difficult to decay, is one of the primary advancements we’ve seen in modern day oral health. Ready for a shocking statistic? Three out of four Americans drink water that is fluoridated – if your water isn’t fluoridated, talk to a dental professional like Dr. Michael Sherman of Park Avenue Dental who will probably suggest putting a fluoride application on your teeth. Interestingly, many toothpastes and mouth rinses also contain fluoride – but take note: Fluoride should be used sparingly when it comes to young children (no more than a pea-sized dab on the toothbrush) because too much can cause white spots on teeth.
4. Rinse or Chew Gum After Meals
Beyond brushing and flossing, washing your mouth with an antibacterial rinse can assist in the prevention of decay and gum problems. Additionally, chewing sugar-free gum after a meal can also add protection by increasing saliva flow which naturally washes away bacteria while neutralizing acid.
5. Try to Defend Against Blows to Teeth
Sports and recreational activities may build healthy, active bodies but they can definitely pose a threat to teeth – most school teams now require kids to don mouth guards, but unsupervised recreational activities like skateboarding and rollerblading can also result in injuries. A dentist such as Dr. Sherman of Park Avenue Dental can make a custom-fitted mouth guard, or one can be purchased at a sporting goods store that can be softened using hot water to form-fit the mouth.
6. Don’t Smoke or use Smokeless Tobacco
We don’t have to tell smart readers like you that tobacco stains teeth and significantly increases the risk of gum disease and oral cancer. If you currently smoke or use chewing tobacco, consider quitting today – and please counsel your kids not to start.
7. Eat Smart
A healthy diet is essential to healthy teeth and gums – at every age. A well-balanced diet of whole foods – including grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables – and dairy products will provide all the nutrients you require. According to our research, omega-3 fats (such as the kind found in fish products) may also reduce inflammation, thereby reducing the risk of gum disease.
8. Avoid Sugary Foods
When bacteria in the mouth break down simple sugars, an acid is produced that can erode tooth enamel, thus opening the door to decay. Sugary drinks, including sodas and fruit beverages, pose a special threat because people tend to sip them, raising acid levels over a long period of time. Further, carbonated beverages may make matters worse since carbonation also increases acidity. Sticky candies, meanwhile, are another culprit because they linger on teeth surfaces.
9. Make an Appointment
We recommend a dental checkup every six months, and more often if you are experiencing issues like gum disease. During a routine exam, a dental expert such as Dr. Michael Sherman removes plaque buildup that you can’t brush or floss away, while looking for signs of decay.
10. Don’t Underestimate the Benefits of a Regular Exam
A routine dental exam can spot:
- Early signs of cancer
- Wear and tear from tooth grinding
- Signs of gum disease
- Interactions with medications
- Much more
Almost all tooth decay and most gum disease can be prevented with good oral hygiene habits. We’re talking about taking a few minutes each day to brush and floss, and that’s not much of a sacrifice in return for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.
If you’re searching for a caring Orange Park dentist who stringently adheres to these oral health practices for patients, look no further than Dr. Michael Sherman of Park Avenue Dental.