Aussies are starting to pay more attention to their dental care.
Diet, lifestyle and dental care all play a role in dental health. Dietary choices such as a high intake of carbohydrates and alcohol create a breeding ground for cavities and tooth decay, as do neglecting to perform daily dental hygiene. Another aspect of dental care that profoundly affects dental health is the ability to see a dentist at least once annually for a cleaning and checkup.
Failing to follow proper brushing and flossing habits in childhood can cause issues with permanent teeth coming in crooked and/or crowded. That means orthodontics in adolescence or adulthood to correct what could, in most cases, have been prevented with simple dental care. Neglecting your dental care can also result in serious problems such as gum disease, tooth loss and oral cancer, as well as an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and other issues.
Yet it’s human nature to put off things that are unpleasant. It’s rare to find a person who loves going to the dentist, and of course, the out-of-pocket costs required for a dentist visit can be prohibitive and provide a convenient reason to delay going. At the same time, most of us find change to be challenging, so updating our diet, lifestyle or dental hygiene habits to improve our dental care can prove difficult as well.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), in the twenty year period between 1994 and 2013, Australians reported an increase from 20% to 27% in the number of people unhappy with their smile. At the same time, the group with the highest level of untreated dental issues were adults aged 25 to 44 (28.2%), with more men than women reporting issues. The end result is that more than 25% of Australians and more than 1/3rd of Australians between the ages of 25-44 are paying attention to their dental health due to the negative effects associated with their smile and/or existing dental issues.
In today’s world, dentistry is able to address virtually any oral health issue. As crucial as regular dentist visits and routine brushing and flossing are to preventing dental issues, managing and resolving issues once they develop is also key. Once resolved though, preventative dental care and lifestyle/dietary changes are absolutely necessary to avert flare ups and new problems from occurring.
Three Tips to Address Dental Issues
Here are a few tips to help you address issues expeditiously once they occur and prevent future problems.
If orthodontics or major oral surgery like gum grafts, root canals or tooth extraction is required to correct your smile, discuss treatment options with your dentist. Ask questions so that you fully understand each option and feel comfortable making a decision. Also find out what methods of payment your dentist accepts, as well as any payment plan options.
The main culprit in tooth decay are acidic and high sugar and/or high carbohydrate foods and drinks. Carbohydrates break down into simple sugars, which form acid when they come into contact with your mouth’s bacteria. The end result is that both acidic foods (like citrus fruits, pickles, tomato products, coffee and alcohol), sugary foods and drinks and carbohydrates do the same number on your tooth enamel.
If limiting your consumption of these foods and drinks proves difficult or unrealistic because you travel frequently or otherwise eat out a lot, then try the following instead: Consume them only during meals and drink plenty of water to help remove the resulting acids from your teeth. Also swish water around in your mouth after meals, paying particular attention to your molars, which have many crevices in which food can get trapped.
The longer food and beverages linger with your mouth’s bacteria, the more your mouth produces damaging acid. Along with limiting your consumption of sugary, sticky, acidic foods and drinks, if possible, remember to brush and floss at least once, if not twice, daily. This home care will make your mouth an unwelcome home for tooth decay and its more troublesome companions.
If you find remembering to brush and floss problematic, set an alarm in your bedroom 10 minutes before bedtime to remind you. Or, if you’re frequently on the go, pack a small kit that includes a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss, and set an alarm on your phone. That way when your alarm chimes, you’ll know that it’s time to grab your kit and spend three minutes on your dental care.