Taking care of your mouth can be a challenge, especially when it comes to figuring out what’s best for you- everyone’s different, and the approach that works for one person might not be ideal for the next. However, there are a few key things that people with healthy teeth almost always have in common. Ask yourself the following questions to arm yourself with the best tools available when it comes to dental care.
Could you benefit from an electric toothbrush?
When used properly, manual brushes work just as well as electric types. However, an astonishing number of adults don’t brush correctly, or in a way that helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease. An electric brush can help solve some of these issues- many types are available with a timer, eliminating the guesswork as to how long is long enough (about two minutes is ideal.) An electric brush can also be extremely helpful as you grow older and begin to lose some of the strength and dexterity in your hands, performing the back-and-forth scrubbing motion that can be difficult for stiff or painful fingers.
How long has it been since you had your crowns or other dental repairs examined?
The length of life for a crown or other restoration largely depends on how well you take care of them, but you can usually expect to need some maintenance or replacement at some point- it’s a good idea to have crowns and fillings checked every 5-8 years to make sure they’re holding up. A big issue facing those with crowns is the development of decay under the crown- since it’s hidden, many people don’t notice it until the situation has progressed severely. A dental professional can catch problems like these before they become a major issue.
Do you know what dental problems you’re most prone to?
This is another area where your dentist can give you a lot of help. The biggest problem for some people is sensitive teeth; others are susceptible to cavities and decay. Your lifestyle and diet has a lot to do with the dental issues you may face, but genetics play a part as well- some people just have more problems with their teeth than others despite excellent hygiene and preventative care. Making regular visits to the dentist’s office can give you an idea of what areas you need to focus on to support the best oral health possible. He or she can also recommend products tailored for your specific needs- some toothpastes are great for whitening, while others are more effective at preventing and controlling gum disease. A personalized care plan is ideal for helping you keep healthy teeth.
Do you grind or clench your teeth?
Grinding and clenching can do some serious damage to the overall structure of your teeth and jaw. Tooth grinding, or bruxism, often occurs at night while you’re sleeping, so it can be difficult to catch. If you often wake up with a headache or a sore/tired feeling jaw, you may be grinding your teeth. Your dentist can also see signs of grinding and clenching in your mouth- abnormal wear and tear or flattened tops on your teeth are a dead giveaway. Talk to your dentist about wearing a nighttime mouth guard that will keep you from grinding your teeth together.