How often do you think about your teeth? Sure you remember to brush them, but when is the last time you really thought about what your teeth do for you?
From a functional standpoint, teeth allow you to eat. Teeth are built-in tools that allow us to bite into food and tear it apart. This is what starts the digestive process so we can get energy and nutrients from our food.
But teeth also shape our self-esteem. If you are missing a tooth or have a discolored tooth, it completely changes your smile.
At Atlanta West Dentistry in Marietta, GA, we have seen patients who didn’t appreciate how important their teeth were … until their teeth were gone.
We are sure they would tell you to take care of your teeth so you can keep them as long as possible. That’s why we want to share some common ways people hurt their teeth, so you won’t make the same mistakes.
Mistake #1: Using Tobacco
There is no way to use tobacco that is healthy for your mouth and teeth.
People who smoke are more likely to have yellow and discolored teeth. People who smoke are more likely to have gum disease. People who smoke are more likely to lose bone density in their jaws.
And there’s the real biggie. People who smoke have a much greater risk than non-smokers of developing oral cancer.
Tobacco hurts your oral health in so many ways (plus it makes you breath smell bad). It’s not worth starting, and if you are a smoker, then we strongly encourage you to quit for your sake and for the sake of your mouth.
If you think that smokeless tobacco products are somehow “safer,” then we have more bad news. According to WebMD, a can of snuff has as much tobacco as 60 cigarettes.
Smokeless tobacco also irritates your gums directly, which can lead to gum recession and a higher risk of gum disease. And one more thing, many smokeless tobacco products include sand and grit, which can wear down your teeth.
Mistake #2: Skipping The Dentist
When you come to our office, we are doing more than cleaning your teeth.
By removing any plaque and tartar buildup, we are reducing your risk of developing gum disease and tooth decay.
We also take X-rays and monitor any changes that may have occurred with your teeth. If you have had a change in your bite, it could cause you to have pain or increase the wear-and-tear on your teeth.
We also look for the early signs of gum disease, so you can treat it before it becomes a major problem. We also watch for signs of oral cancer. We would rather catch something early, which improves the likelihood that treatment will be successful.
If you are avoiding the dentist because of dental anxiety, we encourage you to call us to learn about our comfort options and about sedation dentistry.
We offer nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, and IV sedation. Whether you have moderate dental anxiety or severe dental fear, we have a sedation dentistry option that can help you get the care that you need.
Mistake #3: Not Flossing Your Teeth
A survey conducted last year found that 40 percent of Americans floss every day, which is what the American Dental Association recommends. That also means that 60 percent of Americans are not flossing like they should.
More worrisome, 20 percent of Americans never floss.
Why do we want you to floss? Because you need your gums and so do your teeth.
If gum disease spreads without being treated, it can lead damage the bones that hold your teeth in your mouth. This can cause your teeth to feel loose and eventually to fall out.
Flossing allows you to remove bacteria and plaque (the things that cause gum disease) from the places that you can’t reach with your toothbrush — between your teeth and between your gums and teeth.
If you can’t or won’t use dental floss, then we encourage you to learn about other types of interdental devices. These include water picks and flossers (which have a short handle with a Y-shaped head with a small piece of floss between it).
Take Care Of Your Teeth
The best way to care for your teeth is to follow ADA guidelines. Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time. Floss (or use another interdental device) every day.
And visit our dentist office in Marietta, GA, for routine cleanings and examinations.