It’s hard to take good care of ourselves if we don’t also take good care of our teeth. Dental health is all too easy to take for granted. It’s common to think things like, “I’ll floss tomorrow night,” or, “I’ll call the dentist tomorrow and schedule a cleaning.” Then life interferes and it’s been two months since we flossed or two years since we’ve been to the dentist. It may not seem like a big deal, but there’s evidence that the health of our teeth plays a role in how healthy the rest of our body is as well. Good oral health helps keep the bacteria in our mouths in check. Bad oral health can cause infections, and that can lead to other issues, including cardiovascular problems.
Stay on schedule
The best thing we can do for our dental health is to create a cleaning schedule and stick to it. Growing up, most us heard, “See you in six months!” at the end of every dental cleaning, but it turns out annual cleanings are enough for adults without certain risk factors. Don’t assume that once a year is fine, though. Talk to your dentist or dental hygienist first. You may have one of the risk factors that require a cleaning every six months, and if so, there’s no shame in that. Some people seemed to hit the genetic lottery and have great teeth no matter how little they floss or brush, while others can use a high-end electric toothbrush, floss religiously, and still end up with cavities. If you feel like you’re doing all you can and it still doesn’t seem to be enough, speak with your dentist about your concerns. The solution may lie in something as simple as correcting your brushing or flossing technique.
Cost is another major concern for many people. Dental work can be cost prohibitive even with dental insurance. Some communities offer low-income clinics for certain populations, and other patients may be able to find a deal by visiting clinics associated with dental schools.
Treat lingering issues
Not every issue will be urgent. A cavity needs to be taken care of as soon as possible before it worsens and requires a root canal, but not all dental issues are created equal. Many children are told they could benefit from braces but decide to hold off on getting them. Maybe their parents don’t have enough money, or maybe they don’t want to go to prom with a mouth full of metal. As adults, they may regret that decision or feel self-conscious about their teeth. There’s good news, though: Adults looking at correcting their bite have more options than ever, including barely noticeable ones like invisalign. Invisalign uses clear inserts that fit around your teeth and gently push them into alignment. Properly aligned teeth make it easier for you to chew your food, and they can also go a long way towards increasing your self-confidence. If you couldn’t get braces as a teenager, you shouldn’t feel resigned to a lifetime of slightly crooked smiles. Talk to a dentist today to investigate the full breadth of your options.