Easy Dental Tips for Active Adults
Making time for daily oral care today can help save our teeth for tomorrow
A toothbrush, a dab of fluoride toothpaste, some dental floss and a few spare minutes. That, along with two visits to your dentist each year, is really all that’s required to keep your smile looking its best. Yet many adults seem to struggle to set aside the time needed for a regular, daily routine.
“New careers, family needs, household demands – it’s easy for adults to become so busy they neglect their oral health,” acknowledges Dr. Christopher Appleman, of Williamsburg Dental in Broomall Pa. “But it’s a fact that regular brushing and flossing can reduce or even prevent dental disease in later years.”
Daily oral hygiene includes brushing your teeth at least twice a day an hour after eating. A soft-bristled, nylon brush with round-ended bristles is recommended. Regular flossing between the teeth will remove most of the bits your toothbrush may miss. Even mouthwash can help dislodge food particles.
“Since brushing an hour after eating may not be practical for many adults, we recommend doing it before breakfast and certainly at bedtime,” says Dr. Appleman. “Saliva flow, which helps thwart the acid that causes decay, slows down when we sleep. Since this leaves the mouth more at risk for decay it’s important you head off to bed with a clean set of teeth.”
Other additional, easy-care dental tips:
- Chew sugar-free gum after a meal when you can’t brush
- This action actually helps remove food debris and stimulates saliva flow
- Replace processed foods with more fruits, nuts and fresh vegetables
to reduce the amount of decay-causing, refined sugar in your diet
- Stop smoking – it not only causes major diseases but stains teeth, causes bad breath and can lead to gum disease and even oral cancer
- Sip soda through a straw to help reduce the acid attack on your teeth
- Change manual toothbrushes every 2-3 months –when those bristles appear splayed they simply don’t clean as well and can even damage your gums
A daily home routine, Dr. Appleman adds, should be complemented by two trips to the dentist every year, the minimum schedule recommended by the ADA (American Dental Association). During bi-annual visits your dentist or hygienist will clean and polish your teeth, removing stains and the decay-causing plaque that ultimately causes decay and can even lead to periodontal (gum) disease. Your dentist will also screen for oral cancer, which, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation, unfortunately strikes 100 new victims in the U.S. each day.
“It’s easy to forget we only have one set of teeth,” sums up Dr. Appleman. “We gently remind our patients of this fact every time they visit us.”