Simple Ways to Keep Your Mouth and Wallet Happy

by Dr. Susan Estep

Child brushing teeth

Prevention is better than a cure and in the case of healthcare, especially dentistry – prevention is certainly cheaper than treatment.

It is a well-known fact that preventive dental care is beneficial when adopted right from the early ages. However, most people find it quite challenging to stick to a regular dental routine.

The need to maintain oral hygiene, knowing when your teeth be cleaned, what products are the best for your oral health, are all very important in maintaining a healthy mouth.

Regular visits to the dentist is a must not only to take stock of oral health periodically, but also to seek advice and guidance on what preventive measures can be adopted to avoid, if not totally ward off any dental problems.

Here are a few simple ways to keep your mouth and wallet happy. While some procedures can be followed at home, others are done at the chairside.

Maintain Dental Hygiene

Daily oral care routines play an important part in preventing dental problems. It cannot be stressed enough that simply brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing after meals can have positive life long benefits.

A fluoride-rich toothpaste, a flexible regular toothbrush with a good reach and bristles that are gum-friendly, interdental tooth brushes for better cleaning, mouthwashes and rinses that disinfect the teeth, gums and help prevent bad breath also help to ensure that your mouth is clean. For individuals not comfortable with fluoride in their toothpaste, there are available alternatives on the market, such as Tom’s of Maine or Theodent.

Most quality dental care products are available OTC and for very affordable prices. It is ideal to check with a dentist before opting for suitable products. As some of us may have sensitive teeth, few teeth may need strength and protection, hard brush bristles may damage gums, etc. Professional advice makes the choice safe and easier.

A Bright Smile Goes Along Way

Smiling is infectious. Smiling can actually trick your body into thinking you’re in a good mood when you’re feeling down. Smiling can ease your stress, other people’s stress, and even boost your immune system. Studies indicate that smiling can make you look younger, more attractive and even more successful. Feeling confident about your smile is very important and so having a fresh and welcoming smile is an easy way to enhance your self-confidence while maintaining your oral health.

A bright white smile can go a long way. “For a quick whitening fix on a budget, combine a small amount of baking soda and strawberries to remove stains from coffee, tea, or sodas,” says Peter Boulden, DMD, and owner of Atlanta Dental Spa. “Strawberries contain vitamin C and malic acid which act as an astringent and in the short term aids in the removal of surface stains, while whitening your teeth and reducing any plaque. This is by no means a replacement for professional whitening treatments, but it is a helpful solution in the interim.”

Watch Your Diet and Consumption

Starchy, sugary, acidic and colored foods do have a distinct impact on the tooth enamel, known to be the strongest natural element in the world. Diet control does not necessary mean going on a diet; it means consuming healthy food at preset times and adopting effective cleaning techniques.

Here are some easy tips to avoid tooth decay (cavities), stained teeth, and other oral health problems which can lead to large dental bills:

• Eat carbohydrates only during meals and avoid having as snacks.

• If you are unable to brush your teeth after eating, rinse your mouth with water.

• If you snack, eat “non-sugary” foods, such as cheese, popcorn, raw veggies or yogurt.

• Avoid consuming high sugar beverages like energy drinks, sodas, or sweetened coffees; the sugar from these drinks often stays in your mouth for hours.

• If you love sweets, try substituting fruits instead; they are healthier for your body, teeth, and many contain Vitamin C which holds our body cells together

• Drink lots of water. It not only acts as a rinse and helps remove trapped food particles, it helps clean your mouth and makes you feel great.

Regular Dentist Appointments

The ADA recommends that people visit their dentists at least twice a year to detect and treat dental problems earlier, minimizing both the pain and the costs in the process.

Growing children and youngsters need to keep their scheduled appointments with their dentists, mainly to ward off the negative effects of citrus and other fruit juices, fizzy drinks, sweets and junk food. They also tend to heed the dentists advice better than the regular warning at home, and visiting a dentist at an early age helps encourage daily dental routines.

Dentist appointments work at both psychological and physical level, making dental treatment comfortable and relatively less costly at a later date.

(Dr. Susan Estep is an award winning cosmetic dentist and one of the owners at Atlanta Dental Spa. She is devoted to overall patient well-being and has developed a communications program to promote patient education and advocacy. She is passionate in her practice to educate patients on oral-systemic health and deliver advanced methods of care to help ensure optimal health results.)

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2 Responses to “Simple Ways to Keep Your Mouth and Wallet Happy”

  1. Keep a bottle opener and a small pair of scissors in your bag or desk drawer. If you have the right gadgets to hand, you won’t be tempted to use your teeth as tools, which can damage them. In fact, never, ever use your teeth as tools for anything except eating.

  2. Very good information here. I will have to try baking soda and strawberries, though I usually use o-t-c self whitening products that do seem to work quite well.