You always hear the recommendations for brushing and flossing your teeth every day, and that it is important to visit the dentist for regular cleanings and exams. However, do you know how important these dental hygiene habits are? Despite these dental recommendations, many people do not as often as they should, or even skip out on their dental visits. It is a common misconception that if everything feels all right, then your mouth is healthy. Unfortunately, many oral health issues start out silently and are not noticed until they have become more serious. Ignoring your dental hygiene can have serious implications for your oral health. At NorthView Family Dental, we can help to optimize your dental hygiene and keep your mouth happy and healthy.
Why is Dental Hygiene Important?
A proper dental hygiene routine is critical to protecting your oral health, as well as your overall health and your quality of life. The components of your mouth serve several important functions. Your teeth are responsible for biting, chewing, and even aiding in speech. They also provide you with a great smile. The gums protect the roots of the teeth from bacterial invasion, as well as aid in the appearance of your smile. Your jaw not only maintains your facial shape but also aids in eating and speaking. Poor dental hygiene can affect all of the components of your mouth.
Your risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues is greatly increased. Tooth decay can weaken your teeth and leave them susceptible to infections. Gum disease can lead to recessed gums, loose teeth, and missing teeth. When you lose your teeth, your jawbone begins to grow weak. All of these issues can affect the appearance of your smile, and your face, leading to confidence issues. Your overall health is also put at risk. If infections develop, bacteria can enter the bloodstream and can contribute to serious issues such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, digestive issues, and more.
Caring for Your Mouth at Home
Good dental hygiene starts at home. The American Dental Association recommends that you brush your teeth at least twice a day, at least two full minutes each time. Using a soft bristled brush, hold the brush at a 45-degree angle and use small, gentle circles. Avoid brushing too rough. Aggressive brushing can lead to gum recession and wear on the enamel.
Flossing should be done at least once a day. Start with 18 inches of floss and wind it between your two middle fingers. Leaving 2 inches, gently move the floss back and forth to work it between your teeth. Gently scrape up and down the sides of each tooth, including behind your very back teeth. Do not force the floss between your teeth or snap it against your gums.
Professional Dental Care
Along with your home dental care routine, it is important that you have at least two professional cleanings and exams every year. It might not seem like much, but these visits are essential. With professional cleanings, we can remove stubborn buildup from all surfaces of your teeth, including the areas that you might not be able to reach on your own. Dental exams allow us to assess the condition of your mouth and diagnose oral health issues in their earliest stages before they progress to something more serious.
Proper dental hygiene can help to protect the health of your mouth as well as your overall health. If you have any questions about your dental hygiene practices or concerns about your oral health, contact NorthView Family Dental at (509) 590-1763 today.