January is traditionally the month when people look at their lives with a critical eye and establish a resolution or two to better shape their path throughout the New Year. Quite often these New Year’s resolutions involve some sort of enhanced physical fitness.
As your trusty neighborhood dentist I want to make an impassioned plea this New Year for you to include dental health as a top shelf priority within your fitness resolutions.
In many ways the mouth is the gateway to the body. It is through the mouth that we take in nourishment and hydration. It is through the mouth that we exchange oxygen-rich and oxygen depleted gases between our lungs and our atmosphere. It is with the mouth that we communicate both verbally and non-verbally. It is with the mouth that we share ourselves in very intimate ways. Furthermore, ongoing research projects are looking at the ways in which neglect of our gum tissue health allows for oral bacteria to enter the blood stream and spread assorted disease processes throughout the body. Don’t you agree that something this important is worthy of a New Year’s resolution for improved maintenance and better health?
Here are five key elements for you to consider in setting your oral health fitness resolution.
1. Buy yourself a high quality rechargeable electric tooth brush. The Philips Sonicare and Oral-B Braun brands are reliable and perform beautifully. Commit to following the two-minute brushing timer and you will have significantly improved bacterial plaque removal with significantly less tooth brushing abrasion of the gum tissue when compared to a manual toothbrush.
2. Flossing. Even the best electric tooth brush can’t remove bacterial plaque from those in-between tooth surfaces. Cleaning a tooth is like washing your car. Would you wash the hood, roof and trunk but leave the doors dirty? Your teeth need and deserve that same attention to detail. In the old days there was waxed and unwaxed floss. Today there are loads of floss varieties and flavors. There also is an assortment of clever flossing-aid gadgets available at the local pharmacy. Use whatever works for you. If you’re not a daily flosser it will take a week or so before you feel proficient, but DON’T give up when your fingers get sore or you taste a little blood. Like most skills, flossing requires practice!
3. Food and beverage selection. If you have a history of dental caries/tooth decay/cavities, you will need to place new focus on the beverages and foods you enjoy. Dental plaque consists of several varieties of bacteria. If the bacterial plaque blend is high in species that very efficiently convert carbohydrate foods into acidic by-products you will be more prone to tooth decay than someone with lower levels of these species.
4. Bite splint. If you’ve been told you grind or clench your teeth, you may well need a custom-fit bite splint to keep your jaw joints happy and guard against wear and fracture of your teeth.
5. Mouth guard. If you participate in contact sports please safeguard your healthy smile.
Dr. Davis is especially good with kids. And his staff? Helpful, compassionate, and caring. They take care of business for you. Thumbs up. 10 on a scale of 5.