9 Top Tips for Maintaining A Healthy Smile

What’s the first thing you notice about someone? Their eyes? Their smile? Those are the most common answers. So when someone notices your smile, are you embarrassed by what they see? Are your teeth getting the attention they deserve?  Follow these 9 tips to improve your oral health so you can smile with confidence!

1. Floss Like a Boss

Flossing isn’t just a trendy dance the kids are doing now…it’s one of the most important aspects of your dental health! Flossing regularly helps to prevent tooth decay by removing plaque and preventing plaque build up. It also ensures you are removing those stubborn food particles that are in hard to reach places. Leftovers should be in the fridge not your mouth!

2. Get your Good Side

We all know the right angle can make all the difference in a photo. The same goes for brushing your teeth! By angling the bristles of your toothbrush 45 degrees to the gum line, you are allowing the brush to access the gaps between your teeth, to stimulate the gums and ultimately be more effective at removing plaque. A brush parallel to the gums can give you an incomplete clean and can apply too much pressure.

3. No Ice, Ice, Baby!

It’s a common habit to crunch on the ice that is literally “just chillin” at the bottom of your cup. It’s a bad habit dentists recommended stopping asap. The cold temperature and hard texture of the ice can lead to tiny microscopic fractures on your enamel, compromising your tooth integrity and leading to dental problems in the future.

4. Happy Little Teeth

Bob Ross made millions of people smile each day by painting beautiful paintings using short, gentle strokes and focusing intently. He took his time painting his “happy little trees”. Doing the same when brushing your teeth is a great idea. We don’t want to aggressively brush up and down. We want to brush in a circular motion, focusing on small areas at a time. This allows the bristles to bend as needed and really massage that gum line. Ahh…happy little teeth.

5. Say no to Plaque!

Brushing  and flossing before going to bed is an amazing way to ensure a healthy mouth. When you go to bed without an oral care routine, plaque is left on the teeth. This is especially damaging as it remains undisturbed during the night. The plaque continues to build and will start to harden…which leads to calcification. AKA bad news. Stop it before it starts, brush off those food particles each night so you aren’t feeding the naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth.

6. Find your Dental Home:

Having regular dental cleanings and exams ensures you can have a healthy smile. You can prevent future issues, avoid costly dental bills and be in the know about your most noticeable feature! Let’s face it, the dental office isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. It’s important you find an office that makes you feel comfortable. Establishing your care with an amazing office who truly makes you feel cared for can make all the difference in your regularity. Call up your local dentist and ask for a tour!

7. Don’t Brush in a Rush!

It’s hard sometimes to get everything ready before flying out the door. It may seem like you are being more productive by brushing your teeth while putting on your shoes or typing up an email. Distracted brushing leads to incomplete cleaning and shorter brushing times. Brushing your teeth should only take two minutes of your time and it takes those full two minutes to ensure the fluoride in your toothpaste can attach to your enamel. The average person brushes for 45 seconds…eek!

8. 30 Minute Wait

If you just washed your car, would you immediately take it out to the beach? Hopefully not. Same with your teeth! After brushing and flossing, wait at least half an hour before eating or drinking. This will help the fluoride remain effective without the risk of it being washed away.

9. Soft Serve

A soft bristle toothbrush serves you best! You want to gently remove plaque not remove the protective coating on your teeth. Look for a brush that is a good fit for your mouth with soft bristles. You want the toothbrush to be able to reach the back of your mouth and around the teeth. The bristle type should be listed on the package, avoid medium and hard bristled brushes.

June is National Smile Month: Show off your smile!

The community health awareness group Oral Health America has reported that 82 percent of adults are unaware of the role that infectious bacteria can play in tooth decay or cavities, and almost three out of five children aged 12 to 19 have tooth decay. Since June is National Smile Month, Dr. Melanie and Dr. Farnam and our team at FMS Dental thought we’d remind our patients about the importance of good oral hygiene visits between office visits.

To keep your family’s smiles healthy and beautiful for years to come, be sure to:

  • Brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss every day to clean between your teeth
  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
  • Reduce your intake of sugary foods and drinks
  • Visit Dr. Melanie and Dr. Farnam for scheduled appointments

If you want to know more about healthy home care habits, feel free to ask our team at your next appointment, or ask us on Facebook!

Oral Health Problems: An indicator of overall health problems?

If you are like many people, you might think of your oral health as separate from your overall health. After all, most dental coverage plans are distinct from health care coverage. However, your oral health goes far beyond being able to chew nutritious and enjoyable foods. Oral health problems may be an indicator of a variety of other health problems.

Links between Oral Health and Overall Health

In the late 1980s, researchers noticed a trend among patients who had recently suffered from heart attacks. As the Journal of the American Dental Association reported, they observed that these patients were more likely to have dental caries or cavities, periodontitis or inflammation around the tooth, and other forms of gum disease. Later studies found similar results, and dentists and doctors now recognize poor oral health as a risk factor for a variety of heart conditions, such as heart attacks, atherosclerosis, and coronary heart disease.

There are even more links between oral health problems and overall health problems. Some individuals do not find out that they have Type 2 diabetes until a dentist sees that they have periodontitis. If you have diabetes, worsening periodontitis can indicate that your diabetes is not under control.

Poor oral health is also associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Furthermore, poor oral health puts you at higher risk for respiratory infections, such as pneumonia, because harmful pathogens can enter your body through your mouth.

Take Care of Your Teeth

Keeping your teeth healthy remains important, especially as you grow older. Older adults are more prone to dental caries and other oral health problems, as well as to chronic diseases. While taking care of your oral health might not prevent a specific disease, a healthy mouth is a significant factor in your overall health.

You can take care of your teeth by continuing to brush twice a day and floss every day. Avoid consuming too many sugary and starchy foods, and drink water after each meal or snack to rinse your teeth. See Dr. Melanie and Dr. Farnam for regular checkups, and contact FMS Dental if you have any concerns about your teeth or gums.

Oral Health during Pregnancy

Pregnancy can be one of the most exciting times in a woman’s life, as you eagerly wait for the birth of the new addition. Needless to say, pregnancy comes with a lot of responsibilities. Everything you do to your own body can affect your baby’s health, so you eat right and try to avoid anything that could harm your baby.

You may not realize it, but even your oral health affects your baby. You have a lot to worry about during this time in your life, but it’s important not to let your oral health slide. Maintaining good routines before and during pregnancy can improve the health of your baby.

Gum Disease and Pregnancy

Gum disease includes gingivitis and the more severe condition called periodontitis. Pregnancy gingivitis is a condition that results from bacteria in your teeth. Symptoms include gum inflammation and bad breath. If it progresses to periodontitis, your baby is at higher risk for preterm delivery and low-birth weight. You can also develop pregnancy tumors, or pyogenic granulomas, which can interfere with speaking and eating. Throughout pregnancy, continue to visit Dr. Melanie and Dr. Farnam at your regularly scheduled appointments to look for signs of gum disease.

Pregnancy and the Role of Our Office

Make an appointment with Dr. Melanie and Dr. Farnam at our Houston office when you first learn that you’re pregnant, especially if you have unresolved oral health issues. If possible, try not to schedule necessary treatment during the first trimester or second half of the third trimester.

Oral Health Care Habits to Follow

Maintain a normal good oral health care regimen, which includes brushing your teeth at least twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste and soft toothbrush, and flossing daily. If your regular regimen is not up to par, now is a good time to develop good habits. You can use an unflavored toothpaste if you have morning sickness and regular toothpaste makes you feel nauseous. Also, rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash if you experience morning sickness to prevent acid damage to your teeth.

Does chronic stress impact periodontal health?

Many studies over the past several years have focused on this question. Since we will all face stressful situations during our life, it is a good question to ask. This question also delves into the mind-body connection—the psychological having an effect on the physical and vice versa.

Studies were performed as far back as the 1940s and continue today. Many of them have shown that stress “down regulates” or hinders cellular immune response. The most common periodontal diseases related to this stress-induced down regulation are gingivitis and periodontitis.

It is believed that stress and depression contribute to a state of chronic inflammation within the body. Stress also raises levels of cortisol in your body, which has been linked in studies to higher levels of tooth loss and deeper pockets between the gums and teeth.

Perhaps the biological side of this equation makes sense, but an important factor is that people who are stressed and/or depressed tend to neglect oral hygiene and other health-promoting activities. The studies seem to support both the behavioral and biological effects as risk factors for periodontal disease.

Here are some things you can do to help prevent stress-related periodontal problems:

  • Daily relaxation –You may consider meditation or yoga. Both have been proven effective at easing stress.
  • Practice good oral hygiene – Don’t let your oral hygiene fall by the wayside. Doing so will obviously have a detrimental effect on your oral health. You should also aim to quit smoking if you do smoke.
  • Get regular dental checkups – Getting regular checkups will help you to spot anything that’s amiss before it gets out of hand. You can speak with your dentist if you have any pain or concerns and have them take a look.

Stress is something that affects all of us but it can be managed. Each one of us may manage it in a different way. Find what works for you and always make sure to keep up with your oral hygiene routine. For more information about stress-related periodontal issues, schedule an appointment with Dr. Melanie and Dr. Farnam at our Houston office.