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Protecting your smile

Posted August 21, 2013 in Advice Column, Waukee

There are several keys to a healthy mouth. Today, with current knowledge and technology, most people will be able to keep their natural teeth for their entire life with proper care. I would like to share with you the most important ways to make this a reality for you and your family.

The first is making healthy choices. Maintaining a healthy mouth through good oral care is part of a healthy lifestyle.  Cleaning your teeth daily, establishing good eating habits, avoiding tobacco use and having regular dental visits can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease and promote a healthier life.

Eating right is more important than ever before. There are many more choices in the grocery store than we have had in the past. Most of those choices include added sugar, which can lead to tooth decay. Eat foods that are low in saturated fat, trans fats, cholesterol, salt and sugar. Eat a variety of foods from the main food groups. Drink water between meals and after eating.  Doesn’t sound like fun, you say? Ask anyone who has lost his or her natural teeth and most will tell you it’s no picnic, either. Patients come to our practice every day, and many wish they had given their teeth more care and attention.

Along with regular visits to your dentist, proper at-home daily care is vital to maintaining your oral health. Consult your dentist or dental hygienist about your personal oral care needs. Basic brushing at least twice a day or after a sugary snack is best for preventing tooth decay. Most patients will benefit from a rotary or sonic toothbrush for added protection from tooth decay and gum disease. Flossing is also extremely important. Approximately 35 percent of the tooth’s surfaces will not be cleaned if floss is not used. Many patients will develop what we call “flossing” cavities, but it’s more accurate to call them “no flossing” cavities. These are in between the teeth where a toothbrush cannot reach.

The best approach to oral health care is to have you and your dentist work together. I will leave you with five great reasons to visit the dentist regularly.
• Learn the best way to keep your teeth clean and your mouth healthy.
• Help prevent gum disease (the major reason for tooth loss in adults) and cavities (the second most common reason).
• Remove plaque biofilm and tartar — a hard build-up that can only be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist.
• Get rid of stains that can’t be removed by brushing and flossing.
• Check for signs of oral cancer.

Develop a great relationship with your dentist and keep your teeth for a lifetime.

Information provided by Dr. Steffany Mohan, dentist, author and speaker, Plaza Dental Group, 1089 Jordan Creek Parkway, Suite 100, West Des Moines,, 515-224-5999.

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