Not dealing with dental issues like cavities or gum disease can mess up your eating and speaking, cause pain, and leave you with unpleasant breath. However, here’s the thing, it’s not just about your mouth or flashing a dazzling smile. Believe it or not, poor dental health can also wreak havoc on other parts of your body and life.
It’s like a domino effect, impacting your heart, diabetes, pregnancy, and even causing chronic inflammation like arthritis. Dental hygiene and wellness go beyond daily brushing and flossing. Create a comprehensive checklist to ensure you stick to a routine that works for you and your family. Start with these:
1. Regularly Meet Your Dental Professional
Let’s start with the absolute superstar in our dental hygiene and wellness checklist – your dentist! Regularly meeting your dentist is one of the most important aspects of maintaining good oral health. Don’t just go to them when you have a problem. You should schedule regular checkups and cleanings to prevent cavities, treat gum issues and, most importantly, catch any dental problems before they escalate.
According to the American Dental Association, a dentist’s role involves evaluating, diagnosing, preventing, and treating oral diseases. Your dentist is your partner in ensuring your oral health is in shape. Everyone’s dental health is different, so it’s important to see your dentist so that they can provide personalized advice and tips on improving your dental care routine at home.
Ask your friends and family for recommendations. Look for a friendly, attentive, experienced dentist with great reviews. Go online and do a local search. Schedule appointments with about three or more of your leads and vet each one’s experience before settling. When you find the right dentist, they’ll become a valuable asset in your journey to maintain dental hygiene and wellness.
2. Inquire About if Your Dentist Works With Other Labs
Digital dental labs have revolutionized the dental industry, and you might be surprised to learn how they can enhance your dental care. According to the BMC Health Services Research, these labs are like the tech wizards of the dental world, equipped with AI and laser-powered scanners. They work magic by creating super-accurate models of your mouth’s hard and soft tissues. With digital X-rays, they bring picture quality to a whole new level, way better than traditional films.
So, why does this matter? Well, these digital wonders improve efficiency in dental procedures and make everything run efficiently. Improved services look like better-fitting crowns, bridges, and other dental prosthetics. Also, doctors get to save time, and as a patient, you receive quicker and more precise treatments. So when you visit your dentist or are looking for one, always inquire if they work with digital dental labs.
3. Ensure Your Young Family Members Are Learning About Good Oral Health
As a parent, you want your child or children to grow up with healthy smiles, so you teach them how to brush their teeth in the mornings and before bedtime. It becomes part of your family night routine, but unfortunately, it never goes beyond that. Even if you don’t know all the scientific benefits of oral health, your child can learn about them in an early childhood learning center. Ask about the oral health education programs at your child’s daycare or early childhood learning center and check the content of what’s being taught.
Your child’s daycare or kindergarten may not offer these programs, but if parental involvement is encouraged, suggest that the center incorporate oral health lessons into its curriculum. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Let the school or daycare teach simple practices like proper brushing techniques, the benefits of limiting sugary snacks, and visiting the dentist regularly.
The caregivers and teachers should make these subjects fun and interactive. All you must do at home is reinforce what they’ve been learning at school. This way, you’re setting them up to enjoy a lifetime of dental hygiene and wellness.
4. Visit Hospitalized Loved Ones With Oral Health Materials
Since you’ve established that oral health can either promote or tamper with your overall physical health, it’s wise to extend what you learned to others. Oral health is sometimes overlooked during hospital stays because hospital staff may be too preoccupied with other medical needs to focus on oral care. You can make a real difference by visiting people in hospitals with oral health materials. Some hospitals provide patients with basic oral care items, but others don’t.
Consider creating a care package that includes a toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, and mouthwash. You’ll contribute to your loved one’s overall health and well-being with your thoughtful gesture. Have this in your dental hygiene and wellness checklist so the oral health kit is right there when needed.
5. Make Sure Your Elderly Family Members Receive the Dental Care They Deserve
As your family members age, they may face challenges maintaining their oral health. The American Center for Disease Control and Prevention notes that older adults are more prone to gum disease, and around 2 in 3 (68%) adults aged 65 years or older have gum disease. Again, almost 1 in 5 adults aged 65+ have lost all their teeth. According to the National Institute of Health, the increase in dental challenges in older Americans is due to age-related salivary changes, a poor diet, exposure of the root surface by the gingival recession, and mechanical changes from regular mouth aging that leads to gradual thinning of the enamel.
Ensuring your older relatives receive the dental care they deserve is crucial for them to lead happier lives in their twilight years. If they’re eligible for Medicaid, get them a dental healthcare insurance cover they can use. Medicaid lawyers can assist in navigating the complexities of healthcare coverage for elderly individuals. The lawyers will also help them understand their dental benefits and find suitable dental care providers. Just because your grandma has only 20 teeth remaining at 75 years old doesn’t mean she can’t benefit from good dental hygiene and wellness.
6. Check on Your Elderly Family Members Who Require Dental Support
In most cases, seniors need additional support in their daily lives. So, even with insurance coverage, they still can’t take advantage of its benefits independently. They need help. That’s why you should check on family members who require dental support.
You can enlist elder care assistance who can help alleviate some of the struggles that your elderly loved ones face in accessing healthcare services, such as mobility issues and inability to navigate technology. If you can’t afford elder care assistance services, be proactive in arranging local transportation to and from dental appointments or inquiring about home care dental services and the possibilities of telemedicine. Your attentiveness can make a significant difference in maintaining their dental hygiene and wellness. Helping them with oral health will also help avoid incurring high expenses for denture fittings and prescription drugs for severe gum disease that wasn’t caught in its inception.
7. Find out if Your Elderly Family Members Have the Needed Resources for Their Dental Care
According to a 2018 survey by the American Dental Association, CNBC reported that over 40% of Americans said they don’t visit dentists as much as is necessary. Their main reason for neglecting dental appointments is cost. The Guardian argues that dental ‘Oral health is not just a health issue, it’s a social justice and equity issue.’
Noting the general prevalence of lack of accessibility in dental healthcare, elderly populations have it much worse. Most are no longer working or have insurance cover that doesn’t include dental healthcare. Help them to get in touch with social security disability lawyers. Through social security disability benefits, your senior loved ones may be eligible for aid that can help them access necessary healthcare services for a happier, wholesome life. With the required resources and financial support in place, dental hygiene and wellness will no longer be an insurmountable challenge for them.
8. Ask About Baked Goods That Have Lower Sugar Content for Your Dental Health
While sugary treats can be delightful, they can also affect dental health. According to the World Health Organization, the sugars you eat interact with the plaque’s bacteria to produce acid that slowly dissolves the teeth’ enamel, creating holes or cavities in the teeth. Tooth decay leads to tooth abscesses, necessitating tooth extraction. These facts are scary, but they don’t mean you must give up baked and other confectionary goods entirely to maintain good dental hygiene and wellness.
Associates of Dentistry write that reducing the consumption of high sugar levels of baked goods will help restore your salivary pH balance and keep your teeth and gums healthy! With that in mind, consider visiting bakeries with lower sugar content options. Many modern bakeries now cater to health-conscious customers, providing treats made with natural sweeteners, alternatives like stevia, or reduced sugar recipes. So, you can still indulge in your favorite baked goods while minimizing the impact on your dental health.
9. Be Aware of How Different Products Impact Your Health
You’re exposed to various products daily, some of which can affect your dental health and overall wellness. E-cigs, or electronic cigarettes, have gained popularity as an alternative to traditional smoking. While some see it as a less harmful option, it’s essential to be aware of its potential impact on oral health.
According to BHM Oral Health, e-cigs, just like regular cigarettes, can trigger inflammation in the mouth, leading to gum disease, dry mouth, and halitosis. The temporary loss of taste may occur too. The American Heart Association also reiterates this message and says that vaping or nicotine restricts blood flow to the gums, contributing to periodontal disease.
Other products adversely affecting your dental hygiene and wellness include soft drinks, wine, sticky candies, starchy foods, certain antihistamine medications, pasta sauce, crackers, coffee, and tea. When consumed too frequently, these things will erode your teeth’ enamel and increase your chances of dental carriers. If you yield to occasional sweet treats or the e-cigs for sale sign at your local convenience store, brush your teeth properly, floss, and use mouthwash.
10. Consider What Dental Care Certain Family Members May Need While in Rehab
Dental care may not be a top priority for family members undergoing rehabilitation in drug rehab centers, halfway houses, or other facilities. However, it’s still important to consider their oral health during this time. The Center for Dental Rehabilitation states that addiction seriously affects many aspects of people’s health, particularly oral health. Addiction treatment programs concentrate exclusively on intervention approaches and rehabilitation, and they don’t usually include managing dental problems due to drug and alcohol abuse. Helping these family members get into a simple dental hygiene routine can be very helpful.
Ask the rehab center staff how they prioritize dental care for their residents. Inquire if dental checkups and treatments are part of their rehabilitation program. If not, consider arranging for dental appointments during their stay or after their rehabilitation process. There are also many charity programs out there that cater to recovering addicts’ dental healthcare needs. You can search the internet and see if any are available where you live.
11. Use the Right Dental Care Products
There are countless toothpaste brands on the supermarket aisles; how do you know the ‘right’ one? Healthline says the best toothpaste for your teeth has the ADA seal of approval, contains at least 1,000 parts per million fluorides, is not too abrasive, and should not claim to whiten teeth. Dentists also agree that electric toothbrushes do a much better job cleaning your teeth and tongue than manual ones.
Live Science explains that the rotation feature on electric brushes helps to force toothpaste into more difficult-to-reach areas and rids them of plaque that causes dental caries. If you can’t access an electric toothbrush, learn to brush manually with good techniques like circular motions, angling the brush, sweeping the brush gently over your gums, and rinse well.
Dental hygiene and wellness should be a top priority in your life. Commit to regularly meeting your dentist, utilizing modern dental technology, and encouraging good oral health habits from an early age. This way, you can ensure the well-being of yourself and your family members.
Remember to include elderly family members’ dental needs in your checklist and always be mindful of how your everyday products impact dental health. If you or a loved one is recovering from substance abuse, consider dental care intervention to help alleviate the harm caused by drugs or alcohol. It’s a day-at-a-time affair, so work on incorporating these ideas and others you find step by step.