Most people know that regular medical and dental check-ups are important. But most of us don’t realize that the health of our mouth is important not only for our oral health, but for our overall health as well. The mouth is a window to the rest of the body. That’s why maintaining good oral health is one of the smartest things you can do for your body!
While I’m pretty confident that most of you already know the following tips about dental hygiene, here are a few reminders of how to keep your window nice and clean:
• Brush at least twice a day with a fluoride-containing toothpaste
• Floss at least once a day
• Rinse with an antibacterial (according to the American Dental Association, this can reduce bacteria that cause plaque and gum disease.)
• Visit your dentist on a regular schedule for cleaning and an oral exam
If you have a hard time brushing and flossing due to arthritis or any other concern, here are a few things I have suggested to some of my patients:
• Try a battery powered toothbrush if you don’t feel strong enough.
• Get a toothbrush with a larger handle, so it’s easier to grip.
• Try a dental floss aid or alternative
• Ask your dentist for other suggestions
However, even with you doing your part, age, illnesses, medications, and genetics
may still contribute to tooth loss. Research has proven that the loss of teeth is directly related to a decrease in nutrition as well as overall health.
While teeth loss may be unavoidable, here is what your dentist can do to replace lost teeth and to help keep the rest of your body functioning well:
• Crown & Bridge Restoration: If you’re missing only a few teeth, this is a procedure using the remaining teeth to create a functional chewing surface. This may be cost prohibitive if more than a few teeth are missing and you are on a fixed income.
• Implants: This is a surgical procedure that permanently replaces missing teeth. This is most like your natural teeth; however, it is the most expensive option.
• Partials or Full Dentures: If you are missing several teeth, the most widely used tooth replacement is a partial or full denture to bring back chewing function. It is very important if you choose this option to make sure you work closely with your dentist to get a solid fit. Expect several visits for adjustments.
• Denture Retaining Implants: This is the use of only a few implants to secure dentures to allow the use of dentures to be more natural and effective for chewing a wide variety of food to support good nutrition.
Talk to your dentist about all of these options to find what may work best for you to restore optimum oral and overall health! (Most dental offices offer payment options to secure the clinical care you need to maintain good oral health with minimal financial hardship).