Brush Up Your Oral Health

Looking to improve your oral health? Start by testing your knowledge! Here are 9 important facts related to matters of the mouth. How many do you know? 

Tooth decay is the No. 1 chronic childhood disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that tooth decay affects more than one-fourth of U.S. children ages 2 to 5, and half of those ages 12 to 15 – despite the fact that decay is largely preventable with good care.

Dental checkups are about more than teeth. During your routine visit, your dentist can uncover important clues about your overall health too, such as symptoms of diabetes, osteoporosis, low bone mass, oral cancer, nutritional deficiencies, and more. 

There are ways to manage fear. Researchers believe that millions of Americans avoid the dentist every year due to fear and/or phobias. If fear is keeping you from proper dental care, don’t be afraid to let your dentist know. He or she can offer you solutions to sooth your anxiety, such as sedation or entertainment options. 

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Oral health is linked to heart health. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, people with gum disease are two times more likely to suffer from coronary artery disease (CAD). While there is no conclusive evidence that preventing gum disease can prevent CAD, experts say that the mouth can be a good warning signpost. 

You probably don’t brush long enough. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, most people only brush one-third of the suggested time. The average person spends 45 to 70 seconds brushing rather than the recommended 2 to 3 minutes. 

*Tip: Divide your mouth into four sections and spend 30 seconds on each.

Mouthwash can help. While it’s no substitute for brushing or flossing, rinsing your mouth with mouthwash for just 30 seconds can help remove debris. Look for a product with the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal. 

Good care saves money. Preventive dental care will keep minor problems from turning into major issues. Studies show that for every dollar spent on preventive care, you can save between $4 and $50 in restorative care.

Bad breath starts with bacteria. Bacteria on the tongue and below the gum line emit the same compound that gives rotten eggs their characteristic smell (hydrogen sulfide). The solution? Long-term good oral hygiene habits.  

Flossing is key. The majority of gum disease begins between the teeth, and flossing is the only effective way to reach those areas. In fact, if you don’t floss, you miss cleaning 40% of your tooth surfaces.