5 Things Your Dentist Wishes You Knew
Going into a dental office can often feel like entering into an entirely new dimension. The clinical environment, the latex gloves, the whirring appliances, and medical devices all add up to an alien experience for a few. Dental hygiene is important, but it can be intimidating.
Even a simple teeth cleaning procedure can elicit a lot of questions in the minds of patients. What are those little-hooked devices? Is fluoride paste safe to swallow? Why are my gums sensitive during the cleaning process? And are x-rays harmful? (For the record, the answers to the above questions are as follows: The little-hooked devices are dental probes. Yes, you can swallow fluoride paste though it isn’t recommended. Gums can be sensitive for many reasons. And x-ray machines are perfectly safe when operated by a trained professional.)
For some, visiting a dentist cannot only elicit curiosity but anxiety as well. Arming yourself with the facts and understanding the basics of dental health and hygiene can help make a dental checkup an informative and easy experience.
Dentists love patients who know and practice good dental health routines. Remember, the more you know, and the better you take care of your teeth, the less pain and confusion you’ll face when you step into your dentist’s office.
Following are five things dentists wish their patients knew:
1. Diet is just as important as daily brushing.
Regular brushing and flossing is only half the battle. Regular dental hygiene routines help remove dental plaque, bacteria, food debris, and other damaging substances from the mouth.
What we expose our teeth too before our cleaning also matters. What you choose to put into your body through your mouth has a direct and immediate impact on your dental and oral health and lasting long-term effects that may take weeks, months, and even years to manifest.
For example, consuming sugary sodas daily can have immediate disastrous effects on your teeth. These acidic beverages erode enamel while coating your mouth with enormous amounts of bacteria-fueling sugar, which further degrades dental health. Furthermore, long-term soda consumption can contribute to diabetes, putting patients at a greater risk for periodontal disease. Diet and dental health are inextricably linked. Every dentist wishes their patients would not only prioritize good dental hygiene but healthy eating habits as well.
2. Dry mouth is a big deal.
Dry mouth, whether from disease, prescription drugs, tobacco and alcohol use, or simply genetics, is a huge obstacle to healthy teeth.
While it may not seem like a big deal, dry mouth can cause severe dental complications. Human saliva is a mineral-rich solution that both cleanses and protects teeth from acid-spewing microbes and other nasties. When saliva production is flat or lacking, your teeth become extremely susceptible to plaque, tartar, bacteria build-up, and the development of dental caries (cavities). Fortunately, a dentist can usually identify and directly treat dry mouth.
Dentists can also make helpful recommendations, such as avoiding certain foods or medicines that can help keep your teeth adequately protected and your oral microbiome in good working order.
3. Coffee, tobacco, and alcohol are terrible for teeth.
While coffee may have some redeeming qualities, the consumption of this favorite beverage and the use of tobacco and alcohol also creates problems for dentists.
Coffee is notoriously acidic and will erode enamel and stain teeth as a result of its tannin content. Unlike regular food debris, coffee stains aren’t as easily removed with a thorough brushing.
Meanwhile, tobacco and alcohol use are notable not only for being common vices but also for being risk factors for oral cancer, dry mouth, stained and eroded teeth, and a host of other dental and oral issues.
While coffee isn’t so bad in comparison to tobacco or alcohol, it will discolor your teeth. Most dentists will recommend that patients either limit the amount of coffee they consume or drink the beverage with a straw. They also prefer their patients would avoid tobacco and alcohol.
4. Dental x-rays aren’t harmful.
Technically, x-rays themselves can be dangerous to those exposed to large amounts of gamma radiation without adequate protection. However, in a clinical setting such as Willow Pass Dental Care, x-ray machines are carefully operated by trained professionals. They are typically limited to only a small area of the body, such as the mouth. Patients are provided with lead-lined protective vests which completely block any errant x-rays.
According to the American College of Radiology (AACR), the standard four bitewing x-rays typical of most dental check-up routines only expose a person to about 0.005 millisieverts of radiation. To put that in context, that’s only about as much radiation as the average person gets from the sun on any given day.
When it comes to the x-ray procedures performed as a part of a typical dental exam, there’s absolutely no need for concern under normal circumstances.
5. Bleeding gums is a real issue. Flossing is a real solution.
Many patients experience bleeding gums and gingival sensitivity during routine dental exams and regular brushing. While a little blood is easy to ignore, most dentists agree that unless you’re whaling away at your mouth with a hard-bristled toothbrush (not recommended), bleeding, no matter how insignificant, is a sign of gingivitis.
One tried, and the real solution is to start flossing regularly and correctly to remedy bleeding and dental sensitivity. Based on how patients react to professional flossing and the amount of gingival bleeding that occurs, most dentists and hygienists can get a good idea about a patient’s flossing habits. Flossing remains one of the most neglected dental hygiene habits.
Get Regular Dental Checkups
Finally, one of the best ways to maintain healthy, happy teeth is to see Dr. Reza Khazaie or one of our dentists on a regular basis for routine dental checkups. Dr. Khazaie will be able to identify best and address any signs of concern as well as provide you with the care and advice you need to maintain good dental hygiene and a beautiful smile.
Willow Pass Dental Care is regarded as one of “The Best Dentist in Concord, CA”
If you want healthy teeth and a bright energetic smile, see Dr. Reza Khazaie. Dr. Khazaie is a highly regarded Prosthodontist in Concord, CA.
Sometimes diet along with a routine dental hygiene practice aren’t always enough to guarantee the long-term health and beauty of your teeth. That is where Willow Pass Dental Care, who are the leading dentists in Concord, CA are ready to help. Contact us today at 925-326-6114 or click the button below to schedule an appointment.