Easy Ways To Lower Your Costs For Dental Needs

Posted on Dec 01, 2015 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

It is wise to care for our health (and the health of our loved ones) by taking proactive measures. Having annual exams and screenings can help prevent or minimize expenses for more-complex needs in the future. As a dental specialist, I see firsthand the many problems (and subsequent expenses), many that could have been avoided in the first place. Spending a few minutes each day and having 6-month exams and cleanings can save you greatly.pigbank

It’s actually easy to prevent oral problems and costs for repairs. Your regular oral hygiene visits are opportunities to remove buildup that can lead to problems. They can also catch problems that may have arisen since your last visit. Early treatment will help you minimize time and expenses needed for repairs.

Your home care regimen can help you avoid problems by keeping oral bacteria under control. You may feel that twice-daily brushing and flossing routines have minimal impact on avoiding problems. However, these steps are actually very effective in reducing oral bacteria and preventing buildup. Be sure to brush twice a day (for at least two minutes) using a soft to medium bristle brush and fluoridated tooth paste.

Flossing is another powerful way to reduce bacteria in the mouth. Even after brushing, food particles can remain between teeth. These particles literally rot over a day’s time. Oral bacteria feed on this and quickly reproduce. This is why you feel a sticky coating on teeth and gums, known as plaque. Plaque is an accumulation of oral bacteria.

Daily flossing takes only a minute or so once you are in the habit. Our hygienist can demonstrate how to comfortably hold floss and move it easily between teeth (even those hard-to-reach teeth). If preferred, an electronic flosser can be purchased to make the task easy yet effective. These are especially helpful for people with dexterity problems, such as adults with RA.

Dry mouth is a another reason for oral bacteria growth. Saliva in the mouth continually rinse oral bacteria away. When saliva levels are low, these bacteria can multiply quickly. Smoking, alcohol, caffeine, some medications and mouth breathing (such as snoring) are all drying to oral tissues. Some health conditions, including anemia, hypertension, arthritis and diabetes, also have symptoms of dry mouth.

Dry mouth can be improved by drinking plenty of water and using an over-the-counter oral rinse designed for those with dry mouth. If you are taking medications that have drying side effects, ask your doctor about alternative options.

Oral bacteria can also be reduced by using a tongue scraper. This uproots deeply-embedded bacteria in the tongue. Scrape 2 or 3 times over the tongue, starting at the back of the tongue where most bacteria exist. Scrape forward and rinse after each pass. An alternative is to brush your tongue after each tooth brushing.

To protect the tooth’s protective shell of enamel, avoid brushing right after eating. Whenever you consume food or beverages, an acid attack begins in your mouth as part of the digestive process. Unfortunately, these acids soften tooth enamel for about 30 minutes after eating. Brushing can wear away this precious enamel so wait 30 minutes after eating before you brush.

Crowning a tooth before problems begin can prevent costly future problems, including tooth loss. Missing teeth affect the alignment of neighboring teeth, increasing the risk for broken, chipped or worn teeth as well as migraines, sore jaw joints and ear ringing.

Be committed to spending wisely this year by being committed to your dental health every day. You’ll likely spend far less over time while enjoying a confident, healthy mouth and appealing smile.

If you are experiencing problems with missing teeth or have tender gums, call 828-274-9440 for an appointment.

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