When it comes to oral health, there are a lot of dental habits you know you should be doing regularly: brushing, flossing, and eating a healthy diet that is low in sugar. However, there are many dental concerns that are myths or simply not important in the eyes of dentists. Here are some unexpected tips from your dentist and some questions you may want to ask your dentist to ensure you are getting the proper care.

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A Great Smile Is A Healthy Smile

While a great smile looks aesthetically more pleasing to the eye, most dentists suggest that a healthy smile is far more important than a perfect smile. Everyone’s smile, like their fingerprint, is unique and different in its own way. Healthy gums, proper oral care and healthy teeth are far more important than alignment, discoloration and tooth gaps. When you are at your dentist’s office, do not be afraid to ask direct questions about your smile or oral health. Most dentists will not recommend cosmetic dental procedures; that is not their job. Their job is to keep your teeth and gums healthy. However, if you ask specific questions about cosmetic dental procedures, they will be happy to answer your questions directly and honestly.

Proper Alignment Is Not The Same As Perfectly Straight

Braces, Invisalign and other treatments are great for spacing out the teeth evenly and straightening out your smile, but a properly-aligned bite is much more important; these are two very distinct dental issues that are interchanged quite frequently. However, they are very different. Your dentist may refer you to an orthodontist if he or she feels you have bite-related issues that would cause problems for you down the road. If you clench or grind your teeth, have frequent headaches, experience pain in the jaw or suffer from protruding teeth, your dentist may recommend orthodontic treatment. You should ask your dentist if he or she recommends orthodontic treatment for frequent biting of the lips or cheeks. If there is an overabundance of crowding or space issues that are not causing alignment problems, but it bothers you, this is one of the important questions to ask your dentist during your next checkup.

What Are The Best Ways To Care For My Teeth At Home?

Good oral hygiene starts with brushing your teeth for two minutes at a time, twice a day. To encourage children to brush their teeth regularly, invest in a small sand timer; you can also pull one from their favorite board game. Have them flip the timer to begin brushing; they can only stop once the sand timer has run out. In addition to a twice-daily brushing, you should also floss at least once a day. There are a few extra ways you can kick your oral hygiene routine up a notch: Limit your daily consumption of sugary drinks and foods. Avoid using any form of tobacco. Limit your excessive consumption of acidic and citrus-based foods. Eat a balanced diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables. Use a daily fluoride rinse to help reduce plaque and strengthen tooth enamel.

Poking And Prodding

A trip to the dentist can sometimes cause bleeding, tooth sensitivity and gum pain. When your dentist is poking and prodding at your gums, he or she is checking for gum disease. Surprisingly, most cosmetic dental procedures require that you have healthy gums in order to receive treatment. Braces, some dental implants, bridges, partials, veneers and tooth-whitening procedures can only be performed on people with healthy gums. If your dentist is poking around and asking about your flossing habits, he or she is determining your risk for gum disease and may require your honesty in order to formulate an effective treatment plan.

Believe it or not, your dentist only wants to see you twice a year. While they may make most of their money by performing procedures and not from preventative care, they would much rather see you every six months sporting healthy gums. In between those times, you can do everything you can at home, like noted above, to keep your teeth healthy. Also, if your dentist is like 9 West Main Dental, they may have a website and blog full of information on their office and services to help keep you well informed on caring for your smile. The best way to assist in your oral care is to ask questions. If you want to know why X-rays are needed, ask your dentist. If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, dry mouth or worry about bad breath, speak candidly with your dentist and ask the appropriate questions. You do not need to feel embarrassed to ask your dentist questions about your concerns. It is a dentist’s job to keep your teeth and gums healthy, and no question is too embarrassing to ask.