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It’s often much easier to prevent something bad from happening than it is to pick up the pieces and find solutions once problems present themselves. This is especially true when it comes to your health.

You’re probably familiar with the phrases “early stages” and “early detection.” The only way to ensure that “early” is part of the equation is through proper care and prevention, and nowhere is this truer than in the field of dental care.

The truth is that many common dental procedures ? implants, crowns, bridges, root canals, and getting fitted for dentures ? can be avoided by practicing proper oral care and visiting your dentist regularly for cleanings and other preventative measures. And while this is in no way an enjoyable experience, it certainly beats the alternatives.

Ensure the Longevity of Your Teeth

You only get one chance at this, because once your teeth are gone, they’re gone for good. A hundred years ago, before the incredible rise in life expectancies, perhaps oral health wasn’t as big of an issue. Today, if you start losing your teeth when you’re 40 or 50 years old, you still have a lot of life left to live and a lot of food left to chew.

Like most things in life, there are several best practices for ensuring the longevity of your teeth and gums — and make no mistake, it begins with gum health.

Brush the Right Way

It’s a bit misleading to call this activity “brushing your teeth” since if your focus is solely on your teeth, you’re doing it wrong. Don’t forget to focus on the area where your teeth and gums meet. It also helps to position the brush at a 45-degree angle to your gumline.

Gingivitis is a common disease that originates in your gums. Brushing that area properly can help you to avoid this painful experience, as well as the pain the dentist may inflict in fixing it. Also, don’t forget that the development of periodontal pockets can lead to periodontal disease and tooth loss, and keeping those areas cleaned will go a long way to preventing both. If you suspect that you may have gingivitis, here are four homemade gingivitis remedies to consider.

When brushing, don’t forget the chewing surfaces of your teeth along with the inner surfaces. Also, the American Dental Association suggests using short, gentle strokes both horizontally and vertically.

The Importance of Diet

If using diet to prevent and treat disease is good enough for Hippocrates, it’s likely a sound philosophy that we all should adopt. This is especially true when it comes to beverages.

Go into any convenience or grocery store and you’ll find hundreds of sugary drinks, all of which are terrible for your teeth, and this includes those fake sugars in diet sodas. However, it’s also the acid in these beverages that can cause damage, and sadly, this includes coffee. If you’re wondering about those yellow stains on your teeth, coffee, teas, and soda are likely the culprits.

Oral health is much more important than most people think, as those individuals with good oral health have much better odds of greater overall health, and much of this has to do with bacteria. Getting more fermented foods into your diet, along with a high-quality probiotic, will aid in making sure you get an optimal bacterial balance.

Poor oral health can lead to:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Celiac disease
  • Diabetes
  • Sinus infection
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Irritable bowel disease
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Alcoholism
  • And more

There are also common nutrient deficiencies that can impact oral health:

  • Protein
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorous
  • Zinc
  • Antioxidants
  • Folate
  • Iron
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Vitamin D
  • B vitamins

More Frequent Visits to Your Dentist

No one enjoys going to the dentist. But there is far greater risk in not going than going — heck, there are arguably more risks to dentists than to patients. Regardless, it’s much easier to go to the dentist when you’re only going in for a cleaning and checkup as opposed to periodontal surgery. Remember, the word of the day is “preventable,” and a big part of that relies on regular checkups.

How often is often enough? Ideally, you want to see your dentist at least once every six months. Cleanings are important, but so are oral cancer screenings, early detection for periodontal disease, and fluoride treatments. Your dentist can’t spot a problem if you don’t go see him or her.

You’ve probably heard of individuals who detected their cancer during the early stages, which gave them a much greater chance of recovery. The same is true for any and every oral condition or disease that may arise. However, if you notice a problem yourself, or if you’re experiencing tooth pain or discomfort, don’t delay or wait till that six-month mark. Get to the dentist right away.

There are a lot of things that could contribute to tooth pain, like grinding your teeth or receding gums — and guess what? Both of those are preventable. Remember that being proactive when it comes to your dental health is the key to proper prevention. It’s also the key to preventing real pain and discomfort down the road.

Proper oral care is essential when it comes to avoiding some of the most common dental procedures and conditions, and this includes your own diligence, especially in the areas of brushing and diet. For everything else, see your dentist regularly. They are, after all, the experts in handling such matters.

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