An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Keeping the dentist away is a little more complicated.
You and your family should go to Family Dentistry every six months. Your oral health is central to your overall well-being, affecting your senses and your ability to speak.
But a dentist can’t work alone. You need to be ready to ask questions, so you can take steps to maximize your dental routine.
Here are five questions to ask your family dentist.
1. “What Should I Do to Improve My Gum Health?”
Your oral health is about more than your teeth. Your gums hold your whole mouth together. Gums keep your teeth in place, and they fight against harmful bacteria that build in your mouth.
Your dentist will tell you to floss. Flossing removes plaque and food debris, which can harbor bacteria and dislodge your teeth. Flossing takes less than one minute, and children and adults alike can do it.
Ask your dentist to inspect your gums for bleeding and pocket depths. Bleeding and misshapen gums always signify a gum disease. If you have these symptoms, follow-up with your dentist about your next steps, such as gum grafting.
Ask your dentist about any additional measures you can take. Consider using mouthwash or toothpaste with fluoride in it.
You can also ask your dentist about your tongue, cheeks, and throat. But try to prioritize your gums. Take notes of anything that your dentist tells you.
2. “How Can I Improve My Brushing Techniques?”
You should brush your teeth twice a day, for two minutes each time. But some people don’t brush correctly.
Describe to your dentist how you brush your teeth. Demonstrate to them if you can. Then ask them how you can improve your techniques.
In general, the proper technique is to move the brush back and forth across the teeth. You want to brush the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces of each tooth. Most people who follow this technique will have no problems with their oral health.
But every mouth is different. Some people may find it hard to hold a toothbrush, especially at a forty-five-degree angle.
Talk to your dentist about strategies to hold and angle a toothbrush. Talk to them about reaching back teeth and scrubbing gums.
3. “Do You Have Any Recommendations for My Diet?”
What you eat and drink impacts your teeth as much as how you brush. Try to avoid foods like popcorn that get stuck in between teeth. Chew with your front teeth rather than your back teeth.
But you should also consider food groups. Sugar feeds plaque, and plaque causes tooth decay. Limit your consumption of refined sugar.
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Tissues in the mouth can resist infection a lot easier when they have proper nutrients. Hard and leafy vegetables also clean teeth just like toothbrushes.
Drink water to remineralize your teeth and gums. You can drink fluoridated water or milk for added nutrients. Avoid soda and other sugary beverages.
Talk to your dentist about specific suggestions. They can take into account your ability to chew and swallow hard foods. They can also recommend specific recipes for you to try out.
To maximize their advice, talk to your doctor in addition to your dentist. But nearly all doctors recommend a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables. This is exactly the diet you need to improve your oral health.
4. “What Should I Talk to My Kids About?”
Children aren’t exactly known for their expertise in health. Very few kids want to brush their teeth, and even fewer want to eat their vegetables.
Talk to your dentist about how your kids can improve their health. They may need to floss, brush, and/or eat better. Then ask your dentist about how you should talk to your kids.
If your kids are young enough, you can read them picture books about brushing their teeth. Brush in front of them, so they can see proper techniques. Create a reward chart to track their progress, adding stickers when they brush their teeth.
If you have older children, give them information about the dangers of poor oral health. Talk to them about scheduling appointments so they have no conflicts. Let them pick out their own toothpaste and toothbrush, provided your dentist approves.
5. “Is There Anything I Should Tell My Doctor?”
Oral health is often a window into overall health. Though oral health doesn’t usually impact other parts of the body, diseases can show signs in your teeth and gums.
Doctors have noticed that diabetes often causes gum disease. Lesions in the mouth may be a sign of HIV/AIDS. Tooth loss and decay can be a sign of osteoporosis, especially in older adults.
Ask your dentist about anything that concerns them. Then ask them about what that particular symptom could mean. Gum disease can be a sign of diabetes, but it isn’t always.
If your dentist asks you to tell something to your doctor, don’t wait. Schedule an appointment with your physician as soon as possible. You can ask your dentist to call your doctor about something they noticed.
Family Dentistry That Fits Your Needs
A smile is worth a thousand words. But you need good oral hygiene to have a smile worth writing about. Learn about Family Dentistry, and figure out a few questions to ask your dentist.
Consider what you can do to improve your gum health. You may need to floss better, or you may need to eat better.
Ask about your children’s health, and how you can talk to them about oral hygiene. Then ask if there is anything you should talk to your doctor about.
Find modern family dentistry that fits your needs. Fermelia Dental has been providing quality care to Lakewood residents since 1991. Contact us today, or call us at 303-987-2121.