As the ambassadors of our patients’ healthy smiles, we try to make as many recommendations and offer as many tips as possible to improve your oral health. However, it can be difficult to fit in all our knowledge when we tend to see most of our patients just once or twice a year. As a result, we often feel we wish we had more time to share helpful information. Since it isn’t always possible to tell each patient everything we would like them to know, here are the essential tips we offer patients at our Guelph family dentist office.
We Are Responsible for Your Oral Health, Not Just Teeth
Most Guelph patients schedule an appointment at the family dental office at least twice a year, but this visit is not just about having a cleaning, or some x-rays. We fill an important role as part of your healthcare team. Your doctor does not include oral checkups as a part of their physical examinations. Instead, that is our job.
We check your teeth for signs of dental issues, but we also look for other issues, including jaw health and function, and signs of oral cancer. We specialize in these often overlooked aspects of your health and help ensure any issues in these areas are addressed. So if you have any questions about your jaw or any concerns about your mouth, let us know, and we can examine you to help diagnose potential problems.
Oral health Starts With Proper Brushing
Most people brush their teeth without much thought. However, how you brush and the toothpaste you use makes a big impact on your oral health. For example, your toothpaste needs to come into contact with your teeth for about two minutes to make it effective but if you brush too aggressively, you can actually damage your teeth and gums. At regular checkups, we look for signs you could use some tips on brushing. We can point out areas you might be missing when you brush or show you how to brush less aggressively to avoid receding gums or erosion.
We Know When You Don’t Floss
If you only floss the night before and on the day of your dental checkup, you’re not alone. You’re also not fooling us :). We can tell by examining your teeth and gums whether or not you are flossing regularly. The truth is you’re not doing yourself any favours by trying to cover up your floss-less lifestyle! Flossing plays an important role in keeping your teeth and gums healthy. So let us show you the right technique and then help you stay committed to flossing daily.
Your Meds Could Be Affecting Your Oral Health
Dental decay can set in at any time of life. Many adults who have experienced relatively good dental health and little to no tooth decay could find these changes as they age. Often the reason for this is the medications they require as they get older. Prescription drugs such as antidepressants or blood pressure medications can cause dry mouth. Not only is this uncomfortable and causes bad breath, but it also can increase the risk of cavities. While you might not think about it when you’re here, we always ask if you are taking new medications so we can offer advice to overcome dental-related side effects.
White Teeth Don’t Mean Healthy Teeth
Some patients look at their smile in the mirror and figure that perfect alignment and brilliant white means their dental health is perfect too. Unfortunately, even the whitest and straightest teeth can be hiding issues. For example, gum disease doesn’t have an immediate effect on the appearance of your teeth. Therefore, your regular dental checkups are a must, perfect smile or not.
Pain Isn’t The Only Sign Something is Wrong
Another misconception patients have is that if they aren’t experiencing dental pain, there must not be anything wrong. However, many tooth problems don’t cause pain until they become serious. And you really don’t want to let things get that far. So even if your mouth is feeling completely pain-free and comfortable, it’s important to see us at least once a year so we can look for any dental issues that might be in their early stages.
Don’t Brush Right After Eating
Many patients proudly tell us they keep a toothbrush at work or in their purse so they can brush on the run. However, brushing immediately after a meal can be harmful. If food particles and other acids are still in your mouth after eating, you can speed up the softening of your tooth enamel by brushing. You really only need to brush twice a day, and always wait an hour before you brush after eating.
You Can Pass Bacteria From Your Mouth to Your Baby’s Mouth
It’s a common mom hack to clean a dropped pacifier with her own mouth. However, you can actually spread harmful bacteria from your mouth to your baby’s by doing this, as well as through kisses on the mouth or sharing eating utensils. The bacteria in an adult’s mouth are different from those found in a child’s mouth. Up until the age of three, you want to avoid transmitting the harmful bacteria in your mouth to your child’s mouth as tooth decay is an infectious disease.
Bring Your Baby Along For an Appointment
Parents often wait to bring their babies to see the dentist, thinking we need to see a full set of teeth first. However, since bacteria grow early, we like to see babies once their first tooth appears. If your baby doesn’t have the first tooth by the age of one, you should set up an appointment as well. By doing so, we can help prevent tooth decay, so they never have to worry about a cavity.
We Have Heard it All
Many patients don’t view their dental professionals as caregivers. As a result, you might not think we share the same patient confidentiality as your medical healthcare providers. However, everything we discuss or keep in your records is treated with the utmost respect and privacy.
So if there is something you want to ask us, no matter how personal or potentially embarrassing it might seem, just know we have heard it all and never pass judgement. But it also applies to your dental care. If you want to ask about something like cosmetic treatments, for example, but fear we will think you are vain, don’t worry at all. We are here to discuss your oral health, and that includes the appearance of your smile.