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Dental care has never been more important than it is these days, for one simple reason: sugar. There is so much of it in almost every food product you buy at your local store, and it causes a lot of damage. Cavities, plaque, and gum disease can all develop from poor dental hygiene, and it can result in a lot of pain – and enormous dental bills.

I’ve written about teeth problems before, for those of you that might remember. Check out my post on some of the biggest dental myths, or if you have infants, have a look at some of the teething product reviews. So, today, I thought I would give you some of the advice we have picked up over the years as a family. Here in the land of dragons – as you can imagine – teeth are incredibly important!

So, read on to find out more about our take on dental health – and what to look out for if you want to avoid problems.

What Happens With Bad Teeth?

We know several people that have had teeth trouble, and if you talk to them about it now, they all wish they had taken greater care over dental care. It can be a slow process, and take years for the rot to set in. But, if it does, then you face losing your teeth, life with dentures, and painful procedures for many years to come.

It all starts with plaque, which is a thin film of bacteria that forms on your teeth and needs to be taken care of every twelve hours. Plaque comes from eating sugars and starches, and it settles on the teeth and produces an acid substance. Acid – as everyone knows – has a wearing effect on whatever it touches, which in this case, is your teeth and gums. It eats away at the enamel – the protective part of each tooth – and can cause cavities, or holes.

Plaque can also turn into tartar, which can eat its way into the gums, causing gum disease. This will cause inflammation and starts the process of your gums beginning to retract from your teeth. Eventually, they will detach from the bone and maybe even fall out.

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Basic Dental Health

We’ve all been taught about basic dental hygiene since we were all children. So, it’s surprising that so many people suffer from tooth and gum problems these days. It’s all about the routine, which doesn’t take much time out of your day at all.

You should always brush your teeth for around two minutes the last thing at night and first thing in the morning. It takes around twelve hours for plaque to start working its sorcery, so make sure you get into a good habit and you will have far fewer problems. Flossing is also important, as a brush can often miss the areas in between each tooth, down by the gums.

It’s also vital to have regular checkups to make sure that your teeth are all fine and dandy. This is something that us Americans aren’t great at, to be honest. It’s interesting because there are so many running gags about British teeth looking terrible. But, the average Brit has far healthier teeth than the average US citizen. They might not look it – we spend more of our time worrying about cosmetics and whiteness, for example. But regarding dental health? The British are winning by some distance.

Toothbrushes – Which One?

There is almost every type of toothbrush you can think of these days, and everyone’s needs will be different. The main thing is to speak to your dentist about their recommendations. Don’t just go for the one they recommend – ask them why they support it. You might be better off with an electric toothbrush with a certain action, for example. Or, you could get more joy from softer bristles and a manual brush.

Find out that recommendation and you will be able to go and get another version that suits you better. There will be trial and error involved, of course. But, once you find your perfect brush, you only need to change it every six weeks or couple of months.

If you have children, it’s especially important to choose the right brush. Again, talk to your dentist about the best brushes for them to use, and find one they are comfortable with. They will usually come with a much smaller head to fit into their little mouths, and are made with a special type of filament.

Toothpaste – Which Ones?

Again, there is a lot to choose from when it comes to toothpaste. Some are great for enamel protection, some claim to whiten your teeth, and others just taste great. Your dentist will tell you if you would benefit from a more specialist past, but otherwise, just find a brand you are comfortable with. It’s the brushing more than the toothpaste that’s important.

Kids need specialized toothpaste, so find one they enjoy using. We have found that some minty toothpastes were a little spicy for the little ones at first. So, a strawberry or watermelon flavor might be a better shout. Make sure that whatever paste you use is suitable for the age range of your children. Some toothpaste has different levels of fluoride in them, and it’s important not to give them too much.

Finally, it might be a good idea to use mouthwash, too. If you use a fluoride or antibacterial wash, it can help you prevent tooth decay. It’s also great for bad breath issues, but don’t just use it to cover up nasty smells! Bad breath tends to mean that you need a checkup, as there could be something wrong with your teeth or gums.

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The Right Diet

As we mentioned in the introduction, there is so much sugar out there in all kinds of foods. It’s interesting that when archeologists dig up fossils of our ancestors, they tend to have great teeth. True, they might have been crooked, or a dark shade of brown! But, overall, they were in pretty good condition, without all the modern dental techniques and solutions. And, that is mostly down to diet.

So, avoid sugar, starches, and acidic foods as much as you can. A little won’t harm you, of course, but try and stick to having them at mealtimes. You can also try drinking lots of water after you have any sugar, and even sugar-free gum can help you keep on top of any acids in your mouth.

Of course, if you enjoy a glass of wine or two, it’s important to understand the risks. It can cut through your enamel and wear it away, which might lead to cavities, dental pain, and sensitive teeth.

Paying for Treatment

Of course, dental treatment can be expensive. It’s important, then, to have coverage – either in your general health insurance or as a separate plan. There are plenty of insurers out there that all offer different types of services for different people. Check out these discount dental plans at Carefree Dental for a good idea of what to expect. Take some time to choose an insurer that gives you what you need, and don’t forget to read the small print.

If you have to make a claim, your information may well be scrutinized to the smallest of degrees. If you fall out of your coverage – you might have to pay for it yourself. Check-ups and essential work won’t hit you in the pocket too much. But, if you ever get to the stage of needing serious work done on your teeth, you will face a major bill. Veneers, Fillings, root canals, and bridges can all cost a small fortune. And, if you don’t have the cover – it’s going to hit your finances.

The Pain Game

A lot of people we know have an inherent fear of going to the dentist. And, it can put a lot of people off. The trouble with dental problems is that they can take a long time to take hold and start causing you pain. And, by the time you end up at the dentist, it can be too late.

But, the truth is that dental procedures are a lot better these days than they used to be. The prospect of drills and sharp implements knocking around your gums and teeth isn’t pleasant; I grant you! In most cases, though, it’s an uncomfortable experience rather than an agonizing one.

So, don’t be put off by visiting your dentist as and when you need to. As I mentioned above, we know a few people who wished they had gone for a checkup much earlier in the process. Could they have saved their teeth? It’s hard to know, of course – but it certainly would have increased their chances.

OK, so there’s my guide to looking after your teeth. I hope you have enjoyed it, and, of course, make sure that you see a professional before taking any of this advice. While I have picked up a lot of great tips from dentists in the past, you can’t beat up-to-date info from a qualified pro!

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