Friday, February 27, 2015

Your Dental Checklist – Part I

If you are like me, check lists help you get to the end of each day, week, and month having accomplished all that needs to be done on the list. Checking off items on a check list has actually been shown to be psychologically beneficial in goal setting; it is cathartic to see what is done and what still remains. Check lists can be a good tool when it comes to keeping your teeth healthy as well.

How can check lists help with dental care? There are two key check lists that come to mind for dental care. The first is a list for your dental care routine. As an adult, your routine is probably well established. However, it is always a good idea to review the list to ensure that everything that needs to be included in your routine is actually there. Additionally, if you are a parent or a child caring for an aging parent, using a list for establishing or ensuring the continuation of a good dental routine can be an important tool. The second list is a check list of topics or questions for your dental visit. Being prepared [with a list made in advance] to discuss questions or concerns with your dentist is a great way to make sure you do not forget anything that needs clarification or some explanation.

For today’s topic, we will go through a check list for your dental care routine. But, be sure to stop back in to our blog for our next post, which will cover the check list for your visit to the dentist.

My Daily Dental Good Health Check List:

□ Did I brush at least twice today?
Be sure to brush twice daily, particularly after meals or eating foods that may stick to teeth. Be sure to brush two to three teeth thoroughly, and then move on to the next cluster of two to three. Don’t forget to brush your tongue, too. Brush for at least two minutes, though five is better. For small children, use a two minute timer to be sure they are spending enough time brushing away food and debris before they turn to plaque.

□ Did I store my toothbrush uncovered and standing upright?
Storing your toothbrush this way will allow bristles dry fully so they are effective for the next time you brush. Without moisture from being covered, microorganisms are less likely to grow.

□ Did I floss before brushing?
Someone once asked me if I need to floss all of their teeth. The response, Only the ones you want to keep." Flossing removes stubborn food stuck between teeth so it cannot develop into plaque that will erode your teeth It is an essential part of your routine as it may help prevent gum disease, which is associated with heart disease, stroke, lung issues and Alzheimer's disease.

□ Did I check to make sure my toothbrush is still in good shape? Have I chosen a good toothbrush?
Check your toothbrush daily to make sure bristles are still standing up straight, not pushed off to the side and unable to do their job. We recommend changing your toothbrush every six weeks to avoid bacteria build up and ensure bristles are strong. Be sure to select a toothbrush with a small head and soft bristles. The small head will help you access hard to reach places in your mouth, while soft bristles will keep you from hurting yourself by brushing too hard.

□ Did I rinse with an anti-bacterial mouthwash after brushing?
We all miss places in our mouth when brushing. Mouthwash helps rinse loosened plaque and wash away bacteria. As a bonus, your breath will be minty fresh! For children, there are kids’ flavors to get them used to using mouthwash and enjoying a favorite character on the bottle.

□ Did I make sure to eat right today?
Busy lives often result in quick food choices rather than healthy ones. There are some quick things to remember when choosing what to eat, drink and snack. Remember to drink water. It washes away food bits in your mouth and is vital to every organ of the body. Choose cheese to snack on. The calcium is important for your teeth and stimulates saliva. Fruits and vegetables really are your friends! They are fiber rich, helping stimulate saliva that keeps food moving toward the stomach and neutralizing acids that attack the teeth. Plus the sweet taste can satisfy your need for a treat with artificial sugar. Sugars contribute to tooth decay. Don't feel as though you have to give up sweet foods entirely.  Try to enjoy sweet treats in moderation and, of course, be sure to brush.

□ Did I schedule my regular dental check-up?
Seeing the dentist twice per year will enable you to catch any dental issues that may be starting, as well as get a professional teeth cleaning.  Visiting your dentist now may save you time, money and pain later. Be sure to schedule your visit.

Checking off each item daily and making sure to go for regular check-ups will help you ensure a healthy mouth, and are good for your overall health.

Remember to check back in next week for Part II for a check list to bring with you to the dentist.

Wishing you bright smiles!

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