When it comes to our teeth, healthy habits are crucial for a healthy life. Things like brushing, flossing, and regularly getting check-ups are critical for maintaining our dental health. Even our diets and eating habits can make a big difference in how healthy our mouths are.
Often, these things are easier said than done. It can be challenging amidst our busy lives to find time for a dentist appointment. About half of us manage to visit the dentist every six months, but really, all of us should.
This can get even more complicated when children are involved. Instilling good habits in children will pay off for their entire lives, but that is a tall task to complete. Children can fear the dentist and hate things as simple as a nightly brushing. Still, they will need to learn these habits early on to maintain their dental health throughout their lives.
In order to keep yourself and your whole family healthy, here are eight dental health tips you can try to live by.
1. Find a Dentist Near You
We all know that going to the dentist regularly is of the utmost importance. Routine checkups and cleanings are the best way to detect problems early and make sure they don’t turn into larger issues.
Many of us struggle to find time for the dentist amid our busy lives, though. That’s why finding a practitioner near you is so important. It isn’t enough just to think about their proximity to your home, either. Perhaps a dentist near your workplace would end up being more convenient so you could get a check-up during a lunch break.
Whatever the case may be, it is important to look up offices near you who are accepting new patients. Finding the right dentist will yield long term benefits. You can ask for dental health tips and get comfortable with seeing the same dentist routinely.
It isn’t just about proximity though. You should also investigate the types of services they offer and what their specialties may be. Some dental offices are able to offer more options if they invest in a business merger but local options are great too. We might think of dentistry as one all-encompassing field, but there are actually a lot of different branches and specialties a doctor might have studied. Find the right doctor for you by thoroughly investigating not just their location but also the doctors themselves.
If you have children, finding the right dentist gets even more complicated. You might want a dentist near their school rather than near your home or office. Try imagining how your ideal appointment would go. Could you pick them up from school and hop right over to the appointment? If that is the best scenario for you, then searching near the school may yield the best results.
Whatever the case may be, it’s important to find the right dentist so you can be consistent about appointments and cleanings. This will keep you and your family healthy in the long run.
2. Look for Kid-Friendly Dentists
Speaking of children, while you are searching for dentists, look into what policies, if any, they have about children. Some dentists specialize in treating children; others focus only on adults.
Children and adults need very different sorts of dental care. A dentist focused on children may be able to provide dental health tips specific to children, for example. Their teeth are going to fall out to be replaced by adult teeth so they will have different needs in terms of care.
The office itself may also be set up better or worse for children and families. Some dentist offices are clearly set up only for adults, with just chairs and some magazines in the waiting room. This can be a tough place to wait if you have young children with lots of fidgety energy.
Some dentist offices think about this, however, even offering things like toddler care and play areas. These things can make a visit to the dentist much more manageable and pleasant.
3. Do Your Best with Food at Home
Food plays a huge role in our dental health. Think about what you are eating at home and whether it might be harmful to your dental health.
For example, things like potato chips, alcohol, carbonated drinks, sour candies, and dried fruit can actually be harmful to your teeth. Even things that don’t seem harmful might be, including bread, coffee or tea, and even just plain old ice cubes. All of these things are fine to eat in some amount, but in large quantities, they can be harmful.
However, there are many foods that can promote your dental health. Some of these might be a little surprising, even.
While tea can be harmful, black and green teas can actually help kill bacteria, keeping your teeth healthier. You might not expect gum to make this list either, but sugarless chewing gum can help remove particles from your mouth.
If you are looking for dental health tips about what to eat, think about foods that are generally healthy. Fiber-rich foods and vegetables are great for your teeth, as are things like cheese, milk, yogurt, and other dairy products. These can all help keep your mouth healthy.
You might find it strange to see a list of food among dental health tips, but what we eat is actually just as important as things like brushing and flossing. Our diets can have a huge impact on the overall health of our teeth. Constantly eating sugary, sticky, crunchy things can’t be undone just by brushing a lot. Those kinds of foods really can harm your teeth over the long term, so try to consume them in moderation if you can.
4. Figure Out What They’re Eating When They’re Not at Home
But you and your children won’t only be eating home-cooked meals. You also have to think about what you eat at work, at school and elsewhere.
If you have children in preschool, you might have a little more control over their dental health. You can pack a lunch that adheres to some of the dental health tips mentioned above. However, if your child is buying their lunch at school, you should look up the school’s menu to find out exactly what they’re eating. You might notice an unhealthy pattern among those school lunches.
If you work in an office, you will probably eat healthier by packing your own lunch each day. Eating out every day likely means you’ll eat a lot of foods high in sodium and sugar, which aren’t as great for your teeth.
If you have a child in a day care facility it can be even tougher to stick to dental health tips. Unlike a school, they probably won’t have a menu you can easily look up online. You should feel empowered to ask about meals and snacks, however. That is information you are entitled to as a parent.
You may also be able to specify that you want to provide your own snacks for your child. This will allow you to ensure their snacks are healthy and consistent.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Shop Around for a Dentist
While thinking about dental health tips and cleanings and regular appointments, let yourself be choosing. You don’t have to go with the first dentist you find.
You can absolutely shop around for your dentist to find the right fit. Maybe you want someone who is willing to give you detailed dental health tips. Maybe you want someone who is quick. Maybe child care is the top priority for your family.
Whatever the case may be, you should feel like you can shop around for the right dentist. You don’t have to go with the closest practitioner you find.
While conducting your search, you will also need to look into the insurance your dentist accepts. Not all dental coverage covers all dentists. Figure out if your insurance will cover the costs of your check-ups before you commit to anything, as this can be a financial strain for your family.
Some coverage will limit the number of visits you can have or the kinds of procedures you can get. There may also be differences between adults and children, so look into the fine print before making a commitment.
6. Yes, Flossing Is that Important
No matter who your dentist is, they will probably all have the same basic dental health tips for you. Among the most important is flossing.
We don’t like hearing it, but flossing really is that important. It can be the difference between a healthy smile and long-lasting good dental health, and issues that require painful procedures and a lot of dental work.
A good dental practice will tell you that you need to be flossing regularly. Brushing only cleans the surface of your teeth, but that is not the only place where bacteria builds up. In fact, the spaces between your teeth are great breeding grounds for bacteria.
This is why flossing is one of the top dental health tips. It dislodges that bacteria so it can’t build up and cause health issues. People who don’t floss are more likely to experience buildups of plaque, which can result in cavities, decaying teeth, and gum disease.
These health concerns don’t stay just in your mouth. Gum disease can even have ripple effects like heart disease and diabetes. It is extremely important to keep your mouth healthy not just for the sake of your teeth, but for your entire body.
If you can, instill the habit of flossing each night. Flossing at least once a day is recommended. If you can teach this habit early on to your children, they may not even think of it as a hassle, just a chore they must do each day.
7. Find Out What Your Dental Insurance Covers
We mentioned this above, but while you are researching dental health and dental health tips, it is extremely important to also think about your insurance coverage.
Insurance is different when it comes to dental health. Not all insurance covers dentistry. You might need to invest in personal insurance if you find the insurance coverage you get from an employer has a gap in coverage when it comes to dental health.
You might also find there are some limitations on the types of coverage you get when it comes to dentistry. You might only be covered for a certain amount of visits per year. Procedures may only be covered up to a certain percentage of the total costs.
It is important to have this information upfront so you can prepare your budget. Dental health can be a sudden and high expense. You don’t want to get surprised by a massive bill because you weren’t aware of just what your insurance would cover.
If you are having trouble figuring out what your insurance will cover, try contacting insurance agents for your healthcare insurance provider. They should be able to help you sort out exactly what is and is not covered when it comes to your dental health.
8. Develop Good Habits
However you go about your dental health, it’s important that you develop good habits. When it comes to finding a dentist, figuring out insurance, flossing, brushing and eating, the bottom line is that you need health habits in order to have a healthy smile.
Out of all of these dental health tips, this might actually be the most important one. It doesn’t matter if you brush really well one time or floss perfectly one day. These need to be consistent habits that are simply part of your routine. That is the single best way to keep your mouth healthy.
You can of course ask your dentist or dental clinic for tips and advice about how to develop good habits in your life. Some people find lists helpful. Others like to use calendars.
These days, there are a lot of habit-tracking apps you could use in order to motivate yourself to have consistent good habits. You could even make it into a game with the rest of your family, seeing who can maintain the longest good habit streak when it comes to things like brushing and flossing.
The reward will be healthy teeth and a happy mouth for years to come.