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6 Things Your Dentist Really Wants You To Know

1.  They aren’t just here to drill and fill.

Human mouth before dental treatment plaque on teeth.

  • Dentists are qualified and experienced to perform important dental procedures and diagnose diseases, like mouth and throat cancers, endocrine disorders and other chronic diseases. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, approximately 35,000 Americans are diagnosed each year with oral cancer, which is a largely preventable type of cancer. Because oral cancer can spread quickly, early detection is important. An oral cancer exam done during your regular dental can identify early signs.

2.   Your dental health can affect your overall health, too.

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  • Oral health means much more than healthy teeth. Your oral health can give you clues about your overall health and sometimes problems in your mouth can affect the rest of your body.

3. Plaque can only be removed manually, by brushing and flossing. If it’s not physically removed, it will linger on your teeth forever!

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  • Plaque is the sticky, clear film of bacteria that forms on your teeth. It makes teeth “feel fuzzy” to the tongue and is most noticeable when your teeth are not brushed. Plaque develops when food is left on or in between the teeth for a period of time. If plaque isn’t removed, it will remain on your teeth and never go away. This will eventually lead to tooth decay and gum disease, which leads to tooth loss.
  • Your mouth is swarming with bacteria. Daily brushing and flossing can keep the bacteria under control, but without visiting your dentist regularly (every 6 months) it could lead to oral issues, such as gum disease or impact other health conditions you may have. Early detection and diagnosis is key.

4. Eating sugary or starchy foods feed the bacteria that eats away at your tooth enamel.

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  • When you eat or drink foods containing sugars, the bacteria in plaque produce acids that attack your tooth enamel. Over a period of time, these acids destroy your tooth enamel, resulting in tooth decay and cavities. If you are craving sweets, try to eat or drink them with your meals. Also, the faster you are able to get food off your teeth, the less likely you are to get cavities.

5. Drinking fluoridated water and using a fluoride toothpaste can reduce tooth decay by 25 percent.

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  • According to the CDC, drinking fluoridated water keeps the teeth strong and reduces tooth decay by approximately 25% in children and adults. Several comprehensive, scientific studies show that community water fluoridation is safe and effective in reducing tooth decay for people of all ages. Community water fluoridation has been shown to save money, both for families and the health care system.

6. And even if you take great care of your teeth, you still need to see your dentist EVERY 6 MONTHS.

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  • Routine visits to your dentist is just smart. Make sure you have a “dental home” or a dentist that knows you, your mouth, and your medical history. Even though you religiously brush and floss, you don’t always know what’s going on in the inside of your teeth and gums. Establish a friendly doctor-patient relationship and let them do their job – they just might see something abnormal in your mouth that you wouldn’t have recognized otherwise.