We have chosen to temporarily close our office for the protection of our patients, staff, and community. We will offer emergency care as needed, but want our patients to prevent problems in the meantime. At Kuhn Dental Associates, we want to help our patients keep their teeth as healthy as possible until the threat of COVID-19 is over. Right now is the time to take responsibility for personal health from oral hygiene, diet and exercise and self-help. Learn how you can maintain a healthy smile on your own.
Start the “Dental Diet”
Preventing tooth decay is one of the best places to start for maintaining good oral health. It’s important to understand how tooth decay happens in the first place so you can avoid it. When food debris is left behind on the teeth, it feeds bacteria which then produces powerful acids that eat away the enamel and reach the dentin. If the bacteria reach the tooth’s nerve, it can enter the circulatory system and make its way around your entire body. An infected tooth also often comes with mild or acute pain.
To prevent tooth decay from occurring in the first place, you should brush your teeth with an electric toothbrush for two minutes per day after you eat anything. Since a toothbrush can’t reach between your teeth (40% of a tooth’s surface), it’s also important that you floss every time you eat to reach these areas.
Brushing and flossing after every meal are known as the “Dental Diet” because it’s common for people to lose weight keeping up with this routine. It’s simply because they stop snacking. After all, they don’t want to clean their teeth.
Preventing Gum Disease
Gum disease occurs in the gums, not the teeth. The bacteria that causes gum disease are different bacteria than the bacteria that cause tooth decay. This type of bacteria also feeds on leftover food that remains on the teeth gums. It begins as gingivitis, infecting only the gums and then progresses into the bone in the jaw, eating away the bone. Once the bacteria enter the bone, they can travel through your entire body through the circulatory system too. When infections can move about your entire body, it wreaks havoc on your immune system that is very important right now.
Simply put, clean gums don’t get infections. When gums are healthy, they grow into the roots of teeth and seal away bacteria from invading. You can keep your gums healthy by following the “Dental Diet” mentioned above. If your gums bleed when brushing or flossing, it’s likely you already have gum disease. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do right now from your home. If you notice certain areas of your mouth that bleed, you can at the very least try to clean that area much better with your toothbrush or floss. When life resumes back to normal, we will provide you with a gum disease treatment in our office.
Avoiding Clenching and Biting
The last way you can protect your teeth during this time is by avoiding clenching and grinding. It’s common to clench your teeth when you’re feeling stressed (especially at a time like now), however, clenching your teeth can cause TMJ and harm your teeth. If you notice yourself clenching or grinding, stop yourself from doing it. If you’re prone to doing it at night, an over the counter night guard can protect your teeth in the meantime.
The bottom line: you need to take responsibility for your oral health right now. Keeping you and your family’s teeth perfectly clean can save you from cavities and gum disease and other problems we cannot address right now. If you do happen to have a dental emergency, please do not hesitate to contact our Aberdeen dental office by calling (910) 692-4450 today.