Family Brushing Teeth

How To Take Better Care Of Your Teeth In The Middle Of A Pandemic 

Dentists were thought to be some of the most high-risk workers for contracting Covid-19 when this pandemic began due to the nature of their work and constant exposure to individuals mouths/germs, however, studies have shown in the US less than 1% of dentists have tested positive for the coronavirus since June. 

According to Professor Damien Walmsley, a scientific adviser to the British Dental Association, dentists have always had to have a strict and rigorous sterilizing routine due to the intimacy of their occupation, so if anything they were more than prepared to continue working as this pandemic progressed. 

For many, however, regardless of how safe it may be, it’s just easier to wait for the pandemic to be over before going and having a doctor up close and personal with your mouth. If you’re an individual who isn’t comfortable going to get their annual cleaning due to the pandemic, there’s still plenty you can do for your oral health at home to maintain proper hygiene and teeth care. 

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According to Walmsley, “the majority of dental problems are preventable” if you stick to a good routine. Brushing your teeth in the morning and at night for two minutes each time is generally enough to prevent things like gum disease, plaque build up, tooth decay, and more. However, on average people only brush their teeth for 43 seconds both times, which is not nearly enough. 

“Four minutes a day is not a lot to ask,” says Dr Nigel Carter, the chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation. Carter recommends using a toothpaste with fluoride, regardless of the brand, as it works to slow down the progression of tooth decay and prevent it in the future. He also thinks that all the “natural” toothpastes that are appearing on the market aren’t as effective in actually cleaning your teeth and mouth. 

Wamsley claims that what you brush with (electric or manual) doesn’t matter either, as long as you’re actually brushing for two minutes both times. It’s recommended that everyone should also replace their toothbrush every three months, but unfortunately many people forget to do this. The same way you need to replace a loofah in the shower, or razorhead when you shave you need to update your toothbrushes. 

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Beyond just brushing it’s recommended that everyone flosses regularly. This is obviously easier said than done for many of us, however, alternatives like water pik devices and smaller hand-held flossers make it easy to thoroughly clean the spaces between our teeth. Nyree Whitley, a group clinical director for the dental care provider mydentist, recently spoke with the media about other things we can do from home to promote proper oral hygiene. 

“Being conscious of what you’re eating and when is also vital for a healthy mouth.”

Whitley recommends limiting alcohol and sugar intake, as it can really break down the enamel. Additionally, she says if your gums start bleeding after brushing and flossing more vigorously, don’t be scared or put off. “It’s not an indication you’re brushing too hard: it probably means you haven’t been brushing well enough. The bleeding indicates some level of gum disease, and will probably stop as your gums become healthier.”

As we all continue to wait out the rest of this pandemic, it’s important that we take care of ourselves in all aspects of life. Continue to brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes a day so that when this is finally all over you won’t get those judgemental glares from your dentist.

Dental Care

The Best Foods For Your Dental Health

One of the only silver linings of the Covid-19 pandemic is that more people are putting an intense focus on their personal health and hygiene. According to the nation’s dentists, more and more people are visiting their oral healthcare providers and asking specific questions as to ways they can best protect their teeth and oral health in general. The basic rules still apply, brush twice a day, floss regularly, and using fluoride-based products is always good for promoting enamel health. 

Many individuals have also used quarantine as an excuse to expand their cooking ability and dietary knowledge. So what foods should you be looking out for that are not only healthy for you, but your oral health/hygiene as well? 

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Leafy Green Vegetables: Leafy greens are self explanatory in terms of what they are. Things like romaine lettuce, kale, parsley, etc. all provide your body with prebiotics. Healthy oral bacteria that already live in our mouths feed on these prebiotics and are thus better able to protect our teeth. 

Citrus Fruits: Oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and all other citrus fruits have a complex relationship with oral hygiene. The acidity of citrus fruits is bad for our enamel/can weaken our teeth, however, as long as you’re eating these products in moderation, they all can actually help benefit your oral health. Oranges and grapefruits, for example, are full of Vitamin C which directly helps strengthen the blood vessels in your mouth. This can reduce gum inflammation while also reducing your risk of gum disease. 

Fatty Fish: Fish is one of the more unexpected items on this list, however, fatty and oily fish are rich in Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. Both of these things also work to support gum health, and omega-3 specifically works to reduce sensitivity in our gums which can cause bleeding while we brush or floss. 

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Milk: Milk along with most other dairy products, such as cheese or butter, may not be the best for our bodies health in general in excess, however, dairy products contain Vitamin K2, which is a nutrient that specifically strengthens your teeth. 

Green or Black Tea: Both of these types of tea in their plain form contain polyphenols. Polyphenols are important if you’re someone who has/does suffer from plaque, as they work to hold back the bacteria that builds plaque from spreading while also destroying it. Polyphenols will also combat any acidity that’s present within your mouth, and depending on what water you use to make the tea, it also can be a great source of fluoride. 

You want to focus on finding foods that are rich in calcium, Vitamin D, and magnesium specifically, as all three of these elements are not only building blocks to our teeth, but continuously help them get stronger and healthier. 

While all of these products are general enough to implement into our everyday meals, it’s important to remember the foods that can also reverse all the strengthening effects these food products have. Obviously processed foods and sugary candies/beverages are not great for our teeth. Sugar in general erodes the tooth’s surface and can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and all sorts of other dental issues. 

Continue to practice proper oral hygiene while eating these foods and your next trip to the dentist will surely be a quick one. 

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The Annual Doctor Visits You Need To Stop Avoiding

If you find yourself in the privileged position of being young, healthy, and fully able-bodied, then it’s easy to take advantage of how well you have it to the point where you can’t even remember the last time you went to get a standard physical exam. The fact is, as we grow older, it’s easier for us to mentally push off going to the doctor for our annual check-ups because we find ourselves so busy with the real world. 

This can become an issue because we end up only ever going back to the doctor when we deem it extremely necessary, like when we have a severe fever. Pushing off standard exams decreases the chances of catching more serious medical ailments that you might not even know you have as well. How many horror stories have we seen where an individual would have received a better diagnosis had they not pushed off going to the doctor. 

Life can get extremely busy as we grow older, so it’s understandable that going to the doctors just for a physical would be relatively low on your list of priorities, however, it should be the opposite. To make the process easier, try to set a fixed time of year that you can make all of your appointments for to get them all out of the way. Many chose to get their annual check-ups at the beginning of the year, as that’s when newer insurance policies also tend to go into effect.  

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So what appointments should you be making to ensure that you remain completely happy and healthy with the new year? As mentioned, it’s extremely important to stick to getting an annual physical exam from your primary care physician (the doctor you would go to when you’re feeling sick). 

“Typically, these appointments will simply involve your doctor checking your vitals, including your heart rate, cholesterol, blood pressure, and weight to make sure everything looks good and normal. During these appointments, your primary care physician can assist in creating health goals with you, which your doctor will check on at the next annual appointment. These examinations are usually quick and painless, and almost always covered by insurance,” wrote Mackenzie Dunn, a lifestyle content creator.

Next, you’ll need an oral exam from the dentist, which is normally followed by a cleaning. Brushing your teeth twice a day accompanied by flossing is the standard for oral health, however, getting a real cleaning and exam from your dentist ensures that your teeth and gums are as healthy as they can be. 

The American Dental Association recommends you get a cleaning twice a year, or every six months. Oral exams and cleanings will ensure that you don’t show any signs of cavities, gum disease, or dental decay, and if you are showing signs, your dentist will be able to provide the best course of treatment for returning your oral health back to what it should be. 

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Next you’ll need a dermatologist appointment. Typically, people think you should only go to the dermatologist if you suffer from acne or any other skin irritations/abnormalities, however, this could not be further from the truth. One in five people develop skin cancer at some point during their life, even if you have the clearest skin out of everyone you know, you never know what beauty mark or mole could have the potential to grow into something much more serious. Luckily, melanoma can be one of the most treatable forms of cancer, when it’s caught early; hence the emphasis on getting an annual exam! 

Finally, if you’re biologically female, it’s extremely important that you visit the OB-GYN at least once a year for an annual pelvic exam and pap smear, especially if you’re 21 or older and/or sexually active. These exams ensure that your reproductive health is normal, and like any other exam that everything is functioning the way it should be. 

“At this visit, you can expect to have a breast exam and a pelvic exam. Your doctor will check for any lumps or abnormalities in your breasts and examine your reproductive organs both internally and externally, but the entire process lasts about 10 minutes and is fairly painless,” says Dr. Taraneh Nazem, a reproductive endocrinologist at Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York. 

While these exams can often seem like an annoying obligation, it doesn’t excuse avoiding them for the sake of laziness. Your health is a privilege and one that should not be taken advantage of, so do what’s best for you and your body and take all the sick days you need to get them all done. When you’re much older and able to witness the birth of your great-grandchild, it will surely be worth it.