Taking good care of yourself encompasses many facets, including properly caring for your teeth. In addition to researching individual dental plans Utah has to offer (if you don't already have dental insurance), you need to be doing a number of things if you want to be someone a dentist would be proud of. Here are five dental hygiene tips and tricks that you should incorporate into your oral hygiene routine:
- Learn the proper brushing technique (and change your toothbrush often). When brushing your teeth--which you should be doing at least twice a day--hold the bristles at a 45-degree angle near the gum line. Use short back-and-forth gentle strokes to clean the surfaces of your teeth. Make sure you're using a soft-bristle toothbrush, as anything harsher can cause receding gum lines. Also be sure to change your toothbrush every few months. The cleanliness of your toothbrush affects the cleanliness of your teeth.
- Don't drink as much soda, coffee, or alcohol. Think about it: all of these beverages contain ingredients that can not only stain your teeth, but they also contain sugar, which is the main culprit for causing tooth decay and gum disease. If you don't want stained, rotting teeth, simply stay away from these drinks. If you also don't want to completely give up your favorite beverage, at least limit your intake of it. Your teeth, and your overall health, will thank you in the long run.
- Use a mouthwash. In addition to (and definitely not in place of) brushing and flossing, rinsing with a mouthwash once a day can help kill the bacteria in your mouth and get rid of bad breath. Make sure you get a mouthwash that has Listerine or chlorine dioxide, because it's these ingredients that help annihilate that pesky bacteria.
- Scrape and brush your tongue. Many toothbrushes nowadays have a ridged scraper on the back of the brush. If you've always wondered what that was meant for, now you know. It should be used to scrape off your tongue. Your tongue has as much bacteria on it as your teeth, so it's important to not skip this step. If you don't have a scraper, just brush your tongue extra hard. Not only will it get rid of bacteria, but it will also leave your breath fresher.
- Visit your dentist every six months. Routine dental visits are an absolute must, which is why it's so important you have good dental insurance. Every six months, most dental insurance will cover getting your teeth cleaned and a thorough checkup at the dentist. Without these routine visits, you won't be getting the plaque and tartar off your teeth that brushing and flossing alone can't get. Plus, you may have some lurking almost-cavities you don't know about. Untreated cavities can lead to serious problems.
What to expect from routine dental visits
If you've never been to the dentist for a routine checkup and cleaning, or if you've never had affordable dental insurance that's allowed you to go, you may not know what to expect at your first visit. Knowing what to expect will not only help calm your nerves if you're a little anxious, but it will also help you to know what should be happening and what a good dentist does. The following points outline five key steps that you should expect to happen while at a routine dental visit:
- X-rays will be taken of your entire mouth (if it's your first visit in a while). These x-rays will help the dentist see the roots of the teeth and help him or her see whether there are any underlying problems not visible by simply looking in your mouth. X-rays are critical for making sure your teeth are truly healthy and positioned correctly.
- The hygienist will examine your mouth and look for surface problems. In addition to looking for cavities visible on the tooth surface, the hygienist will look for signs of gum recession--areas where the gum line and the top of the tooth should be meeting, but aren't, because there's a space there. If you have sensitive spots in certain tooth areas, chances are you have receding gum lines. It's not a problem that's easily fixed, which is why prevention in key.
- A thorough tooth cleaning comes next. a) The hygienist will use a special tool to remove hardened plaque and tartar. You'll hear scraping, and it might be a little bit uncomfortable at certain moments, but that's a good sign, because it means he or she is getting all that dangerous bacteria off. b) Flossing thoroughly between each tooth is the next step. If you've never known what an expertflossing has felt like, you're about to find out. It's necessary for the hygienist to floss for the obvious reasons, but also because during the scraping process, some of the plaque and tartar may have fallen in between your teeth. c) Polishing is next. You'll hear the hygienist starting up a high-powered electric brush. He or she will put some special gritty-feeling toothpaste on it that's meant to deep clean and shine up the surfaces of your teeth.
- Fluoride treatment. At the end of the cleaning, the hygienist will give you a fluoride gel to stick on your teeth or a rinse to swish around. You may get to pick which flavor you want. You'll let it sit on your teeth for about a minute. Fluoride is an important mineral that will help protect your teeth from cavities until your next dental visit.
- The dentist comes in to do a final lookover. After the cleaning is complete, the dentist will come in and tell you to open your mouth and stick out your tongue, so he can do a final check. He'll also look for signs of oral cancer by feeling the area around your jaw and neck. This last lookover is just as important as the cleaning steps, as it gives the dentist a chance to amke sure everything looks normal and healthy.
Why having dental insurance is a must
Almost all dental insurance plans out there cover routine dental visits, and it's these routine visits that prevent serious oral health problems from happening. When you have dental coverage, it encourages you to go to these routine visits, because you're paying a monthly premium for the insurance. If you're paying for it, then you'll feel the need to use it.
By investing in your oral health, you're investing in your overall health. There are links between gum disease and heart disease, as well as diabetes. If you don't want to develop serious health problems, start by taking good care of your mouth, which starts with good dental insurance. There are so many excellent and affordable individual dental plans and group dental plans out there to choose from, so don't let lack of quality or expense be your excuse. There's a dental plan for everyone, and if you want to keep your teeth and your health intact, get dental coverage now.
Contact EMI Health today to learn more about our individual dental plans
EMI Health offers individual dental plans in Utah and individual plans in Arizona. They're affordable and they cover a range of dental procedures to cover your needs. If it's been a while since you've been to the dentist, you can fix that by getting our dental coverage today.
EMI Health also offers fantastic telemedicine services for people interested in seeking medical advice from the comfort of their homes. To learn more about telemedicine and dental insurance plans, contact us today by calling 1-800-662-5851 or by visiting www.emihealth.com.