A trip to the grocery store is a clear reminder that the cost of basic living expenses is high. The box of crackers you purchased 3 years ago is probably a dollar higher than it was before. The gallon of milk or carton of eggs you bought is probably one-third or more higher. And, we are all still feeling the higher price for gas.
Americans are trying to make adjustments to balance out these higher prices. People are now reading labels more carefully, have pared down on the “non-essentials,” and have been more determined to find discounts and sales.
As we’ve experienced in our dental practice, supply costs have risen; some costs are much higher than before, including those for labs and equipment. We pride our Macomb County dental office on having moderate fees for exceptional care and are doing all we can to maintain affordability for our patients.
Another way we help our patients is to work with each so they are able to avoid the need for expensive repairs and treatment. The involvement you have with our Shelby Twp dental office is structured so you are better able to have good oral health between visits.
For example, your 6-month dental hygiene visits are an important way to help prevent the development of cavities and periodontal (gum) disease. In addition to your commitment to these visits, there are things you can do between them to help you enjoy a healthy smile and keep costs in check. Suggestions are…
– Relook at your at-home oral health hygiene routine
There is no substitute for twice-daily brushing and flossing to help avoid the build up of oral bacteria. Each morning and just before bed, brush your teeth thoroughly, spending at least two minutes per brushing. When brushing, focus on the teeth in four parts (quadrants) for thorough brushing. Go over all areas in each quadrant, including the backs and tops of teeth. Use a circular motion rather than a scrubbing, back-&-forth motion.
An oral rinse can be helpful in your oral hygiene routine. Some contain fluoride or antimicrobial agents to give you the best benefit. However, avoid those that contain alcohol, which can be drying to oral tissues.
– Make daily flossing a habit
When you only brush your teeth and don’t floss you’re missing out on cleaning about 35% of each tooth. That leaves a wide open door for bacteria growth and begin the decay process. Flossing will help you in removing as much bacteria and plaque as possible. For individuals who have mastered the art of flossing, it makes about a minute per day. If you find the maneuver difficult, helpful tips are in our brief video:
– Time your brushing to avoid enamel damage
If you are dashing to the sink to brush right after eating, you may actually be wearing down tooth enamel. The rule of thumb is to wait 20-30 minutes after eating. Why? Anytime you eat or drink, an acid attack begins in the mouth. While this acid is beneficial for the initial stage of digestion, it’s potent and can actually soften tooth enamel. Using abrasive toothpaste or a hard-bristled toothbrush before the acid attack subsides can wear down enamel, leaving teeth vulnerable to decay.
– Watch what and how often you eat
As mentioned above, every time you eat or drink something, an acid attack begins in the mouth. The consumption of sugar and carbs has become a big part of American diets, and snacking is as well.
In the mouth, there are good and bad bacteria. The bad bacteria feed on the sugar and carbohydrates and create acids that can turn into bacterial infections. This can lead to weakened areas of tooth enamel and turn into cavities.
If you eat three meals a day, your mouth is enduring just 3 acid attacks a day. However, when you grab a mid-morning latte, a candy bar in the afternoon and have a dish of ice-cream while you’re watching TV, you double the amount of acid attacks your mouth is enduring. Even worse, sipping on sodas or a glass of wine over long periods can create a steady onslaught of bacterial growth in the mouth.
– Treat problems while still small
A cracked tooth that needs crowning won’t remain stable on its own. Tartar on teeth won’t go away without professional removal. A cavity won’t heal on its own. When problems are small, they can be repaired with the least amount of cost and time. When they are postponed, the problems become more costly and time-consuming to treat. The worst penalty of delay can result in tooth loss (and the complications of replacement).
– Keep the mouth moist
Insufficient saliva in the mouth increases the risk of bacterial growth. Drink plenty of water to keep your mouth moist. If you are taking medications that are drying, use an oral rinse that’s designed to replenish oral moisture. Minimize caffeine, alcohol, and smoking, all which are drying to oral tissues. When brushing is not possible after drinking or smoking, be sure to swish to help remove bacteria and add support to saliva.
– Think of good oral health as protection for your whole health
For decades, numerous studies have shown correlations between the bacteria of gum disease and health problems elsewhere in the body, some deadly. Periodontal disease is an infection that destroys gum tissues and the structures that support teeth. The infectious bacteria of gum disease can enter the bloodstream through tears in diseased tissues.
These bacteria has been found to trigger or worsen inflammatory reactions elsewhere in the body. These include heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, erectile dysfunction, some cancers and more.
As always, our goal is for every dental visit to be a positive experience. Our Shelby Township dental office provides patients with comprehensive dental care and some of the industry’s most advanced computerized and imaging technology, which can help to minimize treatment needs and enhance comfort.
We also have a long-standing reputation for helping adults who struggle with dental fears. In addition to our many comfort features, we offer Oral and I.V. Sedation (“twilight sleep”). These are administered by trained professionals who utilize advanced safety monitoring equipment. (Learn more about our commitment to your comfort at: DrBarbatPatientComfort
We believe every individual should have the potential to enjoy the benefits of healthy, confident smiles and teeth that last a lifetime. If you’ve delayed or fallen short on your dental hygiene regimen, we are a welcoming environment and “judgement-free zone!”
Call 586-739-2155 or tap here to begin with a no-cost, private consultation to discuss your needs and goals. New patients are always welcome. In the meantime, I’d like to introduce myself in a brief video: MeetDrBarbat
and get to know our comprehensive dental environment at: DrBarbatOfficeTour
If tooth loss has occurred, we provide advanced skills for dental implants, cosmetic dentistry, TMJ disorder, sleep apnea and crowns/bridges as well as general dentistry for all ages.