A healthy mouth and good oral hygiene is especially crucial for teens and young adults who are just starting to care for their permanent teeth. The decisions and habits you form now can greatly impact the quality of the gums and teeth and you have for the rest of your life.
More importantly, a healthy smile helps in loads of other ways such as by giving you a more attractive smile, better breath and a more professional appearance.
What are some habits I should form at home to maintain a healthy mouth?
Maintaining a healthy mouth takes a few simple activities each day:
- Brush your teeth and gums twice a day with toothpaste for 2 minutes each time
- Floss and clean between your teeth once a day
- Eat healthy foods and limit sugary snacks and beverages like soda, sugary sports drinks, juice and energy drinks.
- If you play sports or engage in sports such as skateboarding, skiing, etc., wear a mouth guard to protect your teeth, lips and jaw
- Consider orthodontics (braces) if you can to ensure proper functioning of your teeth and a straight smile
Dental sealants are a very thin plastic coating over the surface of the teeth that serve as a barrier for cavity-causing bacteria. As long as a sealant stays in place, the covered teeth will be protected from decay. Your dentist may recommend sealants as a prevention measure and an extra layer of protection for your teeth.
See your dentist for a routine cleaning and checkup twice a year. Going for regular check-ups will help catch problems early, when they are small, preventing the need for bigger dental procedures such as crowns or root canals. Remember to discuss any areas of discomfort or pain with your dentist during your dental visits. You may also want to discuss the need to remove your wisdom teeth early on to prevent any future issues.
Dental exams and sounds are uncomfortable for me. What can make it better?
Dentists and dental teams are well aware and understand if you are uncomfortable during dental visits. If the sound of the tools bother you, ask if you can use headphones and your phone to cover the sound during a visit.
It can be hard to communicate when your mouth is open and being worked on. If this makes you uncomfortable, set up a hand signal with your dentist or dental team member working on your teeth to let them know if you’re doing okay or feeling pain.
What questions do I ask?
- What type of toothbrush do you think I should I be using? Should I use a soft toothbrush?
- Do I need dental sealants? Where and how many would you recommend?
- What can I do to prevent future cavities and tooth decay?
- Have my wisdom teeth come in? Do you recommend removing them soon?
- I’m starting to feel/I feel pain with certain cold/hot foods. Do you see any issues in those areas?
- If a procedure or treatment is recommended:
- What is the cost of the procedure? Is this a preventive procedure?
- How much of the cost will my insurance cover?
- Will you do it in this office or will I have to see a specialist?
- Are there other procedures or things you’d recommend if my insurance doesn’t cover this?
- If multiple procedures are recommended:
- What needs to be done first?
- Can we spread out the visits or treatments and work on what’s essential first?