5 tips for maintaining a healthy smile through preventive dentistry

By practicing preventive dentistry, you can maintain good oral hygiene, a beautiful smile and proper speech without having to spend a lot of extra money on expensive restorative treatments. A healthy smile is not just about improving your appearance, but improving your overall health. Poor dental care can often affect your diet and other areas of your health. By taking the following measures, you can have a healthy smile for less of a hassle and less money.

1. Take advantage of insurance coverage. Check with your insurance company to make sure you are taking full advantage of any exams, teeth cleanings and X-rays that are covered by your plan. Make sure to get regular dental check-ups, including cleanings and examinations, since doing so will prevent any possible dental problems from forming or worsening due to neglect.

2. Undergo a comprehensive examination. Whether or not your insurance covers a comprehensive examination, you should always have it done at least once every six months. This kind of dental examination involves an oral cancer screening, mouth-mirror, periodontal probe, bite radiographs and a full-mouth periapical X-ray. The exam will fully analyze your mouth for any potential problems in all aspects of oral hygiene.

3. Practice good oral hygiene at home. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing twice daily and flossing at least once a day. It's also recommended that you invest in an electric toothbrush, since these devices have proven to be more effective for cleaning teeth and keeping gums healthy. Use mouthwash regularly to eliminate any remaining germs after brushing and flossing.

4. Maintain a teeth-friendly diet. Sugary and starchy foods can often leave your teeth susceptible to cavity development, which is why it is important to limit these types of food in your diet. Soda is one of the biggest adversaries of dental health and dentists everywhere recommend that you choose water over soda and other alternative beverages whenever possible. As a rule of thumb, always use a straw when consuming any beverage but water to avoid contact with the teeth and prevent stains. Ideally, you should brush and floss after every meal.

5. Don't smoke. According to the ADA, smoking increases your risk for tooth loss and gum disease, in addition to the general negative impact it has on your health. Smoking also stains the teeth, which can make your smile appear less healthy and less aesthetically appealing.

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