Oral Health Care Made Simple

Following five simple steps each day can improve your oral health and forge a path to better overall health.

Following five simple steps each day can improve your oral health and forge a path to better overall health. According to the American Dental Association (ADA) and the Mayo Clinic, the steps listed below are the best bet for oral health protection and prevention.

1. It should come as no surprise that one needs to brush their teeth twice a day. It removes decay-causing plaque from the surface of the teeth. The best way to do this is to brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush because it protects your enamel, but still removes plaque. The best times to brush are after breakfast and before bed.

2. There are areas in the mouth where a toothbrush doesn't reach and that's where floss comes in. Flossing once a day removes plaque from between the teeth - an essential part of preventing gum disease.

3. The technique: Brush teeth at a 45-degree angle starting against the gums. Gently move the toothbrush back and forth in short tooth-wide strokes. Make sure to cover all tooth surfaces: inner, outer and on top of the teeth. Use the top of the brush to clean the inside surfaces of the front of the teeth. Don't forget about the tongue! Brush it to remove bacteria and ensure fresher breath.

4. Snacking during the day or sipping on a sugar-filled beverage (soda, juice, sports drinks and flavored water) exposes teeth to repeated acid attacks from sugar or citrus. Instead, consume sugary food with meals or chew sugarless gum afterward (as always, look for the seal of the ADA before you buy). Both stimulate salivary flow, which helps weaken cavity-causing acids and rinses food from the mouth.

Also, do not brush teeth right after eating. Instead, wait at least 30 minutes. The sugar or acid in foods can weaken tooth enamel and brushing right after can damage the tooth enamel. If unable to wait that long, try mouth rinse which is much more gentle on teeth and also freshens breath.

5. See a dentist twice a year for a cleaning and an exam. For many, dental checkups are the only preventive care they regularly receive. Fortunately, dentists recognize their growing role as health care providers. They encourage healthy eating and self-care. Oral examinations reveal to them the early signs of dangerous overall health conditions. Fast-paced lives can force people to cut corners, but just remember to keep up with those regular checkups. A little bad news from a dentist may help to prevent a lot of bad news from your doctor.


Dental & Vision Extras (www.dentalandvisionextras.com) is a joint venture of The Dental Care Plus Group and Total Vision Services.

The Dental Care Plus Group is the largest dental carrier in the Greater
Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area with expanding operations throughout Kentucky and Ohio. For more information, visit www.dentalcareplus.com.

Total Vision Services, based in Cincinnati, offers both insured and noninsured vision benefits through a nationwide network of providers. For more information, visit www.totalvisioncare.com.