Nobody wants to experience a dental emergency but the truth is, they happen. While many times a dental emergency is unavoidable or is a result of an unexpected accident, your dentist in Boerne wants you to know that there are some ways you can reduce your risk of a dental emergency.
- Don’t Smoke. One of the best ways you can not only reduce your risk of a dental emergency but also bigger oral health and overall health problems down the road is to avoid smoking or using tobacco in any form. Both smoking cigarettes and using smokeless tobacco increases the risk of gum disease, oral cancer, tooth discoloration, and tooth loss.
- Practice Safe Snacking. We’re not here to tell you to completely avoid snacking on your favorite treats. But your dentist in Boerne does want to encourage you to practice safe snacking by limiting the number of times you snack throughout the day. Constant snacking exposes your teeth to food particles around the clock. This can continuously feed the bacteria in your mouth, which means the bacteria continuously releases acid. This acid can easily damage and weaken enamel and increases the risk of decay. You should also choose your snack foods carefully. Some snacks such as popcorn or nuts can increase the risk of an accidental cracked or chipped tooth thanks to hidden kernels or hard pieces.
- Don’t Chew on Things You Shouldn’t. Besides food, our teeth shouldn’t be used to chew on anything. This includes pens, pencils, fingernails, and even ice. These objects are hard and can easily cause teeth to chip, crack, or even break. If you find yourself chewing out of anxiousness or stress, try to chew away at a piece of Xylitol gum instead of your office supplies.
- Take it Easy on the Drinks. The best way to fuel your body and protect your teeth is to drink plenty of water throughout the day. On the other hand, beverages that are high in acid or sugar can expose your teeth to these damaging ingredients. Try to limit your intake of soft drinks, fruit juice, and even sports drinks. All of these beverages either contain a lot of sugar that can easily coat your teeth or are acidic and will wear away tooth enamel.
As always, brushing and flossing your teeth every day is a great way to remove bacteria that may have built up throughout the day. You can also rinse your mouth out with water after snacking to help get rid of food particles that would otherwise feed bacteria. But these preventive measures only go so far, and you should still see your dentist in Boerne for regular checkups and cleanings.*
If you’re experiencing a dental emergency, call your dentist.
*At the time of publishing, the ADA has recommended the postponement of all preventive dental appointments. Please check your local recommendations.
With all of the uncertainty in the world today, we understand that your oral health may not be the first thing on your mind. But even though we’re temporarily postponing all elective dental procedures, your dentist in Boerne wants you to know that we’re still thinking about you and your oral health. We’re here for you during this tough time and want to help any way we can, which is why we’ve compiled a guide of oral health dos and don’ts that can help keep your teeth, gums, and entire mouth healthy until we can see you again.
Up First: The Dos
We like leading with the positive so let’s first focus on what you should do to protect your teeth during your at-home oral hygiene routine.
- Brush & Floss – The benefits of regularly brushing and flossing your teeth are undeniable, and you should continue to brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day (even if you’re not leaving the house). Cleaning your teeth and removing debris from between them goes a long way in keeping your breath fresh and eliminating bacteria.
- Replace Your Toothbrush – Your toothbrush needs to be in good condition to do its job effectively. For this reason, your dentist in Boerne recommends replacing your toothbrush at least every 3-4 months or as soon as you notice the bristles starting to fray. You should also get a new toothbrush if you get sick.
- Store Your Toothbrush Correctly – Believe it or not, there is a right way to store your toothbrush — upright and uncovered.
- Wash Your Hands – This advice is everywhere today and one that we wholeheartedly agree with. Washing your hands several times a day helps reduce the risk of getting sick. You should also wash your hands prior to brushing your teeth or flossing.
- Disinfect Your Toothbrush – A recent study found that 0.5% hydrogen peroxide effectively reduces coronavirus infectivity. To make this solution:
- Mix 1 fl oz of 3% hydrogen peroxide with 5 fl oz of water
- Soak your toothbrush in the mixture for 10 minutes. Dump out the mixture.
- Rinse your toothbrush prior to brushing.
Now: The Don’ts
Just like there are things you should do to protect your oral health, there are also things that you should avoid if at all possible.
- Don’t Share Your Toothbrush – Your toothbrush is yours and yours alone. Don’t share it with anyone, including other family members. Doing so can easily transfer bodily fluids from you to them or from them to you.
- Don’t Allow Family Brushes to Touch – Similarly to the above, you shouldn’t allow family members’ toothbrushes to touch while being stored. Make sure they’re kept a few inches away from each other.
- Don’t Bite Your Nails – Millions of Americans bite their nails, but now may be a good time to work on breaking that habit. Not only does nail biting easily spread bacteria from whatever may be lurking under our fingernails to our mouths, but it can also damage teeth.
As of the publishing date, the American Dental Association (ADA) has recommended the postponement of any preventive or routine dental care for three weeks. During this time, your dentist in Boerne wants to encourage you to do everything you can to take care of your smile, including following the tips above. Stay healthy, and we hope to see you soon.