Carolyn Clemenza, DDS Shares Tips for a Healthier Smile, National Dental Health Month

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Westchester dentist shares healthy teeth tips in honor of National Dental Health Month

Dr. Carolyn Clemenza, DDS

Your oral health is more important than you may realize...

As we move into the second half of National Dental Health Month, it’s a great time to take a look at our own oral health routines. Your oral health is more important than you may realize. It can offer clues about your overall health, and problems in your mouth can affect the rest of your body. Some research even shows that good oral health may actually prevent certain diseases from occurring.

Here are some easy tips to help you get a healthier – and happier – smile.

Visit Your Dentist:
As you think about your oral health, take the time to make sure that you and your family are up-to-date on your dental appointments. Most experts recommend having a check-up every 6 months or more often if you are suffering from problems such as gum disease. Children should be seen by a dentist by the time they are one years-old and will need help cleaning their teeth until the time they are coordinated enough to tie their own shoes.

Normal dental exams do more than just clean the plaque from in between your teeth and check for cavities. During a routine dental exam your dentist can spot early signs of oral cancer, side effects from tooth grinding, gum disease and side effects from interactions with medicine, including dry mouth.

Brush Twice a Day…Correctly:
Brushing your teeth should be the cornerstone of your oral hygiene routine. In order to keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible, brush twice a day for two minutes with a soft-bristled brush. It’s also important to replace your toothbrush every three or four months or sooner if the bristles are frayed. Also, be sure to use an ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste.

The proper brushing technique is to:

  •     Use a small dab of toothpaste – too much can cause over-sudsing, tempting you to stop brushing earlier than recommended
  •     Place toothbrush at the gum line at a 45-degree angle
  •     Gently move the brush back and forth in short strokes – you should spend about two minutes in total brushing your teeth
  •     Be sure to brush the outer surfaces, inner surfaces and chewing surfaces of the teeth
  •     To clean the inside surfaces of your front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make up-and-down strokes.
  •     Don’t forget to brush your tongue to remove bacteria and help freshen your breath

Plaque that builds up in between your teeth, and is not removed by brushing, can eventually turn into calculus or tartar. By flossing just once a day, you help remove plaque from between teeth and areas where your toothbrush can’t reach. To floss correctly, wrap about a foot of floss around your index fingers, leaving approximately two inches between your fingers to work with. Move your fingers so you have a fresh section of floss for each tooth, and keep it tight against the tooth in order to remove plaque while not damaging your gums.

Use Fluoride:
Fluoride is one of the best advances in oral health. It strengthens the enamel, making your teeth less likely to decay. Many toothpastes and mouth rinses contain fluoride, and three out of four Americans drink water that is fluoridated. When including fluoride in your child’s oral health routine use sparingly…a small dab on their toothbrush is plenty.

Eat Your Veggies:
As you know, a balanced diet is essential to living a healthier life. But did you know what you eat can affect your teeth? Poor nutrition can lead to many oral health issues, including gum disease and cavities. Studies have shown that people who have lost teeth or wear dentures tend to not eat as many fruits or vegetables, leading to an overall poorly nutritious diet. You should also look to avoid overeating foods with high acidity, including lemons, grapefruits and even strawberries. It’s important that you brush, floss, or rinse your teeth after eating acidic food to prevent damage. A well-balanced diet featuring grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables, and dairy products will provide all the nutrients you need for a healthier smile.

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Lisa Santacruz
Co-Communications, Inc.
+1 (914) 666-0066
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since: 07/2012
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Carolyn Clemenza DDS
since: 10/2012
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