Dental Health New Year's Resolution Could Have Full-body Benefits, Says Veteran San Antonio Cosmetic Dentist

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With 2012 just around the corner, people are drawing up their healthy New Year’s resolutions – such as quitting smoking, losing weight or getting exercise - but veteran San Antonio cosmetic dentist Edward Camacho says people should consider a resolution to improve oral health, which would have multiple benefits, and could even save lives.

San Antonio cosmetic dentist Dr. Eddie Camacho, DDS, prepares for an extraction at the Smiles of Hope clinic.

San Antonio cosmetic dentist Dr. Eddie Camacho, DDS, prepares for an extraction at the Smiles of Hope clinic.

If you are hitting the local coffeehouse chain a few times a week, then over the course of a year, you will spend more than you would getting your teeth cleaned and checked twice a year and handling an occasional small cavity.

With 2012 just around the corner, people are drawing up their healthy New Year’s resolutions – such as quitting smoking, losing weight or getting exercise - but veteran San Antonio cosmetic dentist Edward Camacho says people should consider a resolution to improve oral health, which would have multiple benefits, and could even save lives.

While people know eating right, tossing the smokes and exercising are all part of leading a healthier lifestyle that can prolong their lives, most people are not aware of the overall health benefits of taking care of their teeth. Yet studies show that people who take care of their teeth live an average of 6.3 years longer than those who lose their teeth, said Dr. Camacho, head of Cosmetic Dentistry of San Antonio.

Most adults lose their teeth to gum disease, which research links to heart disease, diabetes, preterm births and other health problems. The bacteria that cause tooth decay can cause damage in other areas of your body. The oral cavity, Dr. Camacho said, is truly an indicator of your overall health, and not taking care of oral disease can negatively affect your health.

Dr. Camacho suggests the following dental New Year’s resolutions to help your overall health:

1) Brush twice daily - Your mouth is the front line for battling the bacteria that damage not only your teeth and gums, but also other organs and systems in your body. Brush your teeth thoroughly at least twice daily with fluoride toothpaste.

2) Floss daily – Your toothbrush can’t reach between your teeth, which allows the bacterial film to build up. Daily flossing cleans the spaces between teeth, depriving bacteria of a safe haven.

3) Have at least two dental cleanings a year - Your dental hygienist supplements your daily brushing and flossing by cleaning the pockets where bacteria may escape your own routine. And the hygienist provides a vital screening for problems between dental checkups.

4) Get a regular dental checkup at least annually – Preventative dentistry is better for your health – and much cheaper – than dealing with major dental problems. Many people never visit a dentist until teeth require a root canal or even extraction, problems that are expensive to fix, and affect other teeth. A checkup and a simple filling can head off thousands of dollars of repair. Also, the dentist can provide oral cancer screenings with cutting edge devices such as the Velscope, which can illuminate oral cancer in its very beginning stages. When found at early stages of development, oral cancers have an 80 to 90% survival rate.

5) Eat, drink and be wary – The enemy of oral health is the group of natural bacteria – particularly Strep mutans – that thrive on sugar and dissolve the protective enamel covering the teeth. Refined sugar is present in an overwhelming number of foods, and is part of the modern diabetes “epidemic.” This year, make a commitment to tooth- and health-conscious eating habits. Rinse your mouth after eating sugary food or acidic foods. Avoid sticky sweets that cling to teeth, as well as hard candies that are held in the mouth to dissolve. Drink sugary beverages through a straw so it moves immediately to the back of the mouth. Avoid sugar as much as possible – there is a clear link between diabetes and oral health, and each feeds off the other. Fresh fruits, such as apples, can help clean teeth, and Xylitol – a sweetener found in sugar-free chewing gums and other foods – can actually fight against the bacteria.

6) Consider a new smile – Getting bridges or crowns for missing or broken teeth isn’t a luxury; these problems can have a domino effect that leave you with shifting teeth, a vulnerability to gum disease and other growing damage. After restorations are done, you should consider the quality-of-life benefits of a new smile. A mature adult who’s lived for decades with a crooked or discolored smile can turn the page on their self-esteem, confidence and emotional well-being with teeth straightened by Invisalign clear braces, beautiful crowns or veneers, dental bridges and whitening.

Getting your teeth cleaned twice a year, practicing good home care and taking care of problems when they are small is a lot less expensive than people think, Dr. Camacho said. "If you are hitting the local coffeehouse chain a few times a week, then over the course of a year, you will spend more than you would getting your teeth cleaned and checked twice a year and handling an occasional small cavity."

Company Information:

Cosmetic Dentistry of San Antonio is a full-service cosmetic dental practice, specializing in dental crowns and dental bridges, Invisalign clear braces, top-quality dental veneers, teeth whitening and traditional orthodontics, as well as a full line of restorative procedures and preventative care.

16535 Huebner (at Bitters) Suite 102
Valencia Village Shopping Center
San Antonio, Texas 78248
(210) 493-9944

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