Most people don’t spend much too much time thinking about their oral health – until there’s a problem. When dental pain or damage occurs, you want accurate information quickly. But a good oral health education isn’t just for emergencies. Here’s why you’ll want to understand the basics of dental health:
How Does Oral Health Impact Your Body?
Oral health doesn’t just affect your teeth and gums. Oral health also affects the health of your entire body. On-going dental problems can significantly impact your quality of life.
Dental problems can interfere with how you talk, eat and drink. Plus, cavities and other issues can cause constant pain. Even relatively harmless issues like yellow teeth can affect your self-confidence.
Unfortunately, some dental problems can lead to serious complications. Oral bacteria in your mouth can enter your bloodstream. This bacteria can contribute to heart disease, clogged arteries and other cardiovascular problems.
When Should Oral Health Education Begin?
Roughly 20% of children between the ages of five and 11 have at least one cavity. The good news is when dental habits are formed early, the cavity-preventing benefits can last a lifetime.
Children under the age of six can brush their own teeth with adult supervision. Kids shouldn’t use too much toothpaste. A pea-sized amount is perfect. Also, make sure the child spits the toothpaste out after brushing instead of swallowing.
Schedule your child’s first dental visit between the age of one and two. Regular visits will help your child learn to feel comfortable at the dentist’s office. Plus, they’ll learn proper oral care techniques.
What are the Basics of Oral Health?
Brushing, flossing and regular dental check-ups are the three pillars of long-lasting dental health.
When brushing, follow the “two and two” rule. Brush your teeth for two minutes at least twice a day – once in the morning when you wake up and then before you go to bed at night. Ideally, you’ll want to brush after every meal, but the “two and two” rule is a daily minimum.
Replace your toothbrush about every three months. Dull bristles don’t effectively remove debris. Plus, after about three months, bacteria will have built-up on the brush.
Floss at least once every 24 hours. You can floss either before or after your brush – both ways are effective. Bacteria accumulates around your teeth every day. Flossing helps break up the bacteria and prevents it from forming into colonies.
When Should I See a Dentist?
As a general rule, visit your dentist every six months. This will give your dentist an opportunity to assess your current dental health. Depending on your overall risk of dental problems, your dentist might want to see you more or less frequently throughout the year.
Your dentist might also refer you to other dental professionals. If you have gum disease, you’ll need to see a periodontist. If your teeth are crooked or your bite is misaligned, a trip to the orthodontist might be necessary.
Aside from checkups, you should also make an appointment whenever a dental problem might be developing. Watch out for the following:
- Specific, localized pain in one or more teeth
- General pain throughout your mouth
- Visible white spots on your teeth
- Bleeding after brushing
- Cracks or chips in your teeth
- Sensitivity to cold or warm foods and drinks
Unlike a cut on your finger or a bruise on your leg, oral health problems are unlikely to repair themselves on their own. You’ll want to see a dentist at the first sign of a problem. Minor issues are easier and cheaper to fix than problems which have been allowed to grow over time.
How Can I Pay for the Dentist?
Many people avoid the dentist because of cost. But there are a few ways you can lower your dental bills. Part of understanding oral health is understanding the best ways to pay for treatments and check-ups.
A dental savings plan is an effective if a bit unknown, way to save at the dentist’s office. With a dental savings plan, you join a club which offers discounts at over 100,000 dentists across the country. Present your membership card for instant savings right at the dentist’s office. Depending on the type of plan, and the procedures performed, you can save between 15% to 50% on the total costs.
Plans are available for just about any and every dental care need. Plus, if your needs change, you can switch to a new plan whenever you like. You can start saving right away and there’s no limit on how much you can use your plan.
Understanding oral health will help you make the right treatment decisions, including how to save the most money on your dental care. Dental knowledge is empowering. Developing wisdom about your teeth today will help keep them healthy far into the future.
Save 15% to 50%* at the Dentist
With an Aetna Dental Savings Plan.