As with all health issues, prevention is key. Proper oral hygiene and two visits a year to the dentist can help you maintain this goal.
Advisor: Ana Cristina Manrique – General Dentist, practitioner at Coomeva Private Healthcare
Going to the dentist and having appointments on a regular basis is important to help maintain proper oral hygiene and prevent disease. For Ana Cristina Manrique, general dentist, when patients are in pain, this is a clear sign they should see a specialist. A problematic tooth or a tooth fracture are certainly good reasons to see a dentist. However, there are many silent oral diseases that can develop without the regular necessary checkups. “With prevention, problems can be avoided not only for our oral health, but also for our general health.”
Among those silent ailments, as Dr. Manrique mentions, are bleeding gums, which may be a sign of a condition in the tooth’s bone and supporting tissue. “It is a warning sign for us to be careful in that area and avoid, at an older age, the all too well-known, periodontitis, which can cause tooth loss.”
Pigmentations – which are spots in the oral cavity that the dentist can detect in their checkups – are another sign of attention to diseases such as oral cancer. Halitosis or bad breath is also a reason to see an expert. Even a constant headache or a cervical headache may be a symptom of an occlusion problem (bite or connection with the upper teeth). “If detected on time, any disease that is occurring in the mouth, as with any part of our body, can have a solution,” the dentist emphasizes.
Sensitivity is another common cause to visit the dentist. “This is commonly associated with the wear of the tooth’s enamel or external surface, often caused by bruxism (teeth grinding). Even the nourishment we give ourselves must be taken into account. When a patient with sensitivity arrives, I ask them about their diet, and if they say they love lemon, I explain that it is very abrasive and that it removes tooth enamel, which is why it causes sensitivity,” Dr. Manrique states.
Twice a year
It is best to go to the dentist twice a year to get a deep cleaning and to follow up on any necessary issues. During these visits patients will also receive instruction on the proper ways for taking care of their oral health. “It is important to go in order to learn how to use dental floss and how to brush, to brush well without harming yourself, and where you should brush more, according to each patient’s case. The main key to proper oral hygiene is flossing. While several factors are involved, if you don’t floss you will have bleeding problems and the supporting tissue will be affected. This is one of the aspects that we must work on when educating our patients, making this a habit, at least once a day,” adds Ana Cristina Manrique.
While many fear going to the dentist, Dr. Manrique believes that people, especially younger generations, are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of taking their children to the dentist, “If you start with children from a young age, in a friendly way, often through play, they will grow up having internalized this. It will not be a source of panic for them and they will get the checkups they need”•
Three key aspects of oral hygiene
1. Brush at least three times a day, and set aside the most relaxing time, such as nighttime, to do a more detailed and conscious process.
2. As for dental floss and brushing, it is not about strength, it is about technique. If these practices are harsh, there will be negative consequences on the teeth and gums.
3. It is not necessary to cover the entire toothbrush with toothpaste. Use the amount and ingredients recommended by the dentist.