It’s likely you scrubbed your teeth and flossed to perfection the night before your dental visit, but the North Carolina Dental Society suggests you avoid the last-minute scrambling by adhering to five simple tips before your next appointment.
“Are you flossing regularly?” Those four words might cause you to squirm in the chair at the dentist as you attempt to come up with an appropriate response. It’s likely you scrubbed your teeth and flossed to perfection the night before your dental visit, but the North Carolina Dental Society suggests you avoid the last-minute scrambling by adhering to five simple tips before your next appointment.
“It’s common for patients to brush and floss harder just before a dental hygiene appointment, but consistent care for your teeth is critical to your overall health,” said Dr. Bobbi Stanley of Stanley Dentistry in Cary. “It’s extremely beneficial for patients to be diligent about cleaning their teeth each morning and night in order to avoid severe and painful dental problems down the road. Plus, the healthier your teeth and gums, the less likely you are to receive additional treatment recommendations from your dentist.”
Preparing for your next check-up is simple. Here are five things you shouldn’t forget:
1. Be Honest. Be prepared to have an open and honest dialogue with your dentist about your oral health habits, medical and family history, tobacco and alcohol use, and the prescriptions you are currently taking. Your dentist will do an oral evaluation during your checkup, so talking candidly about your lifestyle and daily habits will help him or her identify and stay on top of any potential health risks.
2. Practice Good Hygiene. Take care of your whole body, not just your teeth. Brushing and flossing twice a day is important for your dental health, but so is your diet and nutrition. Drinking plenty of water and eating fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, apples and leafy greens, will do wonders for your body, as well as your oral health.
3. Change your Toothbrush. One of the best ways to stay on top of your dental hygiene is to throw away your old toothbrush and swap it out for a new one. The bristles on your toothbrush tend to wear over time and eventually become less effective at cleaning your teeth. It’s best to replace your toothbrush every three to four months.
4. Ask Questions. Don’t be afraid to come armed with a list of questions for your next hygiene appointment. When it comes to toothbrushes, water pics, fluorides rinses, toothpastes, whitening aides and the like, the sheer volume of options at your local drug store can be overwhelming. Your dentist will help you determine which tools will best help you maintain optimum oral hygiene. If any pain, tooth sensitivity or bleeding gums arise between appointments, write down your symptoms so you can discuss them with your dentist in detail.
5. Overload on Information. Call ahead to confirm your appointment date, time and any forms you’ll need to fill out beforehand. When you speak with the receptionist, be sure to confirm whether your insurance is accepted and learn about options for financing or payment plans if you are concerned about cost.
Remember that one good vigorous brush and floss session won’t mask months of poor oral hygiene. Consistency remains key, and your dentist can recommend the best tools to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
To learn more about proper oral hygiene, please visit www.mouthhealthy.org or consult a dentist in your area.
About the North Carolina Dental Society
The North Carolina Dental Society was founded in 1856 and is one of the oldest dental societies in the country. The NCDS represents 3,700 member dentists in North Carolina. Headquartered in Cary, our mission is to help all members succeed. For more information about the NCDS, visit ncdental.org. The North Carolina Dental Society is a part of the American Dental Association, the nation's largest dental association, representing 161,000 dentist members.