What You Can Do to Maintain Good Oral Health


Take care of your teeth and gums

Thorough tooth brushing and flossing reduces plaque and prevents gingivitis-the mildest form of gum disease. Gum disease begins with bacteria in the plaque on your teeth. If untreated, plaque spreads and grows between the teeth and gums, forming pockets with toxins that cause the gums to separate from the teeth, leading to bone loss and tooth loss. Brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day for good oral health.

Avoid sugary drinks

Drink fluoridated water instead of soda, sports drinks, and juice. Fluoride's protection against tooth decay works at all ages. Drinking water between meals and snacks will help to protect your teeth from cavities. Cavities are 100% preventable.

Eat wisely

Limit the number of snacks eaten throughout the day and avoid snacks full of sugars and starches. The recommended five-a-day helping of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables stimulates saliva that can help to repair tooth surfaces in early stages of tooth decay. Biting into a juicy apple or sweet corn on the cob is not possible with rotten or broken teeth. Healthy eating now will allow you to continue to eat healthy later with a mouth full of healthy teeth.

Avoid tobacco

In addition to the general health risks posed by tobacco, smokers have 4 times the risk of developing gum disease compared to non-smokers. Tobacco use in any form-cigarette, pipes, and smokeless (spit) tobacco-increases the risk for gum disease, oral and throat cancers, and oral fungal infection (candidiasis). Spit tobacco containing sugar increases the risk of tooth decay. Ask us about the resources we have available that can help you to quit now.

Limit alcohol

Heavy use of alcohol is also a risk factor for oral and throat cancers. When used alone, alcohol and tobacco are risk factors for oral cancers, but when used in combination the effects of alcohol and tobacco are even greater.


Visit the dentist regularly

Check-ups can detect early signs of oral health problems and can lead to treatments that will prevent further damage, and in some cases, reverse the problem. Professional tooth cleaning is important for preventing oral problems. High Plains Dental is here to help you with both prevention and treatment services for all ages. The Colorado Medicaid program now covers pediatric and adult oral health services. Call 719-336-8445 for an appointment or for more information about our discount program.

Health Conditions and Oral Health


Diabetes

Diabetic patients can help maintain control of their disease with good oral hygiene. Gum disease can make it more difficult to control your blood sugars and diabetics are at greater risk for gum disease. If you have diabetes and gum disease, you're at significantly greater risk of heart and kidney disease. See your dental provider at least once a year for cleaning and an exam.

Pregnancy

Taking care of your mouth while your are pregnant is important for you and your baby. The bacteria that are present in plaque become more aggressive when you are pregnant and can make your gums sore, puffy, and red, especially if you do not brush and floss every day. Poor oral health may effect the health of your pregnancy. It is safe to have dental care when you are pregnant so do not put it off until after you have the baby. High Plains Dental will take care of you during your pregancy. Discounted services are available for dental treatment.

Cancer

Have an oral health check-up before beginning cancer treatment. Radiation and chemotherapy may cause problems for your teeth and gums. Treating existing oral health problems before cancer therapy may help prevent or limit oral complications or tissue damage.

Dry Mouth

If medications cause you to have a dry mouth, ask your doctor if there are other drugs that can be substituted. If dry mouth cannot be avoided, drink plenty of water, chew sugarless gum or gum with xylitol, avoid tobacco and alcohol, and limit sugary or starchy snacks to reduce your risk for decay.

Two is too late

Your baby should have their first appointment by age six months or after the first tooth appears. High Plains Dental providers will see patients of all ages, accepts all insurances including Medicaid, and offers sliding fee discounts for those meeting income guidelines. Call 719-336-8445 for an appointment.

Start cleaning teeth early

Cleaning baby's gums is important even before teeth come in. Gently wipe gums with a soft wet cloth after each feeding and begin using a soft toothbrush once your child's first tooth erupts. Using a tiny 'smear' of toothpaste with fluoride is recommended (just enough to color the bristles).

Use the right amount of fluoride toothpaste

Fluoride is important for fighting cavities, but if children younger than 6 swallow too much fluoride, it can make them sick and their permanent teeth can develop white or dark spots. To keep this from happening, supervise your child while brushing and only use a small amount of toothpaste (about the size of a pea). Teach your child to spit out the toothpaste and to rinse well after brushing.

Supervise brushing

Brush your child's teeth twice a day until your child has the skill to handle the toothbrush alone, about age 8. Then continue to closely watch brushing to make sure the child is doing a thorough job and using only a small amount of toothpaste.

Flouride rinses

Fluoride rinses are beneficial especially to children's teeth. Supervise your child while using fluoride and make sure they swish then spit out the fluoride rinse. Fluoride can make your child sick if it is swallowed. Generally around age 6-7 is a good time to introduce fluoride rinses.