What might I not know about keeping my mouth healthy?

You might not know how important it is to clean in between. Most people know that we have to keep our teeth clean, but many don’t realize that no matter how well you brush, we need to clean in between as well. Floss is tried and true (despite recent misinterpreted nay-saying), but various interdental cleaners are also effective. It’s important to clean just under the gumline, no matter what you use. The controversy surrounding the purported not needing to floss involved two things. First, because there are plenty of studies showing floss reduces plaque and plenty of studies showing plaque causes disease, it’s not a priority to spent a bunch of time and money to figure out that floss reduces disease. Second, the conclusion was that as long as you clean between with something, floss isn’t mandatory.

You might not know that smoking is relevant to your dental health. Stop smoking! Smoking not only causes cancer, lung and heart disease, it also makes gum disease worse. So even if a smoker avoids the grim reaper, they may do so with false teeth. And the recent popularity of chewing tobacco, “spit” tobacco, snuff tobacco has boosted rates of gum problems and oral cancer among young men. Please don’t.

You might not know that decay (cavities) is not just a childhood disease. Older/elderly patients often start getting cavities on the roots of their teeth for a combination of two reasons. Firstly, the roots have been exposed due to gum recession. The second part of this double whammy is dry mouth, which is caused by many medications taken by seniors. These two things increase decay by an alarming amount. Fluoride is just as (if not more) important to seniors’ dental health as it is for children.