You hear from dentists and doctors that you should be taking care of your gums and teeth. The two natural questions are how and why. The answers may seem obvious, but there is more to it than simply a matter or dental health.

The first reason is something that is near and dear to our hearts – money. Going to the dentist once a year or when you are experiencing pain in your mouth is far cheaper in the long run than waiting until things turn bad fast. The longer you spend in the dentist’s chair, the more it going to cost you. In most cases, big problems require multiple visits, which means you will be writing a check multiple times. It is basic math.

A second reason is that recent research has made a connection between the health of your gums and the health of your heart. That may seems odd, but the same tissue that makes up your gums is also found in the heart. The bacteria that grow inside your mouth will travel through your body via the bloodstream if left unchecked. The bacteria latches on to your arteries and promotes the accumulation of fatty deposits. Who would have thought?


Now for the how

Brushing your teeth is the first step in reducing the number of food particles left behind that cause teeth to decay and gums to get infected. Electric toothbrushes are recommended by many dentists for a more thorough brushing.

Flossing is the next step. Flossing is one of those things that becomes a habit rather than a chore. You should spend only a minute or two flossing. Water flossers are somewhat controversial, but for many people they are preferred over manual flossing because they reach deeper under the gum line to reduce the possibility of gum disease. Adding mouthwash to the water is often possible for a more hygienic cleaning, but be sure your model will not be damaged by its use.

Rinsing with mouthwash is the final step. Some dentists are not convinced this is beneficial if the first two steps are done the right way. But it doesn’t hurt to have a mouth that smells nice and rinsing will wash away those few remaining food particles. Rinsing with water is another alternative.

Whatever tools you use or whatever steps you take, remember that you can reduce the maintenance requirement of taking care of your gums and your teeth by making good decisions about what you eat. If what you eat is difficult for you to brush off your teeth normally, you may want to reconsider your choices. If you find yourself seeing the dentist more often than you would like, consider discussing with your dentist a change in diet that may solve the problem.

Remember that you and your dentist are a team that can save you time, money, and significantly reduce the possibility of long term dental problems when you work together.