We always teach kids good oral hygiene, but as adults, it can be challenging to keep up. Proper hygiene and professional dental care are important for adults, too. Unfortunately bad habits, forgetfulness, or simple lack of caring lead adults to neglect their mouths — with unfortunate consequences. Should dental care be at the top of your priority list?
For example, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report that more than 1 in 4 adults (27%) in the United States have untreated tooth decay, and nearly half (46%) show signs of gum disease. Additional health care costs stemming from such poor oral health are estimated to be as high as $5681 per person, costing the US billions in healthcare costs annually.
The Importance of Dental Care for Adults
The risks of tooth decay, tooth loss, and gum disease continue to increase with age. This is likely due to several factors, including more frequent dry mouth (problems with saliva production), receding gums, difficulty brushing, or bad habits such as smoking or skipping on brushing.
In other words, it is extremely important to keep up those good hygiene habits into adulthood. Dentists and orthodontists recommend you:
- Brush your teeth twice a day, preferably with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Brush for at least 2 minutes and make sure you reach all your teeth.
- Use a fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride helps strengthen tooth enamel and prevent tooth decay.
- Replace your toothbrush every 3 months or so. Toothbrushes wear out as they are used, and after about 3 months, they are worn to the point that they cannot do their job.
- Floss daily. This removes plaque from between your teeth and under your gumline before it hardens into tartar and causes other problems.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet. This helps cut down on the chances of getting gum disease. Also try to cut down on soda, sweets, and other foods containing high concentrations of sugar, as these lead to plaque and cavities.
- If you smoke, find ways to quit. The tar and other contaminants in smoke kill off healthy mouth tissue, dry your mouth, and erode tooth enamel–all of which contribute to gum disease.
- Keep dentures, retainers, and other appliances clean — just as you would your teeth.
- Visit a dentist twice a year. You can have your teeth professionally cleaned, and the dentist can spot any early signs of problems.
The Happy Tooth Makes Dental for Adults Care Easy
Whether or not you have been keeping up with these habits, you should see a dental health professional (if you do not already do so regularly). Sometimes, a visit to a dentist or oral hygienist can help you stay on track with these good habits, and give you additional advice for avoiding health problems.
If you live in NC, you can visit one of our locations for a consultation. Don’t forget to download our “New Patient” special: