Although many of us like to think we’re health conscious and take good care of ourselves, we may be missing one important aspect of our healthcare — taking care of our teeth! Bad breath, discolored or uneven teeth, and missing teeth can often make us feel embarrassed or bad about our smiles, but we may not be taking the necessary steps to take care of our teeth the way we should be. Good oral care should be an everyday part of our lives and not an afterthought. If you have a family history of weak teeth and a proclivity for cavities, you’ll want to pay especial attention to the health of your teeth, which can have an impact on your overall health. Not taking good care of your teeth can have negative impacts on your heart and lung health, blood pressure, and even your cholesterol!
I’ve Never Really Thought About My Teeth Before. Should I?
Even if you may not be too concerned about your oral care and how your teeth look, other people may be paying close attention, even if they don’t realize it. On a subconscious level, we notice whether or not other people’s smiles are attractive or not; a gap or missing tooth is registered, as are discolored or crooked teeth. Indeed, more than 95% of adults said that an attractive smile made someone of the opposite sex better looking. The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry conducted a survey and found that almost all the respondents considered a good smile an important social asset. Perhaps, even more interesting is the fact that almost three quarters of adults think that a poor smile could impact their chances of furthering their career negatively.
How Is Bad Oral Care Impacting People?
An astonishing number of Americans have some form of periodontal disease — around three quarters of the population, despite our access to regular dental care. Almost 80% of people will have a cavity by the age of 17 and a little more than 30% of people surveyed said they had some concern about the way their teeth appeared. Around 20% of people will try and conceal their teeth in a picture and one in five Americans have at least one cavity that’s not yet treated. Recent studies have shown that bad oral care can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, respiratory infections, and dementia. Those are all things that shouldn’t be taken lightly and can in part be alleviated by brushing and flossing regularly and following good oral hygiene procedures. This includes going to the dentist regularly — not just once every three years, which is the average for most people!
What If I’m Ashamed of My Teeth Now? What Can I Do?
If you’re not already, certainly start by brushing and flossing every day and going to see your dentist. They may prescribe a certain kind of toothbrush, toothpaste, or mouthwash that can actively attack whatever’s wrong with your teeth. For example, a fluoride heavy mouthwash or a toothpaste with special cavity or plaque fighting properties might be good for your mouth.
If a simple trip to the dentist won’t help, you might want to ask them for a referral to a cosmetic dentist. Visiting a cosmetic dentist can often help you get a fresh start on the way your teeth look. For uneven teeth, you may get a retainer or braces to fix those — and adult braces are often clear now, if you’re embarrassed at having orthodontia at an older age. Teeth whitening procedures are especially popular — in the last five years, there’s been a 300% increase in visits to cosmetic dentists for that purpose. A cosmetic dentist can also help replace a missing tooth, reshape or contour teeth, and add veneers or crowns if needed.
Visiting your general dentist may cut down on the need for emergency dental care later on life, keep you cavity free, and make your overall smile and breath better! You’ll avoid any embarrassment over your smile and show off your pearly whites with pride. It’s not hard to practice good oral care — start today!