If you haven’t been to the dentist in years the thought of going back can cause anxiety. If you have been avoiding the dentist out of fear or embarrassment those feelings can continue to get in the way of you getting the care you need. But sometimes the need for dental care can override those negative emotions – especially if you are in pain. If you haven’t been to the dentist in years there are a few things you can do to get back in the routine of getting the oral care you need.
Schedule a routine dental checkup
The first step to take if you haven’t been to the dentist in years is to schedule an appointment. You may have to wait a few days or a couple of weeks to get an appointment that works with your schedule. You can take that time to work through some of the issues that have been holding you back from going to the dentist all this time. The type of appointment you need to schedule is a routine dental checkup. Your dentist will need to assess the current condition of your teeth and gums before getting started on the process of fixing any issues.
Remember that dentists work with a wide range of patients
There are a number of issues that can hold people back from going to the dentist. Fear of pain and a general fear of the dentist are both common factors that hold people back. Some people are concerned about the potential cost of dental work. Another potential factor is embarrassment about the condition of your teeth. No matter what has been holding you back, it is very likely that your dentist has encountered patients with the same issue. Remember, dentists work with a wide range of patients including those who struggle with fear, anxiety, and embarrassment. Dentists are there to help and will be focused on helping you get your oral health back on track – and not on judging you.
Be open about the last time you received dental care
As you prepare for your first dental appointment in years, resolve to be open about the last time you received dental care. Tell your dentist the truth about your current oral care routine. Being honest about these elements will help your dentist identify ways that you can improve your oral health going forward.
Commit to going to routine visits from here on out
The final thing you should do if you haven’t been to the dentist in years is to commit to going to routine visits from here on out. You need to break the cycle of missing routine dental appointments. Before you leave your upcoming appointment, schedule the next one. This simple step can help you keep up with your routine dental appointments in the future.
Kids can learn in a number of different ways. If you want your kids to learn about good oral hygiene you can give them information to read or listen to from experts on the topic. You can also ask their dentist to emphasize the important of good oral hygiene during appointments. But, as a parent, the most effective way you can teach your kids about good oral hygiene is by modeling it for them. Your kids will see your actions in relation to oral hygiene and (hopefully) learn some good habits.
Talk about how the foods you eat impact your teeth
As an adult, you know that there are certain foods and substances that can have a negative impact on your teeth. Some foods make decay more likely while others can damage enamel when consumed in excess. And, there are foods that can provide important nutrients for teeth. Talk about these things around your kids. If you are having a piece of candy, mention the fact that you will brush extra well before bed to get rid of the sugar on your teeth. When you pile veggies on you plate point out how vitamin-rich foods are good for the health of your teeth. Making these connections between diet and oral health is a way to model good food choices to your kids.
Enforce the routine of brushing and flossing for your kids
Every family has those nights or mornings when everyone is exhausted and it is tempting to skip the routine of brushing and flossing in favor of heading straight to bed or out the door. This is especially tempting when kids are in a stage where they fuss about having to brush and floss. These difficult nights give you the opportunity to model the true importance of consistent oral care. If you enforce the routine of brushing and flossing for your kids – even on the tough nights or mornings – it can help them develop the habit of proper oral care in all situations.
Let your kids see you brush and floss
In order to model good oral hygiene to your kids you need to let them see you brush and floss from time to time. It is not practical to make this happen every evening when you go to bed later than the kids. But you can likely make it happen from time to time. There is a time during childhood when kids want to do everything like the adults in their lives – take advantage of that when it comes to proper oral care! Let your kids see your process, share your toothpaste, or get matching toothbrushes. Little things like this can model good oral hygiene to your kids.
Make the dentist a family affair
Going to the dentist regularly is an important part of proper oral care. You can share this fact with your kids by making the dentist a family affair. Find a dentist who can provide care to your whole family. You can schedule appointments in such a way that your kids see you making them a priority in your own life.
It takes time for a habit to really become established for a child. Modeling good oral hygiene is something you will need to do for several years for the habits to stick for your children. It is not a complicated process but it does require consistency.
There are a number of reasons why your oral health may get off track. Life is busy and sometimes the small oral care tasks you should do each day get neglected. Less frequent oral care tasks – such as getting routine dental checkups – can be easy to forget when they only happen a couple times per year. If your oral health got off track – for whatever reason – it is important to take the necessary steps to get it back on track. Poor oral health can lead to pain, illness, and tooth loss. Taking steps to improve your oral health can help you avoid the negative consequences of neglecting the care of your teeth and gums.
Improve the quality of your daily oral care routine
Daily routines can suffer over time if you are not intentional with your efforts. This is especially true when it comes to oral care. You have been brushing and flossing since childhood and it is easy to forget that the way you carry out those tasks impacts the quality of your oral health. How frequently you brush and floss as well as how you do each are important. If you skip out on brushing from time to time it can allow plaque and tartar to build up on your teeth. Flossing is an oral care task that many people allow to fall to the wayside. Skipping out on flossing altogether puts your gums at risk for disease and your teeth at risk for decay. If you want to get your oral health back on track you must establish and maintain a high-quality oral care routine. Brushing twice per day and flossing at least once are the bare minimum that you need to do to start properly caring for your oral health.
Go to a routine dental checkup
Routine dental checkups are an essential element of proper oral care. You cannot maintain high-quality oral health over the span of your life if you never go to routine dental checkups. During these dental visits you get your teeth cleaned, have plaque and tartar removed, and get checked for any signs of trouble. Routine dental visits can help you prevent issues and catch problems before they escalate any further. Going to a routine dental checkup will help you get your oral health back on track.
Follow through with necessary dental work
If your dentist finds issues during your routine dental checkup the next step is to follow through with the necessary dental work. Any type of dental work you need completed will have to be done during subsequent dental visits. It can be difficult to fit in additional appointments but if your goal is to improve your oral health, you must address issues such as cavities, gum disease, and tooth damage.
Poor oral hygiene over a long period of time will have a number of negative consequences. The only way to keep your teeth and gums healthy is to be consistent with your oral care routine. If you regularly skip out on all or part of proper oral care tasks like brushing, flossing, and going to preventative appointments then you will experience negative consequences such as tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath, tooth loss, and potentially other health issues.
Tooth decay is typically the first issue that people think of in relation to poor oral hygiene. As kids we all learn that we will get cavities if we eat too much candy and don’t brush our teeth. Decay is still a potential problem in adulthood and can be caused by the things you consume every day. Bacteria in your mouth can interact with elements in the food you eat and cause decay. If you fail to brush, floss, and visit the dentist regularly you can expect to have issues with decay. Once tooth decay begins it will continue to worsen until you take steps to stop the spread.
Gum disease is a serious potential consequence of poor oral hygiene. Food particles and bacteria between your teeth and at the gumline can irritate your gums and lead to gum disease. Tartar near the gumline can also lead to problems. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that will progress to a more serious type of gum disease called periodontitis. If you do not take steps to protect your gums from disease you will experience pain, bleeding, receding gums, and potentially tooth loss. You can keep your gums healthy with basic oral hygiene habits like brushing and flossing.
Some people experience bad breath despite their good oral hygiene routine. In those cases, the bad breath is caused by another underlying factor. But the reality is that most persistent bad breath is a result of poor oral hygiene. There is no way to keep your breath smelling fresh without brushing and flossing regularly.
One of the most serious consequences of poor oral hygiene is tooth loss. Losing teeth because of decay or gum disease is often accompanied by pain and discomfort. And, when you lose teeth it also results in a loss of functionality. The solutions for tooth loss include options such as dental implants, bridges, and dentures.
Other health issues
Poor oral hygiene can also lead to other health issues that seem totally unrelated. For example, an infection in your gums can potentially spread and cause infection in other areas of your body. Poor oral hygiene has also been linked to other serious health issues like cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
The negative consequences of poor oral hygiene are far reaching and can be long-lasting. You can avoid a lot of pain by taking consistent and proper care of your teeth. And, as a bonus, proper oral care can also help you keep your teeth looking good. If you need help getting your oral health back under control, schedule an appointment at Dental Remedies.