Ace your next dental exam by studying tips

  • Published
  • By Capt. Daniel Lapidus
  • 71st Medical Operations Squadron Dental Clinic
Visiting the dentist doesn't have to be daunting experience. By practicing a few simple and inexpensive steps, people can improve their dental health while making their trip to the dentist chair an uneventful one.

After brushing your teeth, don't rinse. 

This may sound strange, but after spending two to five minutes exposing your teeth to multiple cleaning and strengthening compounds, why would you want to wash them away before they have had time to work? Instead, don't rinse, eat or drink for 30 minutes and get the full benefits from your efforts.

If you chew gum or mints, pay attention to the ingredients. 

Recent research has shown that the sugar substitute Xylitol actually fights cavities. So by chewing sugar-free gum with Xylitol as the main sugar substitute, you are helping fight cavities in two ways: first you aren't feeding the bacteria sugar, and second, Xylitol actually fights the bacteria.

Drink, don't sip your soda. 

From a dental standpoint, it is better to drink a soda in one sitting than to sip on it over the course of a day, even if this means you drink more than one sugary drink per day. After taking a sip of any sugary substance, it takes 30 minutes for your body to neutralize the harmful effects. If you drink one soda in 30 minutes, 30 minutes later your mouth will be neutralized. If you take one sip every 30 minutes you'll be doing harm to your teeth all day long. If you insist on drinking a little at a time, keep a water bottle handy and take a sip after you drink that juice or soda.

Brush your whole mouth, not just your teeth. 

Teeth are only 25 percent of your mouth; by brushing your tongue, gums and the roof of your mouth you will decrease the amount of bacteria and freshen your breath.

Buy a new toothbrush. 

Sounds like common sense, but most people do not replace their toothbrush often enough. If the bristles aren't standing straight up it is time for a new brush. While you're at it, buy floss, and if you're feeling really adventurous: mouthwash. Total annual cost of dental supplies is about $17 - keeping your teeth ... priceless.

For more information about dental health, call the Vance Dental Clinic at 213-7307.