Healthy teeth and gums is imperative to your overall health, according to the Mayo Clinic Staff. The mouth is one of many areas of the body where bacteria is naturally present. These bacteria can be kept in control by practicing good oral health care such as brushing and flossing. However, poor oral hygiene can lead to an overgrowth of the bacteria and in turn may lead infections causing tooth decay and gum diseases. Protecting your teeth and gums from these infections with regular brushing and flossing should begin with your first tooth, however, it is never too late to get started.

Going to the dentist is commonly a person’s least favorite place to visit. Between 5% and 8% of Americans avoid dentists out of fear, estimates Peter Milgrom, DDS, director of the Dental Fears Research Clinic at the University of Washington in Seattle and author of Treating Fearful Dental Patients. (Sine, 2008) Many people attribute scary experiences as a child as to the reasons for their anxiety towards a dental visit. Other patient’s apprehension derives from the lack of control experienced while lying horizontal in the dentist chair and the vulnerability situation of having the dentist hovering over them, with their hands and dental tools in their mouth without being able to talk. The situation is overwhelming to some and intensifies their fear in the dentist.

In an ideal world everyone would be perfect in every form and fashion, including their teeth. There are measures that can be taken to make one endure their dental experience. Some dentists who specialize in treating fearful patients go out of their way to create a nonthreatening environment. Many “people have a fight-or-flight reaction” to the sights, sounds, and smells of a dental office, and taking away these cues has a calming effect. More often we are seeing dentist step away from scrubs and wear casual attire. A lot of dental offices offer a distraction of headphones with music or movies to enjoy while the dentist work is being done.

Being proactive by brushing and flossing effectively can help ensure healthy teeth and gums. Toothbrushes should have soft to medium bristles because hard bristle actually wear away tooth enamel. Brushing and flossing in the morning, after meals, and before bedtime is the most helpful tool in preventing tooth decay

In addition to brushing, fluoride treatments are valuable in dental health. Many toothpastes are enhanced with fluoride, moreover, dentists offer fluoride treatments to block bacteria from growing, causing tooth decay. Fluoride is also added to water plants so if you get your water from a well, a fluoride treatment may be needed.

Preventing tooth decay and gum disease before it starts is the most valuable tool a person can use to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Scheduling routine teeth cleanings and checkups are a sure way to safeguard against unpleasant tooth decay. In the long run, you are saving yourself time and money by staying on top of your oral heath, not to mention the stress and pain can be averted.