Dental Health and Wellness
Maintaining your dental health and wellness is important, not only for the health of your mouth, teeth and gums, but also for your overall wellness. As the well-respected Mayo Clinic states, “Your oral health is more important than you might realize . . . Did you know that your oral health offers clues about your overall health — or that problems in your mouth can affect the rest of your body? Protect yourself by learning more about the connection between your oral health and overall health.”
The Mayo Clinic lists several ways to protect your dental health and wellness, and we will explore each of them in more depth in this post.
- Brush your teeth regularly, at least twice daily, using a fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss your teeth every day.
- Rinse with approved mouth wash.
- Avoid the use of tobacco.
- Eat a well-balanced, healthy diet, limiting snacks between meals.
- Have regular dental cleanings and checkups.
- Contact your dentist as soon as you have any concerns about your dental health.
Before we begin, here’s an overview of what we mean by preventive dental care. Preventative care refers to caring for your teeth and gums, with the goal of preventing cavities, enamel wear on your teeth, gum disease and much more. Dental hygiene practices should begin with children as soon as the very first tooth becomes visible, and this type of hygiene should be taught to children at a young age so they can keep their teeth and gums healthy.
But, even if you didn’t practice preventive dental care as a child, or if it has been a long time since you have seen a dentist, everyone would benefit from starting today! Because the mouth contains bacteria—some of it harmful—a full and thorough evaluation from a dental professional is the first step to achieving a healthy mouth. Although an exam and regular plan for preventative treatment can’t guarantee that you won’t ever get cavities or gum disease, it is the very best way to help prevent these conditions from arising.
Now, here is more information about each of the preventive dental care strategies listed above...
How to brush your teeth
At a minimum, you should thoroughly brush your teeth twice a day. It can help to see a visual of how to brush your teeth, so here is a short video by the American Dental Association:
In short, brush for two minutes twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle to your gums and make short back and forth motions using gentle pressure. Make sure to brush all sides, including the chewing surface of every tooth. To brush the insides of your teeth, use a vertical (up and down) motion. Also brush your tongue to remove bacteria.
Take your time to help ensure that you’ve brushed each tooth as well as the adjacent gum area. We also recommend that, whenever possible, you should also brush after each meal. If that isn’t doable, then rinsing your mouth with water can help to wash away some of the particles that remain on your teeth after eating.
When you do brush, be sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, as this can prevent bacteria from adhering to teeth as well, which helps prevent decay. Also make sure you replace your brush as soon as it begins to show signs of wear. Even if it doesn’t show wear after three months, replace it, anyhow.
Many product manufacturers offer tips for choosing the right toothpaste and toothbrushes. As far as brushes, soft bristles are typically recommended to remove debris and plaque from teeth and gumlines. There are numerous shapes and sizes of brushes available on the market today, so select one that is comfortable for you, fitting your mouth well and allowing you to brush all teeth. If you have trouble getting your teeth clean with regular toothbrushes, considered a powered one.
As far as toothpaste, make sure – as mentioned before – that it contains fluoride. For your children, pick one that has a taste they like. When buying for adults, also consider whether you want your toothpaste to have a whitening component. If you have sensitive teeth, buying toothpaste that’s specially formulated to address that concern can be very helpful.
How to floss your teeth
Properly flossing once a day is one of the most important ways to maintain good dental health and wellness. It’s also the most common step that many people skip. Flossing your teeth is important because, while brushing helps to clean your teeth’s surfaces, flossing is what you do to clean the areas between your teeth. No matter what age, everyone can benefit from flossing. It is important to teach children healthy habits!
Here, you can watch a short video from the American Dental Association that shows how to floss your teeth:
Highlights of flossing your teeth include:
- Using about 18 inches of dental floss
- Wrapping each end around your middle fingers
- Using your thumb and forefinger to rub the floss gently up and down between each tooth
- Remembering to floss your back teeth, as well
Other options include flossers with small plastic handles and just the right amount of pre-measured floss available.
Correlation Between Smoking and Dental Health
An article in WebMD.com provides plenty of information about the negative affects that smoking has on dental health and wellness. This includes smoking cigarettes, cigars and pipes, as well as the newer smokeless options, with the article stating how “it appears that smoking interferes with the normal function of gum tissue cells. This interference makes smokers more susceptible to infections, such as periodontal disease, and also seems to impair blow flow to the gums – which may affect wound healing.”
Smoking can lead to discoloration of teeth, irritated gum tissue, salivary gland inflammation on the roof of your mouth, larger amounts of tooth tartar and plaque, periodontal bone loss, increased risk of tooth decay, sensitivity to hot and cold and much more. People who smoke have a lesser success rate if they need dental implants. And, tobacco products (including smokeless ones) contain at least 28 chemicals that can increase risks of cancer, including oral cancer, and that of the throat and esophagus.
If you smoke, talk to your doctor about the best way to quit.
Healthy Diet and Dental Health
People are often surprised to hear how much a healthy diet can play a positive role in dental health. For instance, large quantities of sugary or starchy food can cause a significant amount of plaque that can lead to tooth decay and periodontal disease. Regular consumption of large amounts of alcohol can also lead to dental problems.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics shares additional helpful information about how eating a healthy diet can assist in your oral health. For example, eat a variety of nutrient-rich foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, plus lean proteins, calcium-rich foods, and whole grains.
More specifically, calcium-rich foods such low-fat/fat-free milk, cheeses and yogurt, salmon, green leafy vegetables and more help with dental health and wellness. So do phosphorus-rich eggs, nuts, beans, fish and lean meat. For vitamin C (which promotes gum health), fresh citrus fruits, plus spinach, broccoli, potatoes and peppers are helpful. Limit snacking, especially sugary treats. Too frequent snacking of any variety can lead to acid attacks on your teeth.
Regularly Schedule Dental Care Appointments
Regular checkups are a key component of preventive dental care. Regular checkups:
- Can help to prevent dental issues from arising in the first place
- Allow your dentist to spot problems early on, when they are typically more easily and more affordably treated
- Are important because some medical conditions exhibit symptoms in the mouth
- Help to keep you healthier, overall
- Are important because continuity of care just makes sense in any health plan
At your dental checkups, you’ll discuss your medical history, especially any changes from the last visit, and your teeth will be cleaned and examined. Your dental team will monitor gum health as well as other important health checks. Sometimes, your dentist may take x-rays for a closer look at your dental health and wellness.
When to Contact a Dentist
This is a list, directly quoted from the American Dental Association, that describes when you should contact a dentist.
- Your teeth are sensitive to hot or cold
- Your gums are puffy and/or they bleed when you brush or floss
- You have fillings, crowns, dental implants, dentures, etc.
- You don’t like the way your smile or teeth look
- You have persistent bad breath or bad taste in your mouth
- You are pregnant
- You have pain or swelling in your mouth, face or neck
- You have difficulty chewing or swallowing
- You have a family history of gum disease or tooth decay
- You have a medical condition such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, eating disorders or are HIV positive
- Your mouth is often dry
With some of these conditions, this involves contacting your dentist in between your regularly-scheduled appointments.
Choosing a Dentist
When it comes to choosing a dentist, you’ll want one that you feel comfortable talking to, one who answers your questions and explains, step-by-step, what dental care is best for your needs. If necessary, he or she will also explain the best treatment plan for a tooth or gum issue that needs addressed.
You’ll also want a dental office that:
- Makes it easy to conveniently schedule appointments; if you’re looking for a Dayton dentist, Dr. Steve Sato offers convenient online dental appointment requests, and you can also call 937-226-1400
- Is conveniently located; Dr. Sato serves patients throughout the greater Dayton area in the Wright Health Building located at 1222 S. Patterson Blvd. in Dayton
More about Dr. Sato
Steve A. Sato, DDS is a highly respected Dayton dentist who provides the highest quality of dental care, including advanced dentistry, in a state-of-the-art environment. He and his caring team are focused on providing a comfortable atmosphere for all patients.
Dr. Sato has worked as a solo practitioner since 2004. He is a member of the American Dental Association. As a member of the American Dental Association, he is committed to abide by the highest ethical standards as stated in the association’s code of conduct. Dr. Sato is also a member of the Ohio Dental Association, Dayton Dental Society, and Academy of General Dentistry.
He is accepting new patients and, to make it even more convenient, you can find new patient registration forms online. If you click on the fillable registration form, you can fill it out on your computer and then click an email button to send your information to the office as an attachment. Or, you can download and print a form, fill it out by hand, and then bring it with you to your first appointment.
Dr. Sato also provides dental care for children, recommending that they start checkups at the age of three.
Dental Services Offered
Besides regular dental checkups, Dr. Sato offers:
- Cosmetic dentistry, such as Lumineers dental veneers
- Dental crowns
- Root canal therapy
- Dental fillings and composites
- Orthodontics: Six Month Smiles and clear teeth aligners
- Dental implants
- Tooth extractions
- Advanced dental care
Office hours are as follows:
- Monday: 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
- Tuesday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Wednesday: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Thursday: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
We are happy to schedule appointments during your lunch hour.
Dental Insurance Information
We are in network with:
- Delta Dental
- The Dental Health Alliance (selection of Assurant, Aetna, and United Concordia plans).
We process claims with any other PPO as an out-of-network benefit. We can’t, unfortunately, process HMO claims or accept patients with state-provided insurance (CareSource, Medicaid, Buckeye or Molina).