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Having healthy teeth is essential to a person’s overall health. Poor oral health can affect diabetes, heart disease, and can cause inflammation.  Because daily dental concerns are so important to the health of their teeth, patients will often have many questions and concerns regarding dental care in relation to their overall health.  Just some of the dental questions answered, include the best products and methods, the fear of visiting the dentist, the cost of visiting a dentist or hygienist, and practices such as dental x-rays during visits

How Often Should I Brush My Teeth?

It is recommended that patients brush their teeth at least twice a day: once in the morning and once at night.  This along with flossing and the use of mouth wash helps to remove unwanted plaque and bacteria throughout the day.

What Are The Best Products?

Each patient’s mouth will be different and thus they will need different products from other patients such as toothpastes and toothbrushes, but some of the best overall dentist recommended products include:

  • Toothpastes with the American Dental Association’s (ADA) Seal of Acceptance and fluoride included in the product to help prevent cavities.  Some brands with both are Colgate, Crest, and Tom’s of Maine
  • Toothbrushes with soft bristles are better at removing plaque than hard bristles and should cover two teeth at a time when brushing.  Brands that approved by the ADA include Colgate, Reach, and Rainer.
  • Mouthwashes can be used for specific reasons for each patient: teeth whitening, fresh breath, or helping to reduce tooth decay and gingivitis.  Whatever your need or top concern is you should make sure that your mouthwash includes the following ingredients:
  • Antimicrobial agents
  • Fluoride
  • Astringent salts
  • Odor neutralizers

What if I’m Afraid to Visit to the Dentist?

Whether you visit a dentist just once a year or for a certain procedure; it is very common for people to be afraid of the dentist. Especially if you are visiting a new dentist, a common solution is for the patient and dentist to sit down together to talk to get to know each other and the patients concerns about dental procedures. If you are afraid of the metal objects, drills, or other dental equipment ask if you can look at them first or how they are used so you can become more familiar with them. Along with drills, loud noise can come into place and bringing ear plugs with you to your dental visit can help reduce the noise. If you find it difficult to breathe through your mouth and nose during the dental procedure, nose strips can help your ability to breathe and can make your visit more relaxing.

To help ease a patient’s anxiety during a visit, dentists can do several things:

  • Use humor, but have good judgment as well to what the patient may find or not find funny.
  • If necessary take breaks during dental procedures, especially during extensive visits.
  • Ask a patient to notify you (such as raising their hand) if they feel any pain or are uncomfortable. 

What if I Cannot Afford to Visit a Dentist?

Many people find it difficult to afford a visit to the dentist if they do not have insurance to cover the cost. Because annual dentist check-ups are very helpful for your overall health, there are fortunately several ways to make visiting the dentist more affordable.

You can search for reduced payment plans by discussing your finances with a dentist. Some services will reduce rates to better match what your income can provide. Search online for coupons or dental plans. These discounts and plans can help you better afford basic services such as cleanings and fillings.

Look for services at local universities and dental schools. Dental students will need a number of hours and completion of certain procedures to become certified dentists. Clinical trials to test the quality of procedures will offer free services in return for participants. Not sure if you trust a dentist in training to look at your teeth? Each procedure is overseen by a licensed dentist or hygienist.

Visit a non-profit organization or look for hosted events.  In your local community, events might be held to provide dental care where dentists will bring their equipment and donate their time and skills to those who need it.

How Safe Are Dental X-Rays?

In order for dentists and hygienists to have a better understanding of the dental health of their patients, several x-rays from either side of the mouth may be taken during a visit. X-rays can help detect early stages of disease such as cavities and gingivitis that is otherwise difficult to see by eyes alone.

To help reduce exposure to already low-levels of radiation as by ADA guidelines, patients’ abdominals and thyroid collars are covered by a protective lead apron. E or F speed film, two of the quickest film speeds available, are used as well during the x-ray.

When it comes to visiting the dentist, a patient may have many questions and concerns about their dental health and visits. Hopefully this has helped to have some of your dental questions answered, but a visit to the dentist can help to best meet your individual dental needs and concerns.