If you’re like a lot of people, you get into a cleaning sort of mindset when spring rolls around. Maybe you want to scrub out the fridge, purge the garage, or get the yard into great shape.
But have you thought about the importance of a “spring cleaning” for your mouth? There’s no better time to come in and make sure your teeth and gums are clean and healthy. If you’re due for a dental checkup and live in Albuquerque, NM, call Uptown Dental Associates at 505-407-8781.
Twice-Yearly Dental Visits Keep Your Mouth Healthy
You may wonder why you need to visit us when your teeth look great, your gums are pink and firm, and you don’t feel any pain in your mouth. Well, even if you do a great job with your oral hygiene at home, your toothbrush has its limitations. Here is what happens when you come for a cleaning and examination at Uptown Dental Associates.
One of our skilled but gentle hygienists will give your mouth a comprehensive cleaning. We have special tools that enable us to remove sticky plaque and tough tartar that you just can’t reach with your toothbrush and floss at home. The biting surfaces of your teeth contain grooves smaller that a single toothbrush bristle. We can also painlessly clean beneath your gumline — essential for staving off gum disease.
We will expertly floss your teeth, and can offer tips for effective flossing at home. After cleaning your teeth, we will polish them. Your teeth will feel and look shiny and new!
After the cleaning portion of your checkup, Dr. Shepherd or Dr. Rasmussen will give your mouth a thorough examination. We will probe your teeth for signs of decay and your gums for swelling, redness, and other symptoms of gingivitis. Gum disease often sneaks up without you even realizing it, and early detection is important.
The doctor will screen you for oral cancer, check your bite, and inspect your enamel for wear due to clenching and grinding. There are many factors that make up your oral health, and we look at them all.
We may take digital X-rays of your teeth. These highly detailed images enable us to see what is going on below the surface: abscesses, impacted teeth, cysts, tumors, and problems with the jaw bone. They may also reveal hidden cavities — like those between the teeth.
Services for Continued Dental Health
Uptown Dental Associates offers several optional preventive services that are intended to help keep your and your family’s mouths healthy throughout the year.
While sealants may be used on people of all ages, they are primarily recommended for children. And they are enormously beneficial. The Centers for Disease Control states that kids who don’t have sealants have three times more cavities than their peers with sealants. A sealant is a coating that is applied to the back molars of the teeth, creating a protective barrier that prevents bacteria and they destructive acids they produce from accessing the enamel.
The process is simple and painless. After the teeth are cleaned and dried, we prepare them by applying an acidic gel. This create a rough surface that enables the sealant to bond with the enamel. After rinsing off the gel and drying the teeth again, we paint on the sealant and harden it with a special light.
While sealants are not a replacement for good oral hygiene and regular dental visits, they are an extra layer of protection for your and your kids’ teeth. You can expect your sealants to last for several years.
There are a lot of myths about fluoride. That it’s dangerous. Bad for our health. That it’s unnecessary. The truth is that fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that is critical for the health of your teeth because it strengthens the enamel and makes it resistant to harmful bacterial acids. Fluoride and other essential minerals, like calcium and phosphorus, are continually shed from your enamel in a process called demineralization. So you must replenish them in a process called remineralization. Failure to do so will make you susceptible to tooth decay.
You may get fluoride through fortified tap water, toothpaste, and mouthwash. And at Uptown Dental Associates, we offer fluoride treatments that ensure you and your family are getting enough.
Once you leave our office, your dental health is entirely in your hands for another six months. And what you eat can have a huge impact on the state of your mouth. We are happy to counsel you on good and bad food choices for your teeth and gums. Here are a few guidelines:
- Avoid sweet, sticky, or gummy sweets. Their texture causes them to get lodged in the grooves of the teeth, where they feed bacteria that produce acids that destroy your tooth enamel. This includes obvious culprits like gummy candies, but also chewy granola bars and even dried fruits.
- Hard candies are another no-no. When they dissolve in your mouth, they create a sugary slurry that coats your mouth and settles into the nooks and crannies of your teeth.
- Load up on dairy products. Dairy is an excellent source of calcium, which is critical for creating the strength and structure of your teeth. Cheese in particular has been shown to raise the pH level of the mouth. This discourages the proliferation of harmful bacteria that wear down your enamel. One caveat: avoid dairy products that are high in sugar, like some yogurts and flavored milk.
- Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and watercress are awesome for your overall health and oral health specifically. They are an excellent source of tooth-strengthening calcium. They also contain folic acid, which has been shown to reduce inflammation in your gums and make them more resistant to damage from bacteria and plaque. Getting adequate folic acid is especially important for pregnant women.