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Oral Health Tips

Updated on October 3, 2022

Best Practices for Healthy Teeth

Elena Borrelli
Written by 
Alyssa Hill
Medically Reviewed by Elena Borrelli
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Taking care of your teeth and gums is essential in preventing issues like cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss. Here are some best practices: 

  • Clean your mouth in this order before bed: floss, brush, tongue scrape, and then rinse with mouthwash
  • Brush your teeth twice a day 
  • Use fluoride toothpaste to strengthen enamel and prevent cavities
  • Floss and rinse with mouthwash once a day 
  • Don’t overuse whitening products (this can erode enamel)
  • Opt for an electric toothbrush over a manual toothbrush for a deeper clean
  • Choose soft-bristle toothbrush heads (medium to hard bristles can damage gum tissue and enamel)
  • Get routine teeth cleanings and dental exams (twice a year)
  • Limit sugary, processed, and acidic foods and drinks
  • Prevent tooth discoloration by limiting coffee, tea, and other dark-colored drinks
  • Wear a nightguard if you grind your teeth at night (bruxism) 
  • Don’t smoke or chew tobacco

How Does Oral Health Affect General Health? 

A healthy mouth is essential for a healthy body. On the other hand, an unhealthy mouth can lead to health problems in other areas of the body.

Tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption, and/or unhealthy diets cause the oral cavity and body to deteriorate over time. General health conditions can also worsen your oral health standing. 

Common medical issues associated with poor oral health include:

  • Heart disease 
  • Diabetes
  • Weakened immune system
  • Stroke
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Cancer (tobacco) 
  • Osteoporosis
  • Birthing complications

What Does Dental Insurance Cover?

Dentist visits and treatments can be expensive without insurance. This is why many people neglect professional dental care, which can lead to issues over time. 

Fortunately, there are many plans available to fit any lifestyle and budget. Alternative options, like dental discount plans, are also available. These plans offer discounted rates on services provided by dentists within the customer’s network. 

Many insurance companies follow the “100-80-50” plan, which covers:

  • 100 percent of regular preventive care, such as teeth cleanings, dental exams, and fluoride treatment
  • 80 percent of basic procedures, such as dental fillings, extractions, and root canals
  • 50 percent of major procedures, such as bridges, implants, and crowns

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the proper way to floss your teeth?

Floss your teeth at least once a day, preferably before going to sleep. Also, always floss your teeth before brushing your teeth. Floss loosens any food particles between teeth, which allows the toothbrush to wash them away efficiently.

Why do dentists recommend using fluoride?

Fluoride is a well-studied dental health supplement. It strengthens tooth enamel and prevents cavities. It also fights harmful bacteria in the mouth that can lead to gum disease and other oral health problems.

Why are routine teeth cleanings and dental exams so important?

Professional teeth cleanings remove plaque, tartar, and stains from teeth that can’t be removed with a regular toothbrush. This ensures your teeth and mouth stay healthy long-term.

Dental exams and X-rays check for any changes in your oral health. They allow dentists to diagnose and treat any issues early on.

What are the benefits of dental insurance?

Dental insurance reduces the costs of some dental services that may otherwise be outside your budget. Insurance also comes in handy for emergency cases and if you need any minor or major procedures.

What is a dental discount plan? Should you get one?

Dental discount plans work like club memberships. You’ll pay an annual fee and receive discounts on dental services throughout the membership course. You only pay for dental services when you need them.

If you can’t afford insurance or don’t want to pay monthly, this is an excellent alternative. Discount dental plans also don’t require you to fill out paperwork or claims, and there aren’t any restrictions.

Is a water flosser or string floss better?

Most dentists still recommend string floss over water flossers. But both are effective in removing plaque, bacteria, and food particles between teeth.

Key Terms

Best Dental Insurance Plans

Connection Between General and Oral Health

Dental Anxiety (Dentophobia)

Is Fluoride Safe?

Best Dental Insurance Plans

Dental insurance coverage varies between insurance companies. For example, dental insurance plans can cover individuals, families, or groups, such as employees.
Learn More:
Dental Insurance Plans

Connection Between General and Oral Health

Poor oral hygiene raises the risk of developing oral health issues. This includes cavities, gingivitis, periodontal disease, and more. General health and lifestyle choices can also positively or negatively impact your oral health.
Learn More:
Oral Health and Overall Health

Dental Anxiety (Dentophobia)

Dental anxiety, or dentophobia, is a deep fear (phobia) of going to the dentist. Many people experience some level of anxiety about the dentist. But some avoid going to the dentist altogether, which can cause problems.
Learn More:
Laser Teeth Whitening: How It Works & Costs

Is Fluoride Safe?

The use of fluoride in preventing tooth decay is supported by many national and worldwide healthcare organizations. However, at high levels, the mineral can cause serious health problems.
Learn More:
What Is Fluoride & Is It Safe?
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