People are often shy about asking their dentist questions, but you shouldn’t be. I can assure you we really like that you’re interested in the health of your teeth. Besides, the truth is there’s probably nothing you can ask us that we haven’t heard before.
Most people know the basics of maintaining good oral health such as brushing and flossing, of course. But many folks still have questions about tooth care and dental procedures.
This makes sense since, if I’m being honest here, going to the dentist isn’t anyone’s favorite activity.
But like most things, the more you know about it, the less intimidating it will be. When you know what to expect, you’re much less likely to feel stressed about your next dental appointment.
6 dental questions you were always afraid to ask
I’ve compiled a list of the top 6 questions I hear most as a dentist along with the answers inquiring minds want to know…
Question #1: What causes my bad breath & how do I get rid of it?
Let’s face it, bad breath is probably the most embarrassing dental health issue any one of us has to deal with.
Technically called halitosis, people are often so embarrassed by this common issue that they even have a hard time asking their dentist about it!
In my experience, folks usually feel a sense of guilt about their bad breath—as if they have somehow failed—and they often fear it’s something they will never be able to control. Well let’s toss that guilt where it belongs, in the trash.
Bad breath isn’t your “fault,” but there are several common causes of halitosis and chances are your case is the result of one of them. This is great news, because it also means there are a couple of effective solutions that can help you put your bad breath behind you once and for all.
- Food and drink like garlic, onion, coffee, and alcohol
- Not brushing and flossing often enough
- Health issues such sinus infections, pneumonia, bronchitis, postnasal drip, acid reflux, and diabetes
- Some medications
- Step up your oral hygiene routine. Be sure to brush for 2 minutes at least twice a day and floss at least once a day.
- Stash mints, a travel sized mouthwash, or even a travel toothbrush and toothpaste set in your bag, briefcase or pocket. These are great for quick breath freshening after snacks and meals or anytime you feel self-conscious about your breath.
- Drink LOTS of water. Dry mouth is often the culprit behind bad breath. Keeping yourself well hydrated can stop halitosis before it starts.
- Give up smoking.
- If you’re still experiencing bad breathe visit your dentist for guidance. You may have an underlying infection or a medication you are on may be to blame
Question #2: How can I whiten my teeth?
Everyone wants a beautiful, white smile so this is one we get asked pretty often. The truth is there’s no one single way to achieve white teeth that’s best for everyone.
It really depends on three things…
- your teeth,
- the results you’re looking for,
- and the financial commitment you want to make.
You can always start with home whitening kits that are available at the drugstore, but keep in mind that the results won’t be as fast, dramatic or lasting as they would be with a professional treatment from your dentist. And it’s very important that you follow directions carefully to make sure that you don’t damage your teeth in any way.
If you try home whitening and aren’t pleased with the results, go in for a consultation with your dentist to find out what your other options are.
Question #3: So exactly what is a cavity and how will you fix it?
Most of us have experienced at least one cavity in our lifetime, but many people aren’t exactly sure what they are. And unfortunately since folks often feel as if it’s something they should know, they are too embarrassed to simply ask their dentist.
But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. A cavity is, very simply, a small hole in your tooth.
The hole is caused by decay eating away at your tooth over time. The solution is a filling, which is exactly what it sounds like. The small hole is literally filled up with a strong material to maintain the healthy structure of the tooth.
Question #4: Are electric toothbrushes really any better?
Yes, electric toothbrushes are better than manual brushing. Or really I should say they can be better.
Electric toothbrushes can be more effective for some people simply because they automatically handle effective brushing and have built in timers. They essentially take human error out of the equation.
However, if you brush well and brush long enough a manual brush can be just as effective.
Question #5: What’s the difference between plaque and tartar?
Plaque is a bacteria deposit that forms on the surface of your teeth. It is a colorless, sticky substance formed from food and saliva that’s deposited at the place where teeth meet gums. Plaque can be removed with brushing and flossing every day.
Tartar on the other hand is hardened plaque that was never brushed away as it should have been. And unlike plaque, it can only be removed by a dentist. Both can cause serious problems if left on teeth, which is why it’s so important to regularly visit the dentist.
Question #6: Is it too late to fix my crooked teeth?
No! It’s never too late to improve the health or appearance of your teeth.
Whether you haven’t been to the dentist in years, never had the orthodontics you needed or had your straight teeth shift as you got older, you can always do something to make it better.
The best news it that with every passing year, there are more and better options out there both for dental health treatments and cosmetic procedures. So don’t ever be afraid to go see a dentist, let them know what’s bothering you and ask what can be done to help.
Still got questions? Don’t be afraid to ask!
I hope I’ve helped answer some of the questions you’ve always wanted to ask your dentist, but were afraid to ask.
But if you still have more questions or concerns about your dental health, the very best thing to do is to make an appointment to see your dentist. She will be more than happy to provide the answers and treatment you need.
She is also an avid blogger who loves sharing her expertise and advice for preventative care with readers in a variety of online publications. For more, visit www.1MagSmile.com.
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