Memorial Day Weekend heralds the official start of summer, and for many of our patients, that means vacation time. Sandy beaches, cool mountain tops and family reunions beckon, and our team at Mitchell Dentistry wishes you a warm bon voyage – with one caveat: please remember your oral health while you are away.
We want to make sure you have fun and fond memories of your summertime travels, without the worry of a dental emergency or other oral health issues as a result of being away.
Here are 10 recommendations to make sure you have a great time, and return with your healthy smile intact:
BEFORE YOU GO
- Schedule a regular dental checkup before you head out for vacation. Wherever you’re going, you’ll be happy to have a clean, fresh professional cleaning before you go.
- Make sure to keep our contact information handy in your phone or datebook, In case of emergency while you’re out of town.
- Pack small – the more compact your oral hygiene items, the more likely you are to keep them handy – and use them. Opt for foldable toothbrushes, mini toothpaste and small bottles of mouthwash that will fit in your purse.
- Remember your electronic toothbrush. It may seem more cumbersome but they come with a travel case for a reason. Easy to pack into your suitcase, and so much better for your teeth in the long run!
WHILE YOU’RE TRAVELING
- Forgot your toothbrush? Rinse vigorously with water, or use toothpaste on your finger just to tide you over until you can buy one.
- Store your toothbrush in a sealable plastic bag for travel, but don’t forget to open the bag when you arrive to give your toothbrush ventilation, preventing against the growth of bacteria.
- Brush teeth with bottled water if you aren’t certain the local water is safe for drinking.
DURING THE VACAY
- Just as we try to keep up with our exercise regimen, it’s also a good idea to maintain oral health through twice a day massage of your gums and teeth by brushing and once a day flossing. Your summer will be worry free with a brighter smile!
- You will likely be drinking more fluids to compensate for sweating, and there is no better fluid for your body and teeth than plain water. Soda and lemonade taste good, but those acids and sugars will cause erosion and decay. Water is best!
- We all tend to snack more on vacation, but try to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, and watch out for high fructose corn syrup – it’s not good for your teeth, or your waistline.
And one bonus tip for those weekend warriors who are highly active and athletic on vacation: remember a mouth guard for those sports where your mouth is at risk for injury. We want you to bring your beautiful smile back to Southwest Florida!
As always, please call us with any questions or concerns. We love your feedback, so feel free to send your comments our way.
Best wishes for a happy, healthy summer from our Mitchell Dentistry family to yours!
All the best, Dr. Jim
A recent study by Gallup Well-Being shows that nearly a third of all American adults haven’t been to the dentist in the past year. The American Dental Association recommends that those with even the lowest risk of dental disease seek preventive dental care at least once a year. (at Mitchell Dentistry, we recommend seeing a dental professional every six months for optimal oral hygiene and preventative treatment).
- About 4.3 percent more women sought care than men.
- Married adults had visited the dentist at a higher percentage than those who were single, divorced or widowed.
- People within the two highest annual household income groups visited the dentist almost twice as much as those in the two lowest income groups.
- More seniors are seeing the dentist now than in 2008, up 4.3%.
- Adults ages 30 to 44 and ages 45 to 64 saw a reduction over the five-year period, with 64.2% and 66.7% of people in those age groups going to the dentist, respectively.
Why should you be concerned?
Several studies in the last 15 years have linked oral health to total bodily health, including reports by the United States Surgeon General. Poor oral health, especially for those unaware of the problem, can lead to several conditions that are actually preventable with an appropriate daily routine. However, if left untreated simple bacteria such as plaque can lead to gum disease.
Education and Prevention
Routine dental appointments not only provide the necessary therapy for vulnerable teeth, but also the education that is critical to the personal treatment and prevention of inflammation and bacteria growth in the mouth. The best and most cost effective method of treatment is prevention and that begins at your dentist office. Call us at 239.939.5556 to schedule an appointment.
Proper flossing removes plaque and food particles in places where a toothbrush cannot easily reach — under the gumline and between your teeth. Because plaque build-up can lead to tooth decay, gum disease and even periodontal, daily flossing is highly recommended. However, many people aren’t aware there is a proper technique to flossing, but we’re here to help!
- Starting with about 18 inches of floss, wind most of the floss around each middle finger, leaving an inch or two of floss to work with
- Holding the floss tautly between your thumbs and index fingers, slide it gently back and forth between your teeth
- Gently curve the floss around the base of each tooth, making sure you go beneath the gumline. Never snap or force the floss, as this may cut or bruise delicate gum tissue
- Use clean sections of floss as you move from tooth to tooth5
- To remove the floss, use the same back and forth motion to bring the floss up and away from the teeth
What Type of Floss Should I Use?
There are two types of floss from which to choose:
- Nylon (or multifilament) floss
- PTFE (monofilament) floss
Nylon floss is available waxed or unwaxed and in a variety of flavors. Because this type of floss is composed of many strands of nylon, it may sometimes tear or shred, especially between teeth with tight contact points. While more expensive, single filament (PTFE) floss slides easily between teeth, even those with tight spaces between teeth, and is virtually shred-resistant. When used properly, both types of floss are excellent at removing plaque and debris.