Take Care of Your Smile

Louis Armstrong once said, “When you smile, the world smiles with you.” When someone smiles at you, it’s hard not to smile back. Smiles help us express joy, or make us feel better when we are not joyful. It makes sense for us to protect something that is so important to our lives.

There are some easy ways to take care of your smile.

  • Keep good brushing habits. Brush your teeth for two minutes at least twice each day. Floss at least once each day.
  • Don’t eat sugary food, snacks, and drinks. Sugar can cause bacteria and speed up decay. It can also cause bad breath! Eat a balanced diet, filled with fruits and vegetables. Foods that are high in Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Calcium, and Beta-Carotene (Vitamin A) are great for your teeth!
  • Stay hydrated drink lots of water!
  • Avoid tobacco.
  • Visit your regular dentist at least twice each year. If you are at a higher risk for oral diseases, your dentist may suggest you visit more often.

Oral health is more than just your teeth! The health of your mouth is linked to the rest of your body, too. Taking care of your teeth can help your overall quality of life. It can also affect school/work performance, social interactions, and self-esteem.

  • The bacteria in your mouth can lead to increased risk of heart disease and stroke. The bacteria can enter your blood vessels and form a blood clot, which blocks blood flow through your arteries, leading to heart attacks or stroke. If you are at a high risk for heart disease, gum disease can make it worse.
  • People with higher levels of gum disease are twice as likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. Bacteria can impact your body’s blood sugar regulation.
  • Good oral hygiene cuts the risk of lung disease, such as pneumonia or other respiratory illness. One in 10 deaths from pneumonia in older adults in could be prevented with good oral care.
  • Studies are also looking at the link between gum disease and memory loss among adults. Gum disease has a significant effect on brain function.
  • Alcohol and tobacco, especially when combined, can create a larger risk for oral and throat cancers.

Routine brushing and flossing, plus regular check-ups by your dentist are the easiest forms for preventative oral care and could save you thousands of dollars in expensive treatments. Having a dental home can help stop problems before they become much bigger. Dental health is a part of your whole-health, so your dentist should be a part of your health care team.

Four Corners Forever Smiles program offers preventative dental services is daycares, preschools, schools, and assisted living facilities. Dental screenings, oral cancer screenings, cleaning/polishing, sealants, and fluoride varnishes can be offered, depending on the age of the patient. These services are not meant to replace regular dental visits, but can help prevent problems between visits to your dentist. If there is an obvious problem, our team will refer you to a dentist for further investigation. If you would like us to visit your facility, please contact Four Corners Health Department to set that up. If you, or a loved one, attend or reside in one of the types of facilities we can visit, contact your school nurse or administrator to ask if there a dental screening day planned.

If you need help finding a dental home or resources for dental services, Four Corners would love to help. To learn more about Four Corners Forever Smiles, visit https://fourcorners.ne.gov/programs-services-2/oral-health/. For more information on oral health, or activities for your children, visit the Nebraska Office of Oral Health https://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/Dental-Health.aspx. Take care of your smile. You will use it every day of your life!