6 Ways to Make Your and Your Family’s Smiles Strong, Beautiful, and Healthy

Watching your children grow and your parents age is a strange place to be, as you simultaneously guide your children toward healthy habits and offer your parents the support or care they may need to maintain their health and well-being. Sandwiched between two generations with different health needs, you may feel more aware of the ways you want to improve or maintain your own health and appearance, so you can keep showing up fully in your life and for your family.

With almost half of the adult population over 30 experiencing some form of periodontal disease, the health of your gums is likely one of those areas catching your attention. Perhaps you’ve noticed your gums are tender or quick to bleed, or that your teeth look longer as your gum tissue has started to recede. Even if your gums are healthy, you may have seen the impact that gum disease has had on your parents’ smile and well-being and want to prevent issues in yourself and in your kids.

Here are 6 ways you can love the teeth you’re with and make your and your family’s smiles strong, beautiful, and healthy for life.

1. Establish good oral hygiene habits.

Maintaining and achieving teeth you love and great oral health mostly results from the oral hygiene habits that you practice regularly, namely twice-daily brushing and flossing. Though it can feel tempting to skip your oral hygiene routine if you’re feeling tired, overwhelmed, or busy, making these habits non-negotiable can save you from preventable oral health consequences (and the time and money it costs to correct them).

If you’re struggling to brush and floss regularly, consider switching up your routine. You might try flossing during your lunch break or consider brushing and flossing your teeth straight after dinner instead of waiting until right before bed.

2. Be choosy about your family dentist.

You can (and should) set the bar high when it comes to your expectations of family dentistry and general preventative care. When you are comfortable with and confident in your family dentist, you’re more likely to keep up with the twice-annual visits that prevent and detect common dental issues, like cavities and periodontitis, in their earliest stages. Your dentist can also advise you on the restorative and cosmetic procedures that will maintain, restore, or enhance your smile’s health, function, and appearance.

As you’re researching which dentist is right for you and your family, look for a dentist with good reviews, recommendations, and credentials, so you can take care of common oral health issues before they become big issues and enjoy an ongoing positive dental experience. The right dentist can help you learn about your best techniques for prevention, and provide the treatments that enable you to restore where necessary.

3. Visit your dentist at least twice annually.

Did you know that only your dental team can remove the plaque and tartar deposits that are the most common cause of gum disease? So if you’ve been skipping out on routine dental visits, take a moment and consider what’s holding you back, such as cost or time. While these reasons are valid, skipping out on your dental visits now can result in needing more expensive and time-consuming dental treatments later. Untreated oral health issues can ultimately contribute to tooth loss, low self-esteem, and serious health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, erectile dysfunction, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Investing in your oral health now can help you protect your teeth, overall health, and long-term finances. As you look for a dentist who is the best fit for your family’s needs, look for a practice that’s near your home or workplace and offers ways to save on treatment, such as memberships plans. Along with making routine preventative care more affordable for you and your kids, many membership plans cover the extra maintenance appointments you might need to treat gingivitis or periodontitis.

4. Get screened for oral cancer.

Every year, over 51,000 Americans are diagnosed with cancer of the mouth (oral cancer) and throat (pharyngeal cancer). As with all types of cancer, early detection dramatically improves the odds of successful treatment and increases survival rates. The overall survival rate for oral and pharyngeal cancers is 65%, though that survival rate jumps to 85% in patients who are diagnosed before cancerous cells have the chance to spread to surrounding tissues or organs.

As symptoms are often subtle and mild, oral and pharyngeal cancers are very difficult to detect on your own—but not for your dentist. Combining years of extensive training and modern technology, your dentist can detect oral cancer in its earliest stages and help ensure you get the treatment you need as quickly as possible. Receiving this life-saving screening, which is usually conducted during routine exams and cleanings, is as simple as scheduling your next dental visit.

5. Stomp out periodontitis before it happens (and get on top of it if it does).

If your teeth are the stars of your smile’s health, function, and beauty, your periodontal tissues (gums, periodontal ligament, and alveolar bone) are the stage that allows the show to take place. Your periodontal tissues are solely responsible for holding your teeth in place and also have the all-important job of preventing bacteria from entering your bloodstream. Tobacco use, poor oral hygiene, some health conditions, and pregnancy can compromise your gum health and, if left untreated, advance into periodontal disease, which impacts 85% of adults over 45 and is the leading cause of adult tooth loss.

If your gums are showing signs of distress—such as redness, swelling, bad breath, or bleeding with brushing and flossing—your dentist can help you reclaim your oral health, prevent tooth loss, and experience better overall health with periodontal therapy. With timely treatment, you can save your natural teeth and prevent having to one day face the treatment cost of dental implants or dentures.

6. Invest in your smile’s appearance.

Though great oral health is a worthy priority at every age, your smile is as much about function as it is about form. Put another way: yes, your smile is essential for chewing, eating, and speaking, but it’s equally valuable for contributing to your sense of self and self-esteem. So if your gums and teeth are healthy, but you just don’t love your smile’s alignment, shape, or shade, cosmetic dentistry can help you enhance your smile’s appearance and love the teeth you’re with for the rest of your life.

Because they’re catered to your individual wants and needs, professional tooth whitening, Invisalign, and porcelain veneers are three of the most popular cosmetic dentistry treatments. While professional tooth whitening enables you to dramatically improve your smile’s brightness and youthful luminosity, Invisalign enables you to discreetly correct a misaligned bite (called a malocclusion) and teeth that are crooked, crowded, uneven, or widely spaced. Porcelain veneers are the most versatile cosmetic dentistry treatment and can be used to broaden, lengthen, whiten, and straighten your teeth, dramatically transforming your smile’s entire appearance.

First Dental Associates is honored to help you and your family love the teeth you’re with at every age. When you join our dental family, you will be under the care of a preferred dentist of America’s Best Dentists, a distinction that’s awarded by the National Consumer Advisory Board. To get answers to your questions and to elevate your smile’s health and appearance, contact our office to schedule an appointment today.