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Key to Healthier Mouth: Vick Handa Burlington Dentist On Best Oral Health Practices

Update Date: Jan 22, 2020 03:03 PM EST
Key to Healthier Mouth: Vick Handa Burlington Dentist On Best Oral Health Practices
(Photo : Key to Healthier Mouth: Vick Handa Burlington Dentist On Best Oral Health Practices)

According to an article published in 2018 in the New York Post, a study that evaluated the oral health habits of 2,000 millennials discovered that many of them don't keep their mouths as clean as they could. The study reported that three out of 10 millennials brush their teeth once a day, and that the average millennial participating in the survey has gone more than two days in a row without brushing their teeth even once. Yet, the survey says, more than half of those polled indicated that they're worried about losing their teeth as a result of poor oral health.

To a dentist, this is disconcerting. "Many people can maintain excellent oral health over the course of their lifetimes if they develop good habits while they're young and continue to practice them consistently during the decades that follow," says Dr. Vick Handa, a Burlington, Ontario dentist who treats patients of all ages. "It really isn't that time-consuming to take care of your mouth and teeth," he says. "It literally takes only a few minutes each day. Consider it an insurance policy for the ongoing and future health of your mouth.

Dr Vivek Handa offers the following suggestions for not only millennials, but everyone.

Brush daily

Take the time to brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Be thorough when you do this, cleaning the surface of the teeth from all angles -- outside, inside and on top. Also, for a more effective cleaning, use a brush that has soft bristles and is the right size, as the important thing is to reach everything that needs to be clean. Dr. Handa suggests replacing your brush with a new one every few months. "You'll notice when you need to do this because the bristles will become misshapen or frayed," he says.

Floss daily, too

Flossing once a day is important because it helps remove the food particles that collect between the teeth and at the gumline. Flossing can taste good, too, if you use a flavored floss. That choice is up to you. "What you want to do," says Dr. Vick Handa, "is break off a piece of floss that's about a foot and a half long, wind the ends around the middle fingers of each hand, then use your thumbs to gently guide it between your teeth. At the gumline, hold it against the tooth as you gently slide the floss into the area between the tooth and gum, rubbing it up and down against the tooth."

Drink plenty of water

Everyone knows you need to stay hydrated, but drinking plenty of water also contributes to good oral health. If you're like many people, you probably eat sugary snacks or drink beverages that contain sugar. Dr. Handa says that drinking water helps wash away the remaining bits of food that can attract bacteria. In addition, a dry mouth can be a cause of tooth decay. In a healthy mouth, saliva, which contains minerals like calcium and phosphate, helps defend against decay. Drinking water helps you create more saliva, preventing dry mouth. 

Get regular dental checkups

If you haven't visited your dentist in some time, make an appointment today. In the study referenced above, a number of millennials said they didn't like going to the dentist because they didn't like the taste of the products used by the dentist during a visit. Unfortunately, if you don't visit your dentist at least once a year, a problem could occur without you realizing it. And if you aren't regularly practicing good oral hygiene, the problems could be even more severe. "Most people would rather have their dentist give them a clean bill of oral health than learning that they have a cavity that needs to be filled," says Dr. Handa. Your dentist will evaluate your teeth, gums and mouth, possibly take X-rays, then let you know what next steps are needed -- or, if you should just continue doing what you're doing to maintain good oral health.

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