Dental emergencies can be just as urgent and dangerous as other health emergencies. However, you don’t have to wait until you’re experiencing a dental emergency before you take action and seek care from our West MI emergency dentists. There’s plenty you can do while your smile is still healthy to prevent problems from happening in the first place.

Here are 5 ways you can steer clear of a dental emergency.

1. Commit to Practicing Good Oral Hygiene Habits

If you decide to adopt just one preventive practice, make it this. Practicing good oral hygiene is one of the best things you can do to prevent dental emergencies.

What is good oral hygiene? Our definition, informed by recommendations from the American Dental Association (ADA), includes 3 easy habits:

  1. Brushing your teeth for two minutes, at least twice a day
  2. Flossing at least once daily
  3. Getting your teeth professionally cleaned every 6 months

Brushing and flossing get rid of plaque, which is a thin layer of bacteria that damages your teeth and can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Most plaque can be removed by brushing and flossing, but any plaque that’s left behind can develop into tartar, which can only be removed by a dental professional. That’s why we recommend getting your teeth cleaned twice a year by our dental hygienists.

Having a regular teeth cleaning also means our dentists have the opportunity to check your teeth multiple times a year for any signs of trouble. That way, we can treat oral health problems before they become dental emergencies.

2. Use Fluoride Toothpaste and Mouth Rinse

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that strengthens your teeth and prevents tooth decay. It’s one of the easiest things you can incorporate into your daily routine. By using a fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinse, you’re giving your teeth extra help in preventing serious oral health issues.

We don’t recommend children under the age of 6 use mouthwash and even when they do reach that age, they should be supervised. Neither babies or toddlers need mouthwash to maintain a healthy smile. Adults, on the other hand, can benefit from integrating it into their everyday schedule!

3. Consider Changing Your Diet

Plaque forms naturally on your teeth when you eat sugar or other carbohydrates. Unless the plaque is brushed or flossed away, certain bacteria in your mouth will consume the plaque and produce acids that will damage the enamel of your teeth. This can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

This means that what you’re eating and drinking matters for your oral health. Try to limit your consumption of overly sugary foods and drinks, and make sure you’re drinking enough water so you stay hydrated.

4. Learn Healthy Strategies for Managing Stress

Stress can have negative effects on your overall body health, but did you know it can also negatively affect your oral health?

If you’re stressed, you may resort to biting or chewing on hard things to let off steam, like pen caps or pencils. You may clench or grind your teeth at night, leading to jaw pain. Sugary foods may also become harder to resist which can increase your risk for tooth decay.

By learning healthy ways to manage your stress, you’ll help not just your mental health, but also the health of your mouth. Additionally, our dentists may be able to help with some of your symptoms. For example, if you find yourself grinding your teeth at night, we can create a custom night guard for you to wear while you sleep to protect your smile.

5. Don’t Ignore Toothaches

If you’re suffering from a toothache, don’t push it aside. Pain is one of our most trustworthy indicators that something isn’t right. Getting fast treatment can be the difference between needing a routine dental procedure and undergoing serious oral surgery.

Our West Michigan emergency dentists have the skills necessary to act quickly during a dental emergency. We’ll work hard to give you the best chance of regaining your oral health and preserving your smile.

Why We Invest in Preventive Dental Care

Prevention ultimately comes at a cost, but it’s usually the less expensive option in the long run. For example, getting your teeth cleaned twice a year costs time and money, but it costs less time and money than having to get a dental crown due to a large filling that could have been prevented with proper oral hygiene.

Delaying preventive care often results in a much larger bill down the line. However, some patients still hesitate to invest in this form of dentistry because they don’t think they can afford it. At MI Smiles Dental, we believe the health of our patients comes first, which is why we offer flexible payment options. With flexible payment options, you can get affordable dental care today instead of dealing with an expensive dental emergency tomorrow.

Additionally, you can take comfort in knowing that we’re not asking any of our patients to make an investment in preventative dentistry that we haven’t also made ourselves. Our office has made this a priority and invested in preventive services technologies so we can detect oral health problems earlier than ever for our patients.

Work to Prevent What You Can

Our dentists in West Michigan can help you take charge of your oral health and protect your smile from dental emergencies with preventive dentistry. To schedule an appointment, call one of our MI Smiles Dental locations today!

This blog has been updated.