The importance of maintaining your dental health

SIOUX FALLS, (S.D.) – Most people know that to remain healthy you should eat healthy foods and exercise regularly. Taking care of your teeth is also important in maintaining your overall health. In the 2022 Community Health Assessment, Sioux Falls health officials found that 27% of adults in the area reported not having at least one yearly visit with their dentist.

Dr. Denis Miller at Siouxland Oral says people often wait to see a dentist until they are experiencing pain.

“What they’ve done is they’ve waited for the cavity to progress through the enamel and through the dentin and now it’s on the doorstep of the pulp or the live tissue of the cell, or of the tooth,” Miller said.

That means there might be a bigger issue that needs to be fixed.

“A lot of times, the cavity is so big not even a root canal or crown are going to save the tooth,” Miller said. “And there’s an expense to that, right, you know, and during COVID, people not having jobs and that paying for the expense was hard for people.”

Dr. Miller wants to remind everyone that you should be seeing your dentist at least twice a year. But to stay healthy on your own, you should brush your teeth at least twice daily. However, if you eat more sugary foods, you might want to brush them even more.

“And you really have to brush the teeth about ten to fifteen minutes after you’ve had some of those sugary products because the plaque and the bacteria build up and then they start producing acid right then. Brushing your teeth four hours later doesn’t really help,” Miller said.

Many people get nervous about going to the dentist. But Miller says getting your regular cleanings shouldn’t be a scary experience.

“When you’re doing the smaller things, the smaller things don’t tend to hurt and there’s not that much to be scared of,” Miller said. “It’s when people wait for it to hurt, well now our local anesthetics don’t work or now we have to sedate you and now it gets a little scarier.”

The 2022 health assessment also found that 56% of third-graders in South Dakota have a history of dental decay. Dr. Miller suggests sending kids to school with a toothbrush so they can clean their teeth after having sugary foods or drinks.

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