Dental emergencies can be just as time-sensitive and dangerous as other health emergencies. However, our Hudsonville, MI, emergency dentists strongly urge you to not wait until you’re experiencing one to act. There’s plenty you can do while your smile is still healthy to prevent them from happening in the first place. Here’s what you need to know about dental emergencies and how they can be avoided. 1. Adopt Good Oral Hygiene Habits If you decide to adopt just one preventive practice, make it this one. 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 three easy habits: \tBrushing your teeth for two minutes, at least twice a day \tFlossing daily \tGetting your teeth professionally cleaned every six 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 with at-home oral care but any plaque that’s left behind can develop into tartar. That can only be removed by a dental professional which is why we recommend getting your teeth cleaned twice a year. Receiving regular teeth cleanings also means our dentists have the opportunity to check your teeth throughout the year for any signs of trouble. That way, we can treat an oral health problem before it becomes a dental emergency. 2. Buy 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. 3. Pay Attention to What You’re Eating and Drinking 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. In other words, what you’re eating and drinking matters for your oral health. Try to avoid overly sugary foods and drinks, and make sure you’re drinking enough water to stay hydrated. 4. Develop Healthy Ways to Manage Your Stress Stress can have negative effects on your 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 pen caps or pencils and clenching or grinding your teeth at night, leading to jaw pain. You may also find it harder to resist those sugary foods that can increase your risk for tooth decay. By developing healthy ways to manage your stress, you’ll help not just your mental health, but also your oral health. 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. Get Treatment for Dental Pain Quickly If you’re suffering from a toothache, don’t ignore it. 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 Hudsonville 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 Prevention Matters for Your Oral Health 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’s less than what it would cost to get a dental crown. Delaying preventive care often results in a much larger bill down the line. However, some patients still hesitate to invest in such treatment because they don’t think they can afford it. At Hudsonville Dental, we believe the health of our patients comes first, which is why we offer flexible payment options. With these 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 preventive 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. Take Care of Your Smile Today Our emergency dentists in Hudsonville, MI, can help you take charge of your oral health and protect your smile from dental emergencies with preventive dental treatments. Additionally, if you are suffering from a dental emergency, we’re here to help. Call Hudsonville Dental at (616) 209-4024, or schedule an appointment online. This blog post has been updated.