SIOUX FALLS, (SD) – Most people know that to stay healthy you should eat healthy food and exercise regularly. Taking good care of your teeth is also important for maintaining overall health. In the 2022 Community Health Assessment, Sioux Falls health officials found that 27 percent of adults in the area reported not seeing their dentist for at least a year.
Dr Denis Miller, of Siouxland Oral, said people often wait to see a dentist until they have pain.
“What they did was wait for the cavity to go through the enamel and dentin, and now it’s in the pulp or the living tissue of the cells or the doorway of the tooth,” Miller said.
This means there may be a bigger problem to solve.
“A lot of times, the cavity is so large that not even a root canal or crown can save the tooth,” Miller said. “There’s a cost, yes, you know, during COVID, people don’t have jobs and it’s hard for people to pay that.”
Dr. Miller would like to remind everyone that you should see your dentist at least twice a year. But to keep yourself healthy, you should brush your teeth at least twice a day. However, if you eat more sugary foods, you may want to brush them more.
“And you really have to brush your teeth about ten to 15 minutes after you eat some sugary products because plaque and bacteria build up and then they start producing acid. Brushing your teeth after four hours doesn’t really help, ” Miller said.
Many people are nervous about going to the dentist. But Miller said regular cleaning shouldn’t be a scary experience.
“When you do smaller things, smaller things don’t hurt and there’s nothing to fear,” Miller said. “It’s getting a little scary now when people are waiting for it to hurt, and now our local anesthetics don’t work, or now we have to sedate you.”
The 2022 health assessment also found that 56 percent of South Dakota third-graders had a history of tooth decay. Dr. Miller recommends sending kids to school with a toothbrush so they can clean their teeth after eating sugary foods or drinks.