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Dental Care Basics

Did you know that the condition of your mouth can have a tremendous impact on your overall health? People who have unhealthy teeth and gums not only experience problems with eating, speaking, drinking or smiling, but they are also at a higher risk of developing conditions like cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancers and pneumonia. In order to keep your mouth healthy, you need to see a dentist on a regular basis, as well as utilize excellent oral hygiene techniques at home.

In order to provide yourself with the best chances of having great oral health, you should become educated on the following basic dental care practices.

Keeping Plaque at Bay

Plaque is the primary cause of many dental issues. This clear, sticky substance is always accumulating on the teeth. It is made out of bacteria that release a type of acid that attacks the enamel of your teeth whenever you eat or drink. These attacks gradually weaken your teeth, making them prone to cavities, also known as dental caries.

Failing to brush and floss on a daily basis will lead to an excessive buildup of plaque on the teeth and along the gums. This will harden into a substance known as calculus, which then leads to gum inflammation (gingivitis).

How Gingivitis Leads to Losing Your Teeth

Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum (periodontal) disease. It affects approximately 75% of Americans to some degree throughout their lives. One of the primary signs of gingivitis is bleeding gums. Fortunately, this condition is treatable when it is found in its earliest stages.

Ignoring gingivitis will lead to plaque continuing to accumulate on the teeth and gums. This continued accumulation can turn into an advanced form of gum disease known as periodontitis. This disease is one of the main causes of tooth loss in adults.

Some signs that you may have gingivitis are:

  • Gums that are sore when you touch them
  • Puffy, discolored gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Bad breath that won’t go away
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • A change in your bite

Frequent brushing and flossing, as well as regular cleanings will help to keep plaque at bay and prevent gingivitis. If you believe that you have this condition, call our office as soon as possible to book an appointment to have it diagnosed and treated properly.

Understanding the Impact of Cavities

Tooth decay and cavities are incredibly common health problems. It is caused by the bacteria harbored in plaque. Cavities form when plaque acids wear down the tooth’s enamel and dentin, forming tiny holes in the teeth. These cavities will become larger and affect the deepest layers of the teeth if left untreated. An untreated cavity can lead to toothaches, infections and tooth loss.

Anyone can get a cavity. Signs and symptoms that you may have one are:

  • Experiencing pain when biting or chewing
  • Sensitivity to certain foods, beverages and temperatures
  • Visible holes or pits in the tooth
  • Sudden toothaches

In addition to completely destroying a tooth, cavities can lead to infections that spread to the root of the tooth. These infections can cause painful abscesses. They can also lead to serious, sometimes fatal, complications. This is why you should never leave a cavity untreated.

Preventing Problems with At-Home Dental Care

There are a few things that you can do at home to ensure that you are removing as much plaque from your teeth and gums as possible.

Brushing: Brushing the teeth twice a day for at least two minutes each time is an important element of keeping your teeth and gums healthy. You should use a soft-bristle toothbrush. An electric toothbrush is also acceptable. Other tips include:

  • Using fluoride toothpaste
  • Brushing your tongue
  • Replacing your toothbrush every three months or when the bristles are worn
  • Changing your toothbrush after you have been sick

Flossing: Flossing every day will remove food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. It assists in eliminating bad breath, tartar buildup and tooth decay.

Mouthwash: Using an antibacterial mouth rinse that has been approved by the American Dental Association (ADA) reduces the bacteria in the mouth. You should use mouth rinse for at least 30 seconds after brushing and flossing.

Healthy eating and drinking: A poor diet can lead to an increased production of plaque acids. You should avoid eating foods that are high in carbohydrates, starches and sugars. Instead, eat a balanced diet of lean protein, dairy products, fruits, nuts and vegetables. In addition, you should drink trap water containing fluoride.

Learning the Importance of Seeing a Dentist Regularly

There are several reasons why you should establish a solid relationship with a dentist. Having a dentist who knows your entire dental and medical history is helpful. In addition, regular visits ensure that issues are caught and treated before they develop into more serious issues that are more expensive and time intensive to treat.

You should schedule appointments with your dentist twice a year. These checkups and professional cleanings will help to establish healthy teeth and gums. Your regular checkups will include the dentist examining your mouth for any signs of cavities, gum disease and other issues. In addition, you may have X-rays taken of your mouth so that the dentist can look for early signs of issues that aren’t visible to the naked eye.

Oral cancer screenings are another great reason why you should see your dentist twice a year. Oral cancer affects nearly 49,700 people a year. This disease is more common in men than in women. If caught early, oral cancer can be treated. Regular screenings make it more likely that oral cancer will be caught in its earliest stages, making it easier to treat.

Good Dental Care Will Keep Your Mouth Happy and Healthy

The combination of regular checkups, consistent professional cleanings and a great oral hygiene routine at-home will keep your smile looking and feeling great for years to come.

If you want great dental care at an affordable price, schedule your appointment at our practice via phone or online.

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