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Posted on: October 21, 2020
Dental Care Basics
Everyone wants to have a beautiful smile that is also healthy. Having healthy teeth and gums not only makes you feel more confident in your smile, but it is also an important part of your overall health. Failing to properly care for your oral health can lead to having a higher risk of developing pneumonia, heart disease and certain kinds of cancer.
Knowing how to prevent dental care issues is the key to achieving the happy and healthy smile you’ve always wanted. Call our office today to schedule an appointment with one of our dentists to ensure you maintain your ideal oral health.
Plaque is the cause of many different oral health issues. This sticky, filmy substance that can’t be seen by the naked eye is full of bacteria that release acids whenever a person eats or drinks. These acids attack the outer covering of your teeth (enamel). Constant attacks from plaque leave teeth vulnerable to cavities.
Failing to get rid of plaque by brushing and flossing every day will lead to the plaque forming into a hard substance known as calculus. This will then lead to gum inflammation, known as gingivitis.
The Prevention of Gingivitis
Gingivitis is the earliest form of gum disease and is the primary reason why adults experience bleeding gums. This condition is estimated to impact around 75% of Americans within their lives.
Leaving gingivitis untreated allows for the plaque to continue building up on the teeth and gumline. It will eventually lead to periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease that is the leading cause behind tooth loss in adults.
You may have gingivitis if you have experienced any of the following symptoms:
- Sore or tender gums
- Swollen, discolored gums
- Bleeding gums
- Foul-smelling breath
- Sensitive Teeth
- Loose teeth
- Bite changes
Keeping plaque from building up on your teeth and gums is the best way to prevent gingivitis. If you have any symptoms of this condition, it is important that you see a dentist so that special tools can be used to rid your mouth of plaque and tartar accumulations.
How to Prevent Cavities From Forming
Plaque is also responsible for tooth decay, also known as dental caries or cavities. When you eat and drink, the bacteria release acids that permanently damage the enamel of your tooth. This damage turns into tiny holes that will form into deeper cavities. If the cavity is allowed to continue forming it can result in severe a infection, toothaches and the loss of your tooth.
While this problem is incredibly common in children, it is also found in adults and even infants. Signs and symptoms of cavities include:
- Having a sensitive tooth
- Feeling pain when biting or chewing
- Experiencing a sudden toothache
- Seeing pits or holes in the tooth
Cavities are easily prevented by brushing and flossing every day. They are also prevented by regularly seeing your dentist. If you leave a cavity to its own devices, it will eventually lead to a bacterial infection that turns into a painful abscess. These bacterial infections are not only painful, they can also lead to potentially life-threatening complications.
Maintaining Good Oral Hygiene at Home
Having an excellent at-home oral hygiene routine is the key to ensuring that plaque isn’t left to accumulate on the teeth and gums.
Brushing: The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that you use a soft-bristle or electric toothbrush to brush your teeth twice a day. The ADA also suggests that you utilize a toothpaste containing fluoride. Other tips for brushing your teeth include:
- Brushing for at least two minutes
- Brushing the tongue
- Replacing toothbrushes every three months or whenever the bristles are worn
- Changing toothbrushes when you’ve been sick or had a mouth infection
Flossing: You should floss after you have brushed your teeth. This simple task rids your mouth of plaque and food particles that can’t be reached via a toothbrush. Flossing every day keeps tartar buildup, tooth decay and bad breath at bay.
Mouthwash: Swishing an ADA-approved antibacterial mouth rinse around in your mouth for at least 30 seconds after brushing and flossing will greatly reduce the levels of bacteria in your mouth. This also assists in preventing gingivitis, tooth decay and bad breath.
Healthy eating and drinking: Did you know that eating a poor diet can lead to an increase in plaque acids in your mouth? You should eat a balanced diet of dairy products, lean proteins, fruits, vegetables and nuts to reduce your chances of developing cavities and gingivitis.
Consistently Visiting Your Dentist Is the Key
In addition to the above at-home dental care tips, you should also see your dentist at least twice a year for checkups and cleanings. This allows for your dentist to develop a relationship with you so that he or she knows your full medical and dental history. This also allows for the early signs of cavities and gum disease to be seen and addressed before they develop into more serious problems.
Your regular cleanings will consist of a dental hygienist removing plaque and tartar build-up. Meanwhile, your twice-a-year checkups will consist of your dentist performing an examination of your mouth. This exam will help the dentist find signs of any potential problems. In addition, your dentist may also want to take X-rays of your mouth. This helps detect issues like bone loss, decay in between the teeth, abscesses, tooth fractures, etc.
Oral cancer screenings are also performed at your checkups. This potentially fatal disease has a successful treatment rate when it is caught in its earliest stages. The Cleveland Clinic states that oral cancer is the sixth most common cancer among men. Smokers and alcohol drinkers are also at a higher risk of developing oral cancer.
Schedule Your Appointment Today
If you’re ready to get your oral health on track, call us or book your appointment online today. We’re looking forward to assisting you with all of your basic dental care needs.