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Posted on: October 21, 2020
Dental Care Basic
Keeping your mouth healthy ensures that you will be able to properly eat, drink, speak and smile. Failing to keep your mouth healthy can lead to problems with your overall health, especially your digestive and respiratory tracts. Poor oral health can increase your risk of developing heart disease, pneumonia and various types of cancer. To make sure that your mouth stays as healthy as possible, you should establish an oral healthcare routine at home, see your dentist for checkups on a consistent basis and have regular professional cleanings performed by a dental professional.
Having knowledge of basic dental care techniques will assist you in your quest of achieving optimal oral health.
Plaque is the underlying cause of most dental issues. This clear, sticky substance sticks to the teeth after you eat and drink. Full of bacteria, if left on the teeth it will release acids that attack tooth enamel. Repeated attacks will make the tooth weaker and more likely to develop cavities.
Fortunately, plaque is easily removed via daily brushing and flossing. Failing to do this can cause the plaque to build up into a hard substance known as calculus. Continuing to ignore the problem causes gum inflammation, also called gingivitis.
How Gingivitis Leads to Tooth Loss
The earliest stage of gum (periodontal) disease is known as gingivitis. This condition affects an estimated 75% of people in the United States at some point within their lifetimes. If it is caught early, it is easily reversed.
Receiving regular dental checkups is important because it can help to catch gingivitis before you even know that you have it. Letting the problem go unaddressed will lead to plaque accumulating on the teeth and along the gumline, eventually advancing into a serious form of gum disease known as periodontitis. This advanced from of periodontal disease is one of the major reasons why adults lose their teeth.
You may have gingivitis if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Sore or tender gums
- Puffy, discolored gums
- Gums that bleed during brushing or flossing
- Persistent, foul-smelling breath
- Tooth sensitivity
- Teeth that are loose
- A change in your bite
Keeping plaque from accumulating on the teeth and gums is the key to preventing gingivitis. If you have any of the above symptoms, you should call a dentist immediately to have the situation addressed properly. A dental hygienist will be able to remove the plaque and tartar buildup from your mouth.
The Potential Impact of Cavities
Cavities are another problem caused by plaque. The bacteria present in plaque acids will attack the enamel and dentin of your teeth, leading to the formation of cavities. While cavities start out small, if they are left untreated, they can eventually grow larger, affecting the deeper layers of the teeth and resulting in infection, toothache and tooth loss.
Tooth decay and cavities are incredibly common problems worldwide. While most people think it is a problem that only affects children, infants and older adults can develop cavities as well. Signs that you may have a cavity include:
- Feeling pain when you chew food or bite down
- Having sensitivity to hot, cold or sweet food and drink
- Developing a sudden toothache
- Finding visible holes or pits in your tooth
Most people don’t feel any pain when a cavity is small. This means that it is important to see a dentist regularly so that he or she can catch the issue when it is in its earliest stages. Letting a cavity stay put will destroy the tooth and cause severe infection. These infections can spread to the tooth’s root and form abscesses. Not only is this painful, but it can cause potentially life-threatening complications as well.
How to Take Care of Your Oral Health at Home
In order to be sure that you are getting rid of as much plaque as possible, you should establish excellent oral hygiene habits at home.
Brushing: The American Dental Association (ADA) says that you should use a soft-bristle or electric toothbrush twice a day. While there are a number of different toothpastes available, you should be sure that the one you use contains fluoride. Other things you should keep in mind while brushing your teeth are:
- You should brush for at least two minutes
- You should brush your tongue
- You should replace your toothbrush approximately every three months or sooner if you find that the bristles are worn
- You should change your toothbrush whenever you’ve been ill or had a mouth infection
Flossing: This should be done after you brush your teeth. This essential element of oral hygiene gets rid of plaque and leftover food particles from the places where your toothbrush can’t reach. It helps to prevent tooth decay, bad breath and the buildup of tartar.
Mouthwash: After you’ve brushed and flossed your teeth, you should utilize an antibacterial mouth rinse that has the ADA seal of approval on it. You should swish the rinse around in your mouth for a minimum of 30 seconds. This is enough time to ensure reduced levels of bacteria that cause gingivitis, tooth decay and halitosis.
Healthy eating and drinking: Foods that are high in carbohydrates, starches and sugars lead to an increase in the production of plaque acids. By ensuring that you eat a healthy diet that limits these kinds of foods, you will be able to keep your mouth healthier. The ADA recommends that you drink tap water with fluoride added to it to assist in tooth decay prevention.
Visit Your Dentist Frequently
When you visit your dentist frequently, he or she will come to know the details of your medical and dental history. It also increases the chances that any problems with your oral health will be detected early on. This saves you time, stress and money.
The ADA suggests that the majority of people see the dentist for checkups and cleanings twice a year. If you have special oral health care needs, your dentist may recommend that you see him or her more often. Cleanings consist of special tools being used to remove the built-up plaque and tartar on your teeth and gums. Dental checkups consist of the dentist examining your teeth, gums and mouth for issues like tooth decay, gingivitis, bruxism, changes in bite and indications of TMJ. X-rays may also be taken during your checkup so that the dentist can detect any issues that wouldn’t be visible to the naked eye. These issues include bone loss in the jaw, decay between your teeth, fractures, abscesses, cysts, tumors, etc.
Seeing the dentist twice a year ensures that you are receiving consistent oral cancer screenings. This potentially fatal disease is best treated in its earliest stages, when there usually aren’t obvious symptoms. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research states that there are around 49,700 cases of oral cancer diagnosed every year. Populations at a higher risk of developing this disease include men, people who smoke and people who drink alcohol.
Excellent Dental Care is Within Reach
Knowing about the above dental care basics ensures that you are able to keep your mouth as healthy as possible. To book an appointment with one of our caring dentists, call us or make an appointment on our website.