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Posted on: October 14, 2020
Dental Care Basics
Why Are Dental Care Practices Important?
Having consistent and proper at-home dental care habits isn’t only about having a beautiful smile. Good oral health can help you maintain your overall health as well. Since your mouth serves as the entry way for your digestive system and your respiratory tracts, the Mayo Clinic states that it’s vital to your overall health, meaning your oral health should be one of your top priorities.
Professional dental care is just as important as taking care of your teeth at home. You need your teeth for smiling, kissing, speaking clearly and chewing. Without good dental health, your nutrition could suffer and your could lose confidence in professional and social situations and be more at risk for certain types of cancers and other diseases.
What Problems Can Plaque Cause?
Plaque is a sticky film that is almost always present on your teeth. The key is to not let it build up and brushing and flossing as recommended by your dentist. There are bacteria in plaque that can harden into a substance called tartar that will irritate your gums. People usually have tartar at the gumline where their toothbrush misses. Only a dentist or hygienist can remove tarter during a professional cleaning.
Tartar attacks the enamel of your teeth, and while enamel is the hardest tissue in the human body, sustained attack by bacteria and acids will weaken it and leave your teeth vulnerable to decay and infections.
What Are the Warning Signs for Gingivitis and Other Gum Issues?
Tartar will cause gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease. Gingivitis symptoms include:
- Puffy, inflamed gums
- Bright red, not healthy pink, gums
- Gums which bleed easily
- Unexplained bad breath
A professional cleaning and improved oral care routine at home can reverse gingivitis in about two weeks. If you follow the oral care instructions, the gingivitis shouldn’t return.
Gingivitis may turn into an advanced form of gum disease if it isn’t treated. We urge you to contact our office if you notice gingivitis symptoms and request an appointment. Advanced gum disease, called periodontal disease, is the major cause of adult tooth loss.
How Can I Prevent Cavities?
Cavities, like gum disease, come from the acids the bacteria plaque produces. It breaks down the tooth enamel and will cause a hole in your tooth if it reaches the dentin. If the cavity isn’t treated, it can reach the pulp inside the tooth, causing pain and an infection. You may need a root canal to remove the pulp and stop the infection from spreading. Your dentist would then have to place a dental crown over the tooth.
Fortunately, it’s easy to reduce your risk of developing cavities with dental care basics and preventative treatments, such as sealants. If you need a dentist who will work with you to create a preventative oral health plan to keep cavities at bay, please contact our office for an appointment.
How Can I Maintain My Oral Health at Home?
There are several things you can do to help maintain your oral health, including:
Brushing: Brushing correctly will remove plaque and lower your risk of developing cavities and gum disease. To brush correctly:
- Brush the outer surface of each tooth, holding the brush at a 45-degree angle
- Brush the front and back of each tooth and then the chewing surfaces
- You can also brush your tongue to remove plaque
- Brush for at least two minutes
Use a toothbrush and toothpaste with the American Dental Association seal on it or ask your dentist or hygienist for product recommendations.
Flossing: Flossing once a day before brushing your teeth will dislodge food and bacteria from between your teeth. The type of floss you use will depend on whether there are very small or wide gaps between your teeth. Dental tape will work better for you if you have large gaps or braces. Super flosses have different textures for cleaning around dental appliances. A water flosser will also work if you have difficulty holding regular dental floss or you have braces.
Mouthwashes: If you go to the drugstore, you’ll find a variety of mouthwashes to buy. Some merely freshen your breath, some have fluoride to protect against decay and some are antiseptic and stop bacterial growth. Instead of just grabbing one off the shelf, ask your dentist for a recommendation.
Eating Healthy Food: The American Dental Association suggests you eat foods high in fiber because they stimulate saliva flow, which helps wash away plaque. The calcium and phosphates in low-fat milk and cheese also stimulate saliva flow. Green and black tea can kill the bacteria in plaque. Avoid sugary foods and drinks as much as possible. Generally, foods and beverages good for your health are also good for your teeth and gums.
Why Developing a Relationship with a Dentist is Important
Everyone needs something different from a dental office. The dentist you develop a personal relationship with will help you keep your natural teeth for the rest of your life, help you work toward an amazing looking smile or make sure a dental disease you have, such as gum disease, is treated properly. You’ll discover what your dental team can do, and learn what you can do at home to achieve your goals.
When you have a personal relationship with a dentist, he or she can note any changes in your mouth which could indicate a problem. We routinely screen adults for oral cancer during routine exams. Early detection could save your life.
More people are being diagnosed with mouth cancer today, which experts believe is due to the additional risk factor presented by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Traditionally, men over age 45 who were heavy tobacco users and smokers were prime candidates for oral cancer. Dentists now screen all adults during their routine exams since the screening is just a visual and tactile inspection of your mouth and early detection can save lives.
Where to Find a Dental Home
Home is where your family is, and we will treat you like family. You’ll find our team ready to answer your questions and create a personalized treatment plan for you. Contact us to arrange a convenient appointment either by phone or online.