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Posted on: October 14, 2020
Dental Care Basics
Oral Health Care Essentials
Your oral health is important to your overall health. Because your oral health is so important to get right and to maintain, understanding what it takes to do so will make it much easier to maintain your oral health care goals. Your overall health will benefit from a healthy mouth. Usually, we recommend at-home dental care routines and visits with a dentist for a cleaning and exam at least twice a year.
How Does Plaque Cause Gum Disease?
When you have healthy gums, they fit tightly around your teeth and the ligaments and bone holding your teeth in place are healthy. If you have plaque buildup and tartar (hardened plaque near your gums, they will become inflamed. This is a mild form of gum disease called gingivitis.
What Are the Early Signs of Gingivitis?
If you have gingivitis, you may not realize it, believing bleeding gums when you brush are normal. They are not. Your gums should also look pink, not red or swollen and puffy. If you do notice these symptoms, please call us to schedule an exam.
If left untreated, gingivitis may progress to periodontal disease, a more advanced form of gum disease. We can reverse gingivitis, but only stop the damage periodontal disease causes. The damage can be extensive; gums pull away from teeth and bacteria attacks the ligaments and jawbone. Eventually, teeth become loose and fall out without treatment to stop the disease’s progression.
Who Is at Risk for Cavities?
Adults and children both get cavities. Those with the highest risk include:
- People who snack on sugary foods and drinks often
- Individuals with poor oral hygiene habits
- Smokers and others who have a dry mouth
- People with hereditarily weak tooth enamel
To lower your risk, you have to keep plaque off your teeth as the bacteria in it will create acid that eats away at your teeth. The acid creates a hole in your tooth. You may notice pain or sensitivity at the site or see the hole itself. If the cavity looks dark, there is debris trapped in it.
If you believe you have a cavity or are interested in preventative treatments, please contact us.
What Are Basic Oral Care Routines I Can Perform Home?
A thorough oral care routine can help prevent common dental diseases and can make your smile brighter and fresher.
Brushing: The American Dental Association says you should brush twice a day for at least two minutes. Brushing after every meal is better, but not always possible. The correct way to brush is to:
- Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle
- Use tooth-wide, short strokes
- Brush the front, back and tops of teeth
- Use an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste
- You should use a soft toothbrush and replace it every few months or sooner if the bristles appear frayed.
Flossing: Only about a small percentage of Americans floss their teeth each day. Flossing removes plaque, which causes gum disease and cavities, from between your teeth where toothbrushes can’t reach. It also helps keep your breath fresh by removing food particles stuck between your teeth that cause bad breath when they rot. If you can’t floss easily, there are numerous alternatives which your dental hygienist or dentist can demonstrate to receive the same benefit.
Mouthrinses: Mouthwashes are not alternatives to thorough brushing and flossing, but some are beneficial, especially if you are at risk for cavities or gum disease. You can buy mouthwash at your local store to freshen your breath, help whiten your teeth, kill bacteria or provide fluoride protection. Ask your dentist for a recommendation to find one that meets your specific needs. The ADA Seal on products sold at local stores will ensure you’re buying a mouthwash offering scientific evidence that it does what it claims.
A Good Diet for Your Teeth: Phosphorus and calcium-rich foods will help keep your teeth strong. Eat low-fat dairy products, eggs and lean meats. Avoid sugary candies and soft drinks, or at least limit them. Chew sugarless gum after having anything with sugar in it or drink water to keep plaque from building up on your teeth. Vitamin C, found in spinach, potatoes and citrus fruits, is good for gum health.
What Are the Benefits of Having a Family Dentist?
Your dentist is part of your overall healthcare team; oral health and general health are closely related. Our dentist will explain how to prevent common dental problems, such as cavities, in addition to just filling the cavity. When you have a family dentist, he or she will address your questions and concerns and help you decide about preventative and restorative treatments he or she may recommend.
Your family dentist will most likely want to see you every six months for a routine exam and cleaning, or more often if you have risk factors for certain conditions. For example, our dentist performs a basic oral cancer screening during each routine exam. If you are a heavy drinker or tobacco user and over age 40, he or she will want to see you more often.
An oral cancer screening is quick and painless. Our dentist will visually inspect your entire mouth and feel for lumps. This is extremely important since you can usually survive oral cancer if it is caught early and treated. Unfortunately. if the cancer spreads beyond nearby lymph nodes, you have a smaller chance of surviving five years. Tobacco use is a major risk factor, however, people who never use tobacco also get oral cancer. We don’t want any of our patients to be one of the people who die every day of the disease in the U.S.
First-Rate Dental Care Equals a Healthy Mouth
When you’re looking for a dentist near you, you want someone who looks out for your dental health. You need someone trustworthy who can restore and then maintain your oral health. We believe we’re the perfect fit. Please call us to make your appointment. Once you meet our team, we know you’ll find we will always look out for your oral health.