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Posted on: October 14, 2020
Dental Care Basics
Your mouth is one of the most-used parts of your body. Whether you’re laughing, talking, eating, drinking, having a job interview, or shouting at a sporting event, you’re using your mouth. When you have a healthy mouth, you’re more inclined to have a healthy body because everything that you ingest, whether solid or liquid, becomes part of your body when it enters your mouth. The tissues in your mouth are very permeable. When you maintain good oral health throughout your lifetime, your teeth are more likely to last for your lifetime and you won’t need artificial replacements.
Understanding the various procedures that are necessary for good oral health can help you to maintain your teeth and gums. This, in turn, will help you to better maintain your body.
How Does Plaque Adversely Affect My Teeth and Gums?
After you eat or drink anything that contains sugar or carbohydrates, a sticky film forms on your teeth and this film is full of bacteria. When it’s not removed through brushing and flossing, then the bacteria proliferate and lodge between your teeth and in the crevices in your gums. Plaque begins to form and acids are released that attack your tooth enamel and begin to erode it. Even though your tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your body, when it’s constantly beset by acid, you’ll begin to see small holes and pits in your teeth.
When plaque remains on the teeth, it becomes tartar or calculus, which is a very hard substance that can only be removed by your dentist, and it’s the first stage of developing gingivitis.
How Does Gingivitis Adversely Affect My Teeth and Gums?
Gingivitis sometimes presents asymptomatically, so you may have it without being aware of it. There’s typically no pain at first, meaning you might not seek treatment until it has developed further. If you notice any of the following, then you probably have gingivitis:
- Bleeding gums, particularly when you floss or brush
- Changes in your bite
- Changes in the color of your gums, such as from pale pink to purplish or dark red
- Inflamed or swollen gums
- Loose teeth
- More sensitivity to sugary or hot or cold foods or beverages
- Perpetual bad breath
Gingivitis affects more than 75 percent of adults at some point in their lives, but when caught early, it’s completely reversible, usually with no lasting damage. By practicing proactive oral hygiene habits, you can prevent gingivitis from gaining a stronghold on your gums or even prevent it altogether. If you haven’t had a checkup in a while, then call our Bradenton office for an appointment so that gingivitis doesn’t thrive in your mouth.
How Do I Avoid Developing Cavities?
The best method for preventing the development of dental caries is to practice good oral hygiene at home and have, at the very least, annual dental cleanings and checkups. Unfortunately, many people think that cavities are a fact of life, particularly in children.
The Mayo Clinic classifies cavities as one of the most common health problems throughout the world. When good oral hygiene habits begin at an early age, your child is more likely to develop lifelong good dental habits and thereby retain their natural teeth throughout their lifetime. When a child is old enough to feed themselves, they’re old enough to hold a toothbrush after eating.
The following symptoms can indicate that you have one or more cavities:
- Pain when you chew or bite down
- Sudden toothaches
- Heightened sensitivity to the temperature or sugar content of foods and beverages
- Tiny pits or holes in your tooth enamel
If you have a cavity, don’t ignore it. Left untreated, a cavity can become an abscess, which can be life-threatening. The bacteria in your cavity can travel throughout your bloodstream and lodge in your major organs and result in serious physical issues. Be sure to treat a cavity promptly whether it’s in your mouth or your child’s.
Are There Good At-home Hygiene Practices That I Should Follow?
The American Dental Association recommends that you brush at least twice each day and that you floss at least once daily, preferably before you retire for the night, so that bacteria have less of a chance to form overnight.
Be sure to use a toothbrush that has soft bristles and use gentle pressure so that you don’t damage your tooth enamel. Other recommendations include:
- Brush your tongue to eliminate bacteria that can cause bad breath
- Brush your teeth for a minimum of two minutes
- Replace your toothbrush immediately if you’ve been ill
- Replace your toothbrush at least every three months
Floss Every Day
When done properly, flossing removes food particles and bacteria that your toothbrush misses. This can eliminate the build-up of tartar and remove plaque that may be lurking between your teeth. Since it removes residual bacteria, flossing can help eliminate bad breath and you’ll develop fewer cavities.
Almost last in the American Dental Association’s recommendations is the use of an antibacterial mouthwash. Swirl it around in your mouth for at least 30 seconds and you’ll have fresher breath and far fewer bacteria and cavities in your mouth. Be sure that your mouthwash has the American Dental Association seal of approval.
Healthy Dietary Habits
The American Dental Association’s recommendations also include the use of a healthy diet to avoid dental issues. Many adults live on a high-carbohydrate, high-sugar, fast-food diet that contributes, not only to obesity, but to poor dental health. The high level of fuel for bacteria in these types of diets can almost guarantee that you’ll have poor dental health. Opt instead for a healthy diet that includes dairy products, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, nuts, and plenty of plain water without sugar or artificial sweeteners. If you need help in determining the best diet for you, then call our Bradenton office and we’ll be glad to help you.
Why Should I Have a Regular Family Dentist?
When your dentist is familiar with your medical and dental history, it’s easier for them to spot irregularities such as an abscess, bone loss, bruxism, a cyst, dental caries, gingivitis or other common problems that can arise. When detected early, these types of issues can be addressed before they become major issues.
Why Is It Important to Maintain Consistent, Regular Dental Care?
Oral cancer now accounts for 3 percent of all new cancers that are diagnosed annually, and it’s the sixth most common cancer diagnosis in men. Those who drink or smoke have an even greater risk of developing oral cancer, so most dentists now provide oral cancer screenings to their patients. If you haven’t been screened, then call our Bradenton office to schedule an appointment.
Keeping your natural teeth throughout your lifetime requires consistent, good oral hygiene practices along with dedication. By combining good oral habits at home with regular dental checkups and cleanings, you can retain your natural teeth for your lifetime. Call our Bradenton office at (941) 538-6339 to schedule an appointment with one of our compassionate dentists. We’re sure you’ll appreciate our affordable rates and our dedication to our patients, so call us today.