We are open - safety is our top priority!
Posted on: October 13, 2020
Dental Care Basics
The Mayo Clinic states that your oral health has an essential role to play in your overall health. This is because the mouth serves as the entrance to both your digestive and your respiratory tracts. By keeping your mouth healthy, you not only ensure that you are able to eat, speak, drink and smile, but you are also reducing your risk of developing health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, certain kinds of cancers and pneumonia.
Becoming educated in the various aspects of basic dental care will help to keep everyone in your household in good health.
Understanding the Impacts of Plaque
Plaque is a clear film that sticks to the surface of your teeth after eating and drinking. This film contains a type of bacteria that releases acids that will attack the enamel of your teeth. While enamel is the hardest type of tissue in the human body, constant attacks from plaque will wear it down, making your teeth prone to developing cavities.
The best way to combat plaque is to brush and floss every day. This prevents plaque from building up and hardening into tartar deposits or calculus. An excessive buildup of plaque not only causes tooth decay, but it can also lead to gum inflammation, also called gingivitis.
Did you know that gingivitis affects more than 70% of Americans at some point in their lifetimes? It is also the main cause behind bleeding gums. Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease (also known as periodontal disease). This issue is reversible if it is detected early enough.
Many people don’t know that they have gingivitis until a dentist discovers it. That’s why it’s imperative that you see a dentist on a regular basis. If gingivitis is left untreated, the plaque will continue to build up along your gumline and on your teeth and will eventually turn into an advanced form of periodontal disease known as periodontitis. Periodontitis is a leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
Some of the signs that you may have gingivitis include:
- Gums that are tender or sore
- Gums that are puffy
- Gums that are dark red or purple
- Gums that bleed during brushing or flossing
- Chronic bad breath
- Tooth sensitivity
- Loose teeth
- Bite changes
Preventing gingivitis is as simple as keeping plaque from accumulating on your teeth and gums. If you are showing any symptoms of gingivitis, you should call a dentist. He or she will be able to remove plaque or tartar buildup with the use of special dental tools.
Learning About Cavities
The same bacteria in plaque also causes tooth decay. This condition is also known as cavities or dental caries. The acids released by the bacteria in plaque damage the enamel and dentin on the surface of the teeth. This leads to tiny holes developing in the teeth, which can grow into larger cavities and affect the deep layers of the teeth. This is what causes toothaches, infections and tooth loss.
Cavities are a common health problem that affect children, infants and adults of all ages. Symptoms of cavities include:
- Experiencing pain when you chew or bite down
- Seeing pits or holes in your teeth
- Being sensitive to sweet, cold or hot foods or drinks
- Experiencing a sudden toothache
Many people aren’t aware that a cavity has formed until it has become larger. This is another reason why you should receive regular dental cleanings and checkups. An untreated cavity can destroy your tooth. It can also lead to a bacterial infection that can spread to the root of the tooth, leading to abscesses as well as life-threatening complications.
Best Practices for At-Home Dental Care
Establishing a good oral hygiene regimen at home is the best way to maintain your oral health. Make sure that you perform the following oral hygiene habits.
Brushing: The American Dental Association (ADA) suggests that people brush their teeth twice a day while using a soft-bristle or electric toothbrush. You should also use fluoride toothpaste. Your dentist may recommend a personalized oral hygiene plan if you require special care. Other things to keep in mind include:
- You should brush your teeth for at least two minutes
- Your tongue should also be brushed
- Your toothbrush should be replaced every three months or whenever the bristles are worn
- You should change your toothbrush after having the flu, a mouth infection or a cold
Flossing: If done daily, flossing can help to prevent tartar buildup, bad breath and tooth decay. Properly done, flossing helps to get rid of food particles and plaque in the places where your toothbrush can’t reach.
Mouthwash: Using a mouth rinse that has an ADA seal on the label can get rid of any remaining food particles left in your mouth after brushing and flossing. To properly rinse, you will need to swish the mouthwash around for a minimum of 30 seconds. This will ensure that you lessen the levels of bacteria in the mouth.
Healthy eating and drinking: The ADA recommends that you eat a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, nuts, dairy products and lean proteins. This is because eating foods and drinking beverages that contain high levels of carbohydrates, sugars and starches can encourage further production of plaque acids. You should also be sure to drink tap water with fluoride. This assists in preventing tooth decay.
Understanding the Importance of Regular Visits to a Dentist
Visiting the same dentist on a consistent basis ensures that your dentist has a thorough knowledge of your medical and dental history. A good relationship with your dentist can save you time, money and stress. Since consistently seeing a dentist makes it more likely that potential problems will be caught early on, it also means that you could be saving your teeth.
According to the ADA, you should see your dentist twice a year for checkups and dental cleanings. If you have certain oral health conditions, your dentist may want to see you more often than that. At your checkups, your dentist will have a look at your mouth to search for any signs of gingivitis and tooth decay. He or she will also look for signs of bruxism (teeth grinding), bite changes and symptoms of TMJ. Your dentist may also take X-rays to see if there are any signs of bone loss, tooth fractures, decay in between the teeth, abscesses, tumors or cysts.
Your dentist will also look out for any signs of oral cancer. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, there are approximately 49,700 new cases of oral cancer diagnosed annually in the United States. Men are more likely than women to develop the disease, as are smokers or those who drink alcohol.
Don’t Miss Out on High Quality Dental Care
You can keep your teeth and gums happy and healthy by maintaining good oral hygiene habits and seeing your dentist regularly.
Contact us via phone or online today in order to make your appointment for high quality and affordable dental care. We look forward to building a relationship with you.