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Dental Care Basics

Basic Dental Care for Life

Your oral hygiene routine determines how healthy your mouth is now and in the future. Genetics and other factors play a role, but your commitment to your oral health is really what matters. If you floss and brush at night, even though you’re very tired some nights, you understand that you can help prevent common dental diseases. It’s worth the effort to keep your natural teeth. Regular dental exams are important, but your dentist can only give you advice. He or she can’t make you brush and floss or limit your sugar.

Which is why it’s important that you understand the basic steps of caring for your teeth and gums nad commit to following them. Find out more below.

What’s the Link Between Plaque and Gum Disease?

It is estimated that close to three out of four Americans have gingivitis or a more advanced form of gum disease. Plaque, which hardens in 48 hours or less, causes gum diseases. Plaque is a clear, sticky film that is hard to remove from your teeth. When you eat sugary or starchy foods, plaque produces acids that begin to attack the tooth’s enamel and build up on the tooth eventually hardening into tartar deposits.

What Are the Stages of Gum Disease?

There are three forms of gum disease, including gingivitis and moderate and severe periodontal disease. Gingivitis is the mildest form and fortunately, it is generally reversible. You can recognize gingivitis by red, swollen gums which bleed easily. We can remove tartar and show you how to keep it at bay. Call us immediately if you believe you have gingivitis, since is is easily treatable.

If you ignore gingivitis, it can result in periodontal disease, which can’t be cured, only treated to stop the damage it causes. Periodontitis is the primary reason adults over 40 lose their teeth since it damages the support structures holding the teeth in place. Research also links periodontal disease to major health concerns, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

What Are the Cavity Basics I Should Know?

Cavities, also called caries, are small holes in teeth. Most people have cavities, although they are largely preventable. If you learn how to brush and floss properly, and see your dentist every six months, you can avoid cavities or at least catch them early while they are small.

Untreated cavities will only grow larger and eventually reach the tooth’s innermost layer, the pulp. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), cavities are the most common dental health issue for children, but it also impacts adults and infants.

How to Practice Good Dental Hygiene at Home

Brushing: When you brush your teeth, it’s important to hold the soft toothbrush at a 45-degree angle pointing upward toward your gums. Clean the outsides, insides and tops of your teeth with a fluoridated toothpaste. While conventional wisdom says you should brush your teeth twice each day, many dentists recommend you brush three times a day to minimize bacteria growth in your mouth.

Flossing: When you floss, make sure you floss all sides of each tooth. It’s important to floss teeth next to a gap where you are missing a tooth, to remove plaque buildup and food particles where your toothbrush won’t reach. Floss at least once a day before you brush your teeth. You can use traditional floss, a hand-held flosser or an electric one, whichever is easier. If you have orthodontic work, your dentist will suggest special orthodontic floss.

Mouthwashes: Many of our patients like using a mouthwash after brushing because it feels like they are washing away bits of food debris and loose plaque left in their mouth. We usually suggest antibacterial mouth rinses since they also help remove the bacteria that causes tooth decay and gum disease.

A Diet for Good Oral Health: Your nutrition choices can affect your dental health. When you eat foods high in starches, carbohydrates and sugars, plaque will grow in your mouth. Plaque causes both gum disease and cavities. In general, foods that are good for your overall health, like lean meats, fruits, vegetables and non-fat dairy products, are also good for your dental health.

Is it Really Important to Have a Dental Home?

When you have a dental home, you have consistency. You’ll have a checkup and professional cleaning every six months, along with an oral cancer screening. Your dentist will get to know you and offer preventative treatments if you have a high risk for certain dental diseases.

When you see a dentist regularly, he or she can spot potential problems early. This will save you time and money, along with helping you avoid emergency dental visits. If you and your family need a dental home, please consider our office. We enjoy protecting our patient’s oral health and educating them on the best dental hygiene methods to use at home.

Every year, oral cancer is newly diagnosed in over 49,700 individuals in the United States. Hopefully, most of those patients received their diagnosis and treatment when the cancer was still in its earliest stages, when treatment is most effective. The death rate for oral cancer is higher than it is for more well-known cancers, such as Hodgkin’s lymphoma and cervical cancer. Having a regular dentist will help you avoid a misdiagnosis or a late one.

As dental professionals, we believe screenings are essential. It only takes a few minutes during your normal checkup for your dentist to visually inspect your oral cavity and check for lumps. Many times, people cannot see the early warning signs of oral cancer in their mouth and there typically isn’t any pain or other symptoms until the disease spreads.

Older men who smoke and drink alcohol heavily have the highest risk for developing oral cancer, but this is changing. Since there are now other contributing factors to oral cancer, more women and younger individuals are being diagnosed as well. If you have multiple risk factors, your dentist may recommend more specialized tests using lights or dyes.

Good Dental Care Looks Out for Your Interests

We know your oral health is essential to maintaining your smile and overall health. If you’re looking for a welcoming dental practice with a team that cares about you, please call for an appointment. Alternatively, you can contact us online. We strive to provide customer care that exceeds your expectations.

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