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Posted on: October 14, 2020
Dental Care Basics
Unless you have a propensity for being toothless, understanding the basics of good oral hygiene is essential if you’re to keep your natural teeth throughout your lifetime. A healthy mouth is vital to a healthy body, so keeping your gums and teeth in good condition will help keep your physical body in good condition. Anytime that you have a disease or infection in your gums or teeth, it can travel through your bloodstream to your major organs and cause serious health issues such as pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease, and some types of cancer.
How Does Plaque Attack the Teeth?
When you eat or drink, especially items that are high in sugar or carbohydrates, a sticky film forms on your teeth. This is plaque, and when not removed through brushing or flossing, it encourages bacteria to develop, which causes cavities and gingivitis to start forming. Even though your tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your body, when it’s continually attacked by bacteria and food acids, it will begin to erode. If you notice tiny pits and holes in your teeth, they’re the result of acid attacks.
When you brush and floss after eating or drinking, then you eliminate most of the bacteria that can erode your tooth enamel. If you don’t, then it begins to develop plaque, which encourages the formation of more bacteria, and you can end up with periodontitis and no teeth.
How Do I Know If I’m Developing Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is the precursor to periodontal disease but it usually presents asymptomatically, so you may be unaware that you have it. If you notice any of the following signs, they usually indicate the presence of gingivitis:
- Bleeding gums, particularly when you floss or brush
- Bad breath
- Bite changes
- Color change in your gums, such as from pale pink to dark red or purplish
- Inflamed or swollen gums
- Loose teeth
- Unusual sensitivity to sugary or hot or cold foods or beverages
If you have gingivitis, then call our Bradenton office to make an appointment so that the disease doesn’t escalate. We can also provide you with tips on preventing it in the future.
What Causes Cavities?
The primary cause of dental caries, or cavities, is poor oral hygiene habits. If you have one or more cavities, then don’t procrastinate, see your dentist without delay. The following signs usually indicate the presence of one or more cavities:
- Pain when chewing or biting
- One or more sudden toothaches
- Heightened sensitivity to the sugar content or temperature of foods and beverages
- Pitting or holes in your tooth enamel
The American Dental Association states that cavities are the most common chronic childhood disease, thankfully they’re completely preventable. When you teach your child good oral hygiene habits at an early age, they’re more likely to maintain them throughout their lives and therefore maintain better oral and physical health. When a child is old enough to feed themselves, they’re old enough to hold a toothbrush after eating.
If you or your child have one or more cavities, then don’t ignore them. When not treated, a cavity can abscess and cause severe consequences. An abscess is a serious health hazard, and the bacteria in untreated cavities can lead to cardiovascular disease, pneumonia, and some types of cancers.
What Are Good Practices for At-home Dental Care?
The American Dental Association recommends that everyone brush at least twice daily and floss at least once, preferably before bedtime.
You should brush upon rising in the morning before you eat or drink anything to get rid of the bacteria that may have formed in your mouth overnight. Ask your dentist about the best oral hygiene routine for your unique needs, but in general, the American Dental Association recommends the following:
- Brush your tongue when you brush your teeth to eliminate bacteria that can cause bad breath
- Brush your teeth twice a day for a minimum of two minutes each time
- Replace your toothbrush immediately if you’ve been sick
- Replace your soft-bristled toothbrush at least every three months
- When you brush, use gentle pressure so that you don’t damage your tooth enamel.
Floss Every Day
The American Dental Association also recommends that you floss every day at least once. Ideally, you should brush and floss after each meal or snack, but that isn’t always feasible. However, you should floss at least nightly before you retire so that you remove any food particles that are lodged between your teeth or in your gums.
The American Dental Association also recommends that you use an antibacterial mouthwash as the final step in your oral hygiene routine. This removes any residual bacteria on your tongue, teeth, and gums, and will deter bad breath.
Eating A Healthy Diet
It is also recommended that everyone eat a healthy diet that is free of high amounts of sugar, refined carbohydrates, fast food. Ideally, your diet should be full of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, dairy, lean protein and nuts. Not only does this type of diet provide optimal nutrition for a healthy mouth, but it helps to ensure a healthy body as well. Be sure to maintain adequate hydration by drinking several large glasses of plain, unflavored, unsweetened water every day also.
Why Should I Have a Consistent Dentist?
When you have a personal dentist who’s familiar with both your dental and your medical history, they’re more likely to spot any abnormalities that could indicate an abscess, a cyst, bruxism, decay, fractures, jawbone loss or other dental issues. When these issues are detected and treated early, the prognosis is significantly better. Routine cleanings and checkups will also significantly reduce the amount of tartar and dental caries that you might develop.
Why Is Consistent, Regular Dental Care Important?
Since the incidence of oral cancer is on the rise, most dentists now offer oral cancer screenings. This insidious disease is now responsible for more than 3 percent of all new cancers that are diagnosed each year and it’s the sixth most common cancer in men. Those who smoke or drink have a greater propensity for developing oral cancer, so if you haven’t been screened recently, call our Bradenton office to schedule an appointment.
When you maintain good dental habits throughout your life, you’re more likely to retain your natural teeth and not need artificial replacements. A combination of good oral hygiene at home and regular professional checkups and cleanings can ensure that you have the best dental health possible throughout your life. Call our Bradenton office at (941) 584-4356 to schedule an appointment, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve last seen a dentist. We look forward to speaking with you and helping you regain your good oral health.