Dental Care Essentials

What you can do to keep your mouth healthy

Your everyday dental care habits and routines are essential for maintaining your dental health. Taking care of your teeth, being aware of warning signs, and getting regular check-ups and cleanings can prevent dental problems or identify them early. While your dentist and dental hygienist will make sure your teeth and smile are in the best shape they can be, you are a key part of your ongoing dental care.

Clean Your Teeth

Plaque starts to accumulate within 12 hours and builds up between your teeth. You need to brush your teeth at least twice a day to control it and bacteria that may cause tooth decay, as well as to protect yourself from gum disease.

Since these issues start between your teeth, it's also important to clean there once a day, or whenever you knowingly have stuck food debris. Besides string dental floss, you can use dental picks, tiny dental brushes, or water flossers.

Make Dental Visits a Habit

A dental care routine that involves regular check-ups and cleanings is one of the most important factors in maintaining good oral health. Regular check-ups can prevent tooth decay, gum disease, oral cancer, and other dental conditions.

Dental diseases are easily addressed if diagnosed early, so it’s important not to wait until you have a problem before you see your dentist.

If you’re putting off your appointment because you’re afraid of the dentist, don't worry, you’re not alone. Dental anxiety is one of the most common reasons that people avoid regular check-ups.

Be assured that your dentist sees people who experience dental anxiety every day. In fact, dentists are highly trained in easing nerves and helping patients slowly settle into realizing that the dentist isn’t actually that bad.

Modern dental offices are set up with the newest equipment that is both fast and painless, so you may be surprised by how pleasant a trip to the dentist can be.

If you do suffer from dental anxiety, it’s important to let the office know before your check-up. They will often schedule an appointment that will focus mainly on discussing why you fear professional dental care.

Check for Signs of Gum Disease

Maybe you notice blood on your teeth when you eat or in the sink when you brush. Bleeding gums are a sign of gingivitis and should be evaluated by a dentist.

Over time, gingivitis can turn into a chronic inflammatory process known as gum disease. But the key to having healthy gums is to get the condition diagnosed in its early stage.

Gingivitis can be treated and reversed. But if left undiagnosed, gum disease can progress, making your gums recede and potentially leading to eventual bone loss that can result in loose, mobile teeth.

Brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and keeping up-to-date with dental check-ups is the best prevention against gum disease.

Cut Down on Sweets

The link between sugary, sweet food and tooth decay is well known. Sugars are taken in and digested by the bacteria in dental plaque, producing acid that then attacks your tooth enamel. Over time, this results in tooth decay.

While all sugary choices can play a part in this, hard candies are worth calling out in particular. Since they stay in your mouth for a while, your teeth have direct exposure to the sugar the candy contains for a longer period of time than types that you chew and swallow. (It's also worth noting that you risk chipping a tooth if you bite into suckers.)

Sticky sweets such as dried fruit, taffy, and caramels are also of special concern, as they can lodge next to your teeth for long periods.

Be sure to brush, floss, and rinse with water after such treats. And if tend to reach for them often, do your best to cut back. Over time, you may find that you've been able to "reprogram" your sweet tooth.

The American Dental Association also recommends cutting down on eating and drinking between meals.

Don't Ignore Bad Breath

A large number of people who identify as having bad breath, or who are told they have bad breath, have a problem with their dental health. Monitoring your dental care includes being aware of signs like this, which can indicate an issue that needs addressing.

If you're hesitant to go to the dentist because of bad breath, remember that your doctor sees cases like yours all the time, is trained to identify the reasons behind them, and is focussed on only one thing—helping you get better.

Get Prompt Help for Dental Problems

One of the biggest misconceptions that people have about their mouths is that they think problems will fix themselves. Nearly every problem that occurs in the mouth will get worse and may reach a point in which your dentist cannot repair it.

Even when treatment is a possibility, delaying its start may end up proving it to be ineffective. For example, a chipped or cracked tooth can lead to an abscess, while having it checked soon after the damage occurs may prevent this, potentially saving the tooth.

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Article Sources

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