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Dental Care Basics

A clean and healthy mouth will help to ensure that you have good oral hygiene and that your teeth will stay with you for the rest of your life. It’s never too late to start either. If you’ve had poor dental hygiene in the past, you can change that now so that you won’t need artificial teeth as you age.

Everything you ingest, whether liquid or solid, is absorbed into your bloodstream and becomes part of your blood and major organs. This makes it essential to keep a healthy mouth so that bacteria don’t travel throughout your body and cause health issues such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, pulmonary disease, and many other health problems.

How Do I Avoid Getting Plaque?

When you maintain a regimen of good oral hygiene, you inhibit the growth of bacteria, gingivitis, and cavities in your mouth. When you consume foods or beverages that are high in sugar and carbohydrates, they combine with the bacteria that are in your mouth, and plaque and cavities can begin to form.

Plaque is the sticky film that’s left on your teeth after you eat or drink. If the bacteria and food particles are removed through brushing and flossing, then you lessen the chances that plaque and dental caries will form. If not removed, then it will start to erode your tooth enamel.

Even though tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the body, when it’s repeatedly exposed to bacteria and acid, it can begin to break down, which sets the stage for gingivitis to form. Left untreated, gingivitis will develop into periodontal disease, then it will become periodontitis and you’ll lose all of your teeth. Tartar and calculus can only be removed by a dentist, which is one reason for making regular checkups part of your oral hygiene regimen.

How Does Gingivitis Get Started?

Gingivitis is very common and affects about 75 percent of people at some time in their lives. It’s the first stage of periodontal disease, but if it’s caught in its early stages, then it’s completely reversible and there should be no permanent damage to your teeth and gums.

However, many people have gingivitis but are unaware of it. It presents asymptomatically, so you won’t know it’s present until you notice one or more of the symptoms, such as:

  • Gums that bleed when you brush or floss
  • Bite changes
  • Gums that are discolored, such as dark red or purplish
  • Loose teeth
  • Persistent halitosis, or bad breath
  • Sensitivity to sugary foods or temperature
  • Swollen gums

If you have one or more of these symptoms, then you probably have gingivitis and need to make an appointment with your dentist. Don’t delay in addressing the problem of gingivitis. Left untreated, it can become periodontitis and you can lose all of your teeth as well as your jaw and facial structure. If you have gingivitis or you need a dental checkup, then call our Florida office to schedule an appointment.

How Can I Avoid Getting Cavities?

The best deterrent to cavities is a program of good oral hygiene every day. Even so, you may develop a cavity. If you get a sudden toothache, then you may have a cavity. If you notice holes or pits in your teeth, you may have cavities that should be treated immediately. When not treated, the cavities can become larger and may abscess, which can be a life-threatening condition. It can also cause you to lose one or more of your teeth or get an infection.

Cavities are one of the biggest health issues in the world, and according to the American Dental Association (ADA), the most common chronic disease of childhood. If you notice one or more of the following, then schedule an appointment with your dentist to check for the presence of cavities:

  • Pain when you bite down or when you chew
  • Small holes or pits in your teeth
  • Temperature or sugar sensitivity to foods or drinks
  • Sudden toothaches

When you maintain your teeth in good condition, they’ll last throughout your lifetime without the need for dentures. Although many parents think that cavities are acceptable for children who don’t have their permanent teeth, this is incorrect. Start training your child to use a toothbrush when they’re able to feed themselves and you’ll instill lifelong good dental habits in them. A toothbrush can make an excellent teething tool also.

What Should I Do at Home to Maintain Good Oral Hygiene?

The American Dental Association recommends that you visit your dentist for cleaning and checkups twice each year, more frequently if it’s recommended by your dentist.

Brushing

Be sure to brush at least twice daily and floss at least once daily, and have regular cleanings and checkups. Other recommendations include:

  • Brush for a minimum of two minutes, especially at nighttime
  • Brush your tongue as well as your teeth to remove bacteria that can cause bad breath
  • Use a new toothbrush at least every three months or after you’ve been sick

Floss Daily

Flossing at night is vital to remove the food particles from between your teeth. Ideally, you should floss after each meal or snack, but if you don’t, be sure to floss before bedtime at a minimum. Otherwise, the food particles will remain and bacteria will form during the night. Flossing is very important because the floss can get into hard-to-reach areas that your toothbrush may not reach. Flossing also helps to prevent bad breath, tooth decay, and tartar buildup, so be sure to floss a minimum of once each day.

Mouthwash

An antibacterial mouthwash can help eliminate residual bacteria that flossing and brushing missed. Swish the fluid around for 30 seconds so that your mouth is thoroughly rinsed, and be sure that your mouthwash carries the American Dental Association seal of approval.

Dietary Habits

A healthy diet can contribute to your good oral health as well as your good physical health. High-sugar, high-carb foods and beverages combine with the bacteria in your mouth to attack your tooth enamel, and they’ll eventually destroy your tooth enamel.

A well-balanced diet should include fruits, vegetables, nuts, dairy, and lean protein. This will ensure that you have a healthier body as well as a healthier mouth. It’s also important to drink plenty of clear water that’s not flavored with sugar or artificial sweeteners. If you need help making a healthy diet or if you need to schedule an appointment, then call our Florida office and we’ll be happy to help you.

Why Should I Have A Regular Family Dentist?

When your dentist knows your medical and dental history, they’re better able to assess the condition of your mouth and detect potential problems before they become major problems. This can save you not only money, but time and stress as well as your teeth and dental health.

Your personal dentist will notice changes in your bite, indicators of bruxism, and more importantly, indicators of disease such as cancer or TMJ. The American Dental Association recommends that everyone have bi-annual checkups and cleanings to keep their teeth in the best health possible, but your dentist may recommend more frequent visits.

Is Consistent, Professional Dental Care Really Important?

Consistent, professional dental exams and cleanings will ensure that you have the best oral health possible, which will help keep you physically healthy. Oral cancer screenings are now a routine part of dental exams since oral cancer now accounts for more than 3 percent of new cancer cases annually, and men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer as women. Those who drink and smoke increase their likelihood of developing oral cancer. With consistent, annual dental exams at a minimum, you can help prevent cysts, tumors, abscesses, fractures, and decay before they worsen.

If you haven’t seen a dentist in a while, then call our Florida office at to schedule a cleaning and exam. Keep your natural teeth in your mouth for your lifetime with regular dental checkups. Call us today, we look forward to speaking with you.

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