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We’ve reopened in accordance with CDC, O.S.H.A., and State Dental Board guidelines to responsibly resume seeing our patients for regular dental appointments and treatment. We want to assure you of the measures we take to maintain a clean and safe environment so you can continue to receive needed dental care without fear or concern.
Posted on: October 14, 2020
Dental Care Basics
Your mouth is probably the most overworked and underappreciated part of your body. No matter your activity, your mouth is probably involved. Since it’s the port of entry for your entire body, it’s vital to keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible, which will improve both your oral health and your physical health. Poor dental health has been directly linked to some types of cancer, pneumonia and other respiratory ailments, and cardiovascular disease. No matter your age, adopting a regimen of good oral hygiene will ensure that your natural teeth last as long as possible, and they may well last for your lifetime. If you need information on good at-home oral hygiene, then call our Shelton office, and we’ll be happy to answer all of your questions.
What Causes Plaque Buildup?
Plaque is the substance that remains in your mouth after you eat or drink, particularly foods or beverages that are high in sugars or carbohydrates. When plaque isn’t removed through brushing and flossing, then it can settle between your teeth and in the crevices of your gums, which will cause inflammation, which is the precursor to gingivitis. Regular brushing and flossing will keep plaque from gaining a stronghold in your mouth.
What Causes Gingivitis to Form?
Poor oral hygiene is the primary cause of gingivitis. When you don’t brush and floss regularly, bacteria-laden plaque settles between your teeth and in the crevices of your gums, where it begins to attack your teeth and gums. This causes inflammation, which is gingivitis. Brushing at least twice daily and flossing at least once daily are the best oral hygiene deterrents to the formation of gingivitis.
Since gingivitis often presents asymptomatically, you may have it but be unaware of it. During your dental checkup, your dentist will be able to detect the presence of gingivitis even before you’re aware of it. Gingivitis is very common, affecting more than 75 percent of the adult population at some point in their lives. When caught early, it has an excellent prognosis and usually causes no permanent damage. However, when it’s not treated, gingivitis can escalate into the different stages of gum disease, ending in periodontitis, which is very serious. Periodontitis can cause loss of bone in your jaw, loss of facial structure, and loss of all your teeth.
If you notice any of the following, even though you don’t have any pain, then you may have gingivitis and should consult your dentist without delay:
- Bleeding gums when you floss or brush
- Changes to your bite
- Discolored and swollen gums, such as from pale pink to reddish or purplish
- Sensitivity to hot or cold foods
- Teeth that are loose
- Unrelenting bad breath
Good oral hygiene is the key to preventing gingivitis, so be sure to brush and floss assiduously.
What Causes Cavities to Form?
The same bacteria that are in plaque are the culprits for cavities. When the bacteria aren’t removed through oral hygiene habits, then they begin to attack the enamel on the teeth. Even though enamel is the hardest substance in your body, constant exposure to food acids and bacteria can cause it to deteriorate, and cavities can begin to form.
The American Dental Association (ADA) refers to dental caries as the most common health problem in the world, even though it’s completely preventable. When a child is old enough to feed themselves, then they’re old enough to hold a toothbrush afterward. This instills the correlation between eating and brushing and starts to train them in a lifetime of good oral hygiene. If you have any of the following symptoms, you may be in the early stages of dental caries:
- Biting or chewing causes pain
- Your teeth are sensitive to sugar or cold or hot
- Sudden toothache
- Tiny holes or pits in your teeth
If you experience any of these or if it’s been a while since you’ve seen a dentist, then call our Shelton office for an appointment.
Which At-home Practices Will Maintain Good Oral Hygiene?
The best at-home oral hygiene routine has several facets. The American Dental Association recommends the following:
- Brush at least twice each day and floss before bedtime
- Brush for at least two minutes every time you brush
- Brush your tongue
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle pressure
- Replace your toothbrush immediately if you’ve had an infection in your mouth or have been sick
- Replace your toothbrush at least every three months or sooner if the bristles deteriorate
Flossing before bedtime will remove any food particles that were missed when you brushed since the floss can reach areas that are inaccessible to your toothbrush. Flossing every day helps prevent cavities, bad breath, and the accumulation of plaque, so you’ll see the benefits of flossing long after the small amount of time it takes to floss.
The American Dental Association recommends using an antibacterial mouthwash at least once each day. Swish it in your mouth for at least 30 seconds and make sure that it carries the American Dental Association seal of approval. Brushing and flossing may miss some bacteria, but an antibacterial mouthwash can reach every area of your mouth and remove any residual bacteria.
Eat Healthy Foods
Although it may seem atypical for a dentist to address your dietary habits, your diet is an integral part of your oral health. High-carbohydrate, high-sugar, fast-food diets will provide you with poor oral health as well as poor physical health. Sugary sodas are notorious for eroding your tooth enamel and causing cavities. Instead of fast food, try to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, dairy products, and nuts, and drink plain water that’s not sweetened or flavored. Your body and your mouth will reap the benefits, and your scale may benefit also!
The American Dental Association recommends that you visit your dentist twice each year for tooth cleanings and checkups. This ensures that any issues are caught early, which provides the best prognosis, and you’ll maintain the best oral hygiene possible. If you need to schedule an appointment, then call our Shelton office, and we can help you.
Why Is It Important to Have a Regular Family Dentist?
When your dentist is familiar with your medical and dental history, they’re more likely to notice anything abnormal such as a cyst or tumor, bone loss, TMJ, bruxism, or changes to your bite. This enables them to address the problem before it escalates, and you’re less likely to have permanent damage as a result.
Why Is It Important to Have Consistent, Professional Dental Care?
Even if you don’t have a personal or family dentist, if you have regular checkups and cleanings, then your dentist is more likely to catch diseases in the earliest stages. Oral cancer is becoming increasingly common. It now accounts for 3 percent of all new cancers that are diagnosed each year, and it’s the sixth most common cancer in men. For both men and women, drinking and smoking increase the likelihood of developing oral cancer, although men are more likely to develop it than women. Most dental offices now offer oral cancer screening as part of a comprehensive exam, so call us if you need to schedule a screening.
We offer affordable, compassionate, high-quality dental care to all of our patients, and we’d be pleased to add you to our list of satisfied patients. If you need a dental cleaning or checkup, then call our Shelton office at (203) 916-1173 and let us help you. We look forward to working with you.