A person’s teeth are meant to last a lifetime. However, if the person doesn’t take good care of the teeth and gums, they may develop problems. With proper dental care information, these problems can be avoided. What are the problems most commonly seen, and how can a person prevent them?
Enamel serves as the hard, outer coating of each tooth in the mouth. Dental plaque builds up on the teeth every day and the bacteria in this plaque produce acid. The acid harms the enamel and brings about cavities. Although brushing and flossing help to prevent tooth decay, regular dental visits are needed to remove any plaque which the individual cannot. The dental hygienist uses special tools to achieve this goal. If a cavity does form, the dentist will address it promptly to prevent additional damage.
Between dental cleanings, every person should brush their teeth a minimum of twice a day using fluoride toothpaste to prevent decay. In addition, the dentist may do a fluoride treatment at cleanings to protect the enamel.
Gingivitis or gum disease begins when plaque accumulates under the gum line. This leads to an infection that erodes the gums. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontal disease. Individuals with this disease are more at risk of tooth loss, chewing difficulties, and bleeding gums.
To prevent gum disease, individuals need to floss daily in addition to brushing. Let the dentist know about any medications you take, as they can lead to dry mouth and gingivitis. Eat a healthy diet and stop smoking. The chemicals in tobacco products increase a person’s risk for gum disease.
Cleaning the Teeth and Gums
To properly brush the teeth and remove plaque, purchase a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Gently brush every tooth on all sides and along the gum line. Don’t ignore the tongue, as it harbours bacteria as well. Follow up by flossing the teeth once daily to remove any leftover food and plaque the toothbrush missed. Rinse after flossing remove any particles that remain. If you suffer from arthritis and find it hard to brush and floss, use a battery-operated or electric toothbrush and water flosser.
Many older individuals have dentures today. If you fall into this category, brush and floss to protect the natural teeth that remain. Make certain the dentures fit properly, and see the dentist regularly for adjustments.
Dentures can make it harder for a person to detect hot foods and drinks or foreign objects in their foods. Cut food into small pieces, and chew slowly using both sides of the mouth. Clean the dentures regularly, and avoid eating any foods that may become lodged under the dentures and hurt the gums. Never sleep with the dentures in, as doing so could lead to swelling of the gums.
Some people fail to produce enough saliva, which can lead to difficulty with eating, swallowing, and speaking. Furthermore, dry mouth increases a person’s risk of cavities and infections in the mouth. Certain medications bring about dry mouth, so be sure to share with the dentist any medications you are taking. The dentist becomes of great help in addressing this and other oral health issues.
Visit your dentist regularly for exams, check-ups, and cleanings. During this visit, the dentist examines the mouth to identify any potential problems and provides recommendations on treatment. Never neglect these visits, as early detection is key to addressing and halting any issues. The dentist is the best person to catch problems early and help you treat them for good oral health.