If you listened to your parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents — and maybe older siblings and babysitters — while you were growing up, you probably know by now that the keys to good oral health for a lifetime are brushing and flossing. They were right, but there’s a bit more to it. Here, in addition to seeing your dentist for dental checkups and cleanings, is how to keep your teeth, mouth and gums healthy at every stage of your life.
Bacteria and your mouth
Bacteria in our mouth recycle what we eat and drink by consuming the sugars in our food. Bacteria especially like sugary foods and starches — contained in pasta, bread, and cereals, for example — that are easily converted to sugar. Many bacteria are essential to our health, but it’s the byproduct of their activity that causes problems for our teeth. When bacteria consume sugars, they produce a biofilm as a waste product. We know that biofilm as dental plaque.
Dental plaque produces acids that degrade tooth enamel which results in cavities. Bacteria in that plaque produce toxic substances that aggravate the gums, leaving them red, sensitive, and quick to bleed. Those bacteria also contribute to the development of gum disease — called gingivitis in its early form and periodontitis in its more serious form. Advanced gum disease causes your gums to retract and recede from your teeth, which results in pockets that can fill with food debris and more of that bacteria leading to infection and accumulations of pus. At its worst, periodontitis destroys bone matter causing your teeth to get loose in your jaw and even fall out.
During dental cleanings in Chaparral, your dentist and the clinic’s hygienists will ensure that all plaque and tartar are removed and any signs of tooth decay are dealt with. To arrange regular dental checkups near you to improve your oral health, get in touch with a dentist near you.
How to prevent tooth decay
The key to good oral health is to minimize the amount of food matter — especially sugary and starchy foods — lingering on your teeth in order to minimize the amount of plaque that accumulates on your teeth and gums. To the extent that plaque does accumulate, the objective is to remove it as quickly as possible before it can cause lasting damage.
There are three keys, in addition to annual professional teeth cleanings and twice-yearly dental checkups in Chaparral, to maintaining good oral health: brushing, flossing, and mouthwash.
Brushing your teeth after every meal and sweetened drink — but no less frequently than twice a day — effectively removes food debris, sugary substances, and plaque from the surfaces of your teeth when done with a soft-bristled toothbrush and an antimicrobial toothbrush that contains fluoride.
Two keys to effectively brushing your teeth are to brush all of the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces of each tooth; and to brush your tongue.
Cleaning between every tooth every day using dental floss or interdental cleaners will remove food debris, sugary substances, and plaque that accumulates between your teeth and at your gum line where toothbrushes simply can’t reach. When done properly, flossing can protect both your teeth and your gums. To help protect your gums from gum disease, gently slide your dental floss into the small gap between your gum tissue and the surface of your tooth after snuggling the floss up against the tooth itself.
Brushing and flossing sometimes leave random food matter in and around your mouth. You can increase the cleanliness of your mouth, teeth, and gums by rinsing with an antimicrobial mouthwash. A mouthwash that contains fluoride will also help with your battle to prevent tooth decay.
Waging a consistent battle with bacteria at home through regular brushing and flossing is your best defence against tooth decay. During an appointment for dental cleaning in Chaparral, dentists and hygienists will teach you the best practices of oral hygiene. Combined with annual teeth cleanings, twice-annual dental checkups in Sundance, and dental treatment as recommended by your dentist in Chaparral, a commitment to daily oral hygiene will set you up for a lifetime of good oral health.
If you’re looking for a dentist in Sundance to partner with you and your family for preventative and responsive care, treatment, and advice, get in touch with the staff at Chaparral Dental Wellness. We’d love to meet and help everyone in your family.