Dental Care for Adults
Tooth decay and gum disease are caused by plaque, a sticky combination of bacteria and food. Plaque begins to build up on teeth within 20 minutes after eating. Plaque will lead to tooth decay if teeth are not cleaned well each day. It turns into a hard deposit called tartar that becomes trapped at the base of the tooth if you do not remove plaque. Plaque and tartar irritate and inflame the gums. Bacteria and the toxins they produce cause the gums to become:
By taking good care of your gums and teeth, you can help prevent problems such as tooth decay and gum disease (periodontitis). You should also teach your children how to floss and brush from an early age to help them protect their teeth.
Plaque and tartar lead to a number of problems:
- Cavities, which are holes that damage the structure of teeth
- Gingivitis, which are swollen, inflamed, and bleeding gums
- Periodontitis, is the destruction of the ligaments and bone that support the teeth, often leading to tooth loss
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Abscesses, pain, inability to use teeth.
- Other health problems outside the mouth, from preterm labor to heart disease.
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR TEETH.
Healthy teeth are clean and have no cavities. Healthy gums are pink and firm. To maintain healthy teeth and gums, follow these steps:.
Once per day, Floss at least. It is best to floss before brushing. Flossing removes plaque from between the teeth and on the gums.
Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Brush 2 minutes each time.
Use fluoride toothpaste. The fluoride helps strengthen tooth enamel and helps prevent tooth decay.
If needed, replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months or sooner. A worn-out toothbrush will not clean your teeth.
Eat a healthy diet. If you eat healthy foods, you are less likely to get gum disease.
Avoid sweets and sweetened drinks. Eating and drinking a lot of sweets increases your risk of cavities. Brush your teeth soon after if you do eat or drink sweets.
DO NOT smoke. Smokers have more teeth and gum problems than non-smokers.
Keep dentures, retainers, and other appliances clean. This includes brushing them regularly.
You may also need to soak them in a cleansing solution.
Schedule regular checkups with Dental Designs of White Marsh. Many dentists recommend having the teeth professionally cleaned every 6 months.
Regular teeth cleaning by a dentist removes plaque that may develop, even with careful brushing and flossing. This is very important for getting at areas that are hard to reach on your own. Professional cleaning includes polishing and scaling. This procedure uses instruments to loosen and remove deposits from the teeth. Routine exams may include dental x-rays. Your dentist can catch problems early, so they do not become more expensive and serious to fix.
Ask your dentist:.
What kind of toothbrush you should use, and how to brush your teeth well. If an electric tooth brush is right for you, ask. Electric tooth brushes have been shown to clean teeth better than manual toothbrushes.
How to properly floss your teeth. Improper or overly vigorous flossing may injure the gums.
Whether you should use any special appliances or tools, such as water irrigation. This may sometimes help supplement (but not replace) brushing and flossing.
Whether you could benefit from particular toothpastes or mouth rinses. In some cases, over-the-counter pastes and rinses may be doing you more harm than good, depending on your condition.
WHEN TO CALL THE DENTIST.
Call your dentist if you have symptoms of a cavity that include:
- Pain in the tooth that occurs for no reason or is caused by food, beverages, brushing or flossing.
- Sensitivity to cold or hot drinks or foods.
Get early treatment for gum disease. Call your dentist if you have symptoms of gum disease that include:
- Red or swollen gums.
- When you brush your teeth, bleeding in the gums.
- Bad breath.
- Loose teeth.
Tooth decay and gum disease are caused by plaque, a sticky combination of bacteria and food. If teeth are not cleaned well each day, plaque will lead to tooth decay. To maintain healthy teeth and gums, follow these steps:.
- Flossing removes plaque from between the teeth and on the gums.
- Electric tooth brushes have been shown to clean teeth better than manual toothbrushes.