Team Up With Your Dentist for Your Best Oral Health
From early childhood through your senior years, it’s important to practice good dental hygiene habits. Why? Beyond the obvious of keeping bad breath and tooth staining at bay, a good oral hygiene regime can help protect you against disease and infection. Here are a few common problems poor oral hygiene habits can contribute to:
- Bacteria buildup: Without a good brushing and flossing routine, bacteria builds up
- Plaque: Left to build up, bacteria produces a sticky film on your teeth. Eventually, this biofilm hardens into plaque
- Cavities: When bacteria and plaque build up they begin to erode the enamel on your teeth causing holes, or cavities, to form
- Tartar: Tartar is hardened plaque. It can cause cavities and contribute to gum disease
- Gum disease: Gum disease is inflammation in your gums caused by bacteria, plaque and tartar. When gum disease sets in, you are susceptible to tooth sensitivity, bed breath, gum recession, tooth shifting and, eventually, tooth loss
- Untreated gum disease: Recent studies suggest that, left untreated, gum disease can enter your body causing or contributing to medical health problems
Three preventative strategies to protect your oral health
Regular brushing is the first line of defense against the harmful bacteria that can cause plaque and tartar build up.A soft toothbrush with well-designed bristles on a small head will help you to get into the tight spaces. Brushing gently for three minutes is a good rule of thumb. Be sure to include your tongue as bacteria likes to hide there as well.
Brush twice each day, once in the morning and once before bed.
- Flossing:Flossing is as important as brushing. It helps to remove plaque from the spaces your toothbrush can’t reach. To be the most effective, here’s the technique:
- Wash your hands. This is just so you don’t spread any germs into your mouth
- Don’t skimp. Break off enough floss for several wraps around each index finger
- Zig-zag the floss between your teeth to slide it to the base
- Wrap the floss around the bottom of your tooth in a “c” shape then pull it up carefully. Don’t forget to tackle both sides of the tooth
- Regular dental cleanings and check-ups:No matter how well you brush and floss at home, everyone needs regular professional care. Why?
- There are many places, all those little nooks and crannies, that require the cleaning tools your hygienist has and techniques he or she is trained to do. Your dental hygienist may also polish your teeth, and apply fluoride treatment to protect your teeth from cavities and decay.
- At your check-up, your dentist will perform and examination of your mouth, jaw, teeth and gums. They’re looking for infection, decay, cracked or broken fillings, and other issues that could cause you oral health issues in the future.