When it comes to the health of your mouth, how well would you rate your oral hygiene habits? You only have one set of permanent teeth, so they must be taken care of. The largest indication of your risk for tooth decay and gum disease is how well you take care of your teeth through oral hygiene. Are you brushing and flossing your teeth daily? Are you seeing your dentist several times each year? The American Dental Association recommends specific guidelines that patients should follow if they want to keep a healthy mouth. What are those guidelines and are you following them? Learn what you should be doing to keep your mouth healthy and if your oral hygiene is good enough to avoid tooth decay and gum disease from forming!
Brushing your teeth should be your most valued and essential habit for keeping your teeth clean on a daily basis. Brushing your teeth may not seem like much, but you are doing so much for your oral health. However, you must brush your teeth properly to reap the most benefits. The American Dental Association recommends brushing the teeth at least twice a day to keep them healthy. Brushing removes clear, sticky plaque from the teeth that erodes your tooth enamel and irritates your gum tissue.
Here is our way for brushing teeth:
We mentioned flossing the teeth before you brush them. Many patients prefer to floss the teeth after they brush their teeth, and that is perfectly fine. The goal is to get floss between your teeth each and every day, whether it comes before or after brushing. This is to remove foods stuck in between the teeth and those hard-to-reach places. Flossing is especially important for the health of your gums, since trapped food and bacteria are the most common culprits behind gum disease. You don’t want to only brush the teeth without flossing, because there are certain places that a toothbrush and mouthwash simply can’t reach. That’s why floss is so useful: it can go where other things can’t.
Mouthwash is an additional aid for having better oral health. It won’t remove plaque from your teeth, but it can work to kill bacteria that makes plaque. It also kills germs that cause bad breath. That alone makes it a popular choice for many people. There are specific mouth rinses your dentist can prescribe you to help strengthen your teeth and help issues such as periodontal disease.
Fluoride is highly beneficial for your tooth enamel. Think of it as a strong barrier between your teeth and substances that are trying to attack the teeth. Fluoride is found in most water sources in the United States (such as your tap water), but you can also find it in toothpastes, gels, foams, and more. Fluoride helps prevent decay and keeps your teeth strong. Both mouthwash and flouride are great tools to add to your oral hygiene routine.
Gum disease and tooth decay are amongst the top oral health issues worldwide. In the United States alone, over 64 million adults have gum disease. That number doesn’t even include children! Many of these have severe gum disease as well, which eventually causes a domino effect of tooth loss in your mouth. Gum disease happens when plaque irritates the gums and makes them recede. This happens over time due to poor oral hygiene habits.
As we mentioned before, plaque also sits on the teeth and erodes the tooth enamel. This is how tooth decay takes place, or in other words, how cavities form. Tooth decay is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases affecting both children and adults. Until decay becomes severe, a patient may not even realize that they have cavities forming. Just know, that if you aren’t brushing and flossing enough each day, that you put yourself at a high risk for both cavities and gum disease. Both are 100% avoidable with good oral hygiene.
Visiting your dentist regularly is one of the best ways to spot oral health issues before they become severe. You may look at your teeth and think they look fine, when really there are problems with tooth decay and gum disease present. Many people don’t know the signs of gum disease or think that the disease must be painful, however, it is not. A dentist can spot gingivitis and more severe forms of gum disease forming, and can generally spot the signs much quicker than the average patient can.
Tooth decay is a tricky condition, because so much of the decay happens inside of a tooth. That is why dental cleanings and comprehensive examinations are so important. A comprehensive exam will include laser cavity detection. With this detection, we can harness the power of laser light using lightwave reflection to spot signs of decay. When a tooth is healthy, the laser light will easily pass through with minimal refraction. If a cavity is present, however, light will be reflected. This way we can know the exact size, shape, and location of tooth decay. You can’t do that unless you visit your dentist!
Now it’s time to evaluate your oral hygiene. Are you brushing at least twice a day, if not more? Are you flossing your teeth and seeing your dentist regularly? We can’t help you with establishing daily habits, but we can tell you that those small habits are incredibly important to achieving a healthy smile and one that won’t decay over time. We can, however, treat your teeth and gums in our office and help you steer clear of gum disease and tooth decay. If it has been awhile since your last cleaning and exam, call Family & Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies today at (970) 223-6101 to schedule your appointment!