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Dental Care Basics

Good oral hygiene isn’t time-consuming, but it’s far from effortless. Unfortunately, many people procrastinate when it comes to brushing and flossing. That’s a decision that can easily return to haunt them when it’s time to go to the dentist’s office. Your mouth is essential to your overall health, so maintaining good oral health will enable you to maintain better physical health. Several serious health issues such as cardiovascular disease, some cancers, and respiratory ailments such as pneumonia are directly linked to oral health, so don’t procrastinate or continue to neglect your oral health. If you need an appointment, then call our Philadelphia office, we’ll be glad to help you.

How Does Dental Plaque Develop?

Dental plaque develops due to a lack of good oral hygiene. After you eat or drink, especially foods or beverages that are high in sugar or carbohydrates, a sticky film called plaque coats your teeth and begins to form bacteria. When not removed through brushing and flossing, the plaque settles between your teeth and in your gums and starts to harden. This can cause inflammation, which is responsible for the onset of gingivitis.

How Do I Know If Gingivitis Is Developing?

Gingivitis is a very common dental condition that will affect more than 75 percent of adults in their lifetimes. It’s the first stage of periodontal disease, and when treated early, there’s usually no permanent damage to the teeth or gums. However, when gingivitis isn’t treated, it will escalate to the various stages of periodontal disease and then to the final stage of gum disease. By the time you’ve reached periodontitis, you’ll have lost your teeth, a significant amount of your jawbone, and your facial structure will be distorted.

Unfortunately, gingivitis is often asymptomatic, so you may be unaware of its presence initially. However, if you notice any of the following symptoms, then call your dentist without delay:

  • Gums that bleed during flossing or brushing
  • Changes in your bite
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Increased sensitivity to cold or hot foods or beverages
  • Teeth that are loose
  • Discolored, swollen gums

A regimen of good oral hygiene is the best prevention for gingivitis. If you notice it, don’t delay in seeking treatment.

Do Cavities Have to Develop?

Cavities can be prevented by using good oral hygiene, but the same bacteria that cause gingivitis will cause cavities to form unless they’re removed through brushing and flossing. Bacteria that remain on the teeth begin to erode the tooth enamel and can cause holes and pitting that can escalate into cavities. When a cavity is treated early, the tooth can be saved. However, if it worsens, then you may need a cap and a root canal. After that, you may need an extraction, and then the tooth may become abscessed. This is an urgent condition that can become life-threatening, so if you have an abscess, don’t ignore it.

The following symptoms may indicate the presence of a cavity, so don’t ignore them:

  • Pain when chewing or biting
  • Increased sensitivity to cold, hot, or sugary foods and beverages
  • Sudden toothache
  • Tiny holes or pits in your teeth

When you maintain good oral hygiene habits, your teeth can last throughout your life.

What Type of Oral Hygiene Habits Are Best?

In an ideal world, we would brush and floss after each meal or snack. That’s not always feasible, but the American Dental Association recommends that you brush a minimum of two times each day and floss at least once each day. In addition, they recommend the following:

Brushing

  • Floss before bedtime to ensure that no food particles remain in your mouth overnight
  • Brush for at least two full minutes each time you brush
  • Brush your tongue each time you brush your teeth
  • Use gentle pressure and a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Replace your toothbrush immediately if you’ve had an infection or illness
  • Replace your toothbrush when the bristles get worn or every three months, whichever is sooner

Flossing

Floss before bedtime to remove any food particles that remain in your mouth after brushing. Flossing is an effective form of removing debris because the floss can reach areas that are inaccessible to your toothbrush. Flossing every day will help to prevent cavities, bad breath, and plaque, so you’ll see a healthier mouth very soon.

Mouthwash

The American Dental Association recommends that you use an antibacterial mouthwash at least once each day and swish it in your mouth for at least 30 seconds. Be sure that it carries the American Dental Association seal of approval. Brushing and flossing will eliminate most bacteria, but an antibacterial mouthwash can reach every area of your mouth and remove any residual bacteria.

Healthy Foods

Although it may seem unusual for a dentist to address your dietary habits, your diet is an integral part of both your dental and your physical health. High-carbohydrate, high-sugar, fast-food diets will destroy your teeth and your overall health, and sugary sodas are notorious for eroding your tooth enamel and causing cavities. Instead of fast food, concentrate on eating fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, dairy products, and nuts. Drink plain water that’s not sweetened or flavored. Your body and your mouth will be healthier, and your waistline may thank you also!

Dental Appointments

The American Dental Association recommends that you visit your dentist twice each year for dental checkups and cleanings. This ensures that any issues with your teeth and gums are caught early, which provides the best prognosis. It also enables you to maintain the best oral hygiene possible. If you need to schedule an appointment, then call our Philadelphia office, and we can help you.

What’s the Importance of a Family Dentist?

When you have a family dentist who’s familiar with your medical and dental history, then they’re more likely to spot unusual issues such as a tumor or cyst, an abscess, bone loss, early signs of decay, signs of bruxism, TMJ or other oral health issues. When gum and tooth problems are detected and addressed early, you’re much more likely to have a good outcome than if they escalate into significant issues. Your dentist may also be able to recommend improvements in your oral hygiene routine.

What’s the Importance of Consistent Dental Care?

Many dental issues can exist without symptoms, so you won’t know that you have them unless you have a checkup with your dentist. Since oral cancer is becoming more common, most dental offices offer oral cancer screenings. If you haven’t had one, you should.

Oral cancer is the sixth most common cancer in men, and it’s responsible for 3 percent of all new cancers every year. Those who drink or smoke have an increased risk of developing the disease, so don’t delay getting screened for oral cancer.

You don’t need to lose your teeth as you age. Many older people who have practiced good oral hygiene throughout their lives retain their natural teeth. We provide dedicated, compassionate, affordable dental care to our patients, and we would like to help you regain your good oral health. If you need an appointment for dental care, then call our Philadelphia office at and let us help you.

We look forward to speaking with you and working with you.

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