Maintaining Healthy Teeth and Gums

Tooth decay and gum disease are largely caused by plaque, a sticky combination of bacteria and food. Plaque begins to accumulate on teeth within 20 minutes after eating, and whether this plaque is not removed thoroughly each day, tooth decay will flourish. Over time, plaque hardens into tartar.

Plaque and tartar lead to many problems arise:

  • Dental Caries: holes that damage the tooth structure.
  • Gingivitis: inflammation, swelling and bleeding of the gums
  • ┬áPeriodontitis: destruction of the ligaments and bone that support the teeth, often leading to the loss.
  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • Abscesses, pain, inability to use teeth
  • A variety of problems outside the mouth, from premature births to heart disease

Healthy teeth are clean and have no cavities. Healthy gums are pink and firm. To maintain healthy teeth and gums, follow these steps:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day, preferably after each meal and at the time of going to bed.
  • Use dental floss at least once a day.
  • Schedule an appointment with a dentist for a routine cleaning and examination. Many dentists recommend having the teeth professionally cleaned every 6 months.
  • Keep dentures, retainers and other appliances clean. This includes regular brushing and soaking them in a cleaning solution.

Ask your dentist:

  • What toothbrush you should use and where are located the problem areas.
  • How to properly floss as improper or too vigorous may injure the gums.
  • If you must wear special appliances or tools, such as water irrigation or electric toothbrushes. These can sometimes complement, not replace, brushing and using dental floss.
  • If you could benefit from the use of certain toothpastes or mouth rinses. In some cases, toothpastes and mouthwashes counter they can cause you more harm than good, depending on the condition.

Regular cleaning of teeth by a dentist removes plaque that may develop even with careful brushing and flossing, especially in areas that are difficult to achieve for yourself. Professional cleaning includes scaling and polishing, which involves the use of various instruments or devices to loosen and remove deposits from teeth. The routine examination may include dental x-rays.


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