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Maintaining good oral health is essential to being healthy. Oral hygiene is something that everyone can and should practice. Good oral health will not only make your smile look great, but can also be beneficial for other aspects of your health as well.
What Problems Can Poor Oral Hygiene Cause?
Poor oral health can lead to many problems. Cavities can form in the teeth and are caused by sugars and starches combining with bacteria in the mouth. When enough bacteria forms on the surface of the teeth, plaque will eventually build up on the teeth. Over time, this plaque will form tiny holes that eat away at the enamel on the teeth. This is also known as tooth decay. When the holes get too large, a cavity is formed. Limiting sugar intake is one way we can control cavities from forming. Another way is to brush the teeth daily, with once daily flossing.
Bad breath is another consequence of poor oral health. Bad breath is caused by wastes that are left in the mouth, food particles that are decaying in the mouth, and lack of oral hygiene. It can also be from overusing mouthwashes and infected gums. One can prevent bad breath by brushing teeth twice daily, scraping the tongue with toothbrush when brushing the teeth, and increasing water intake. Water will help to flush the bacteria out of the mouth. Sucking on a piece of sugarless candy will also help to increase saliva, which will clean the mouth out.
Gum disease can be a result of bad oral health. Gum disease is an infection in the gum tissue and bone that help to keep the teeth in place. If gum disease is found, the teeth can fall out. Gum disease can be prevented by brushing and flossing daily, as well as seeing the dentist every 6 months. If caught early enough, gum disease and its damage can be reversed.
Poor oral health can also lead to other problems of the body. Lack of caring for the teeth can cause oral or facial pain but also affect the digestive system. Problems within the teeth and mouth can lead to intestinal failure, irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive disorders. Any of the major organs can be affected as well, such as the heart. It can become inflamed by bacterial endocarditis.
What Are Some Dental Procedures That Keep My Teeth Healthy?
There are many dental procedures that a dentist provides his patients to keep teeth healthy. Dental cleanings should be performed once every 6 months. During the dental cleaning, the hygienist will remove the tartar and plaque that has built up on your teeth. The teeth will be cleaned, and then polished to remove any stains that have been left on the teeth. After the polishing, the dentist or hygienist will explain the proper way to care for your teeth at home, including the best way to brush and floss your teeth. X-rays will most likely be taken to see if there are any cavities that have formed.
Sometimes, dentists will apply veneers to the teeth. Veneers are shells that are thin and that have been bonded to the front teeth so they will not fall off. These will help to improve the appearance of the teeth, and are similar to artificial, or fake, fingernails. Veneers will help to correct problems, such as teeth that have a gap in between them, teeth that are yellowed or stained, chipped teeth, or teeth that have different lengths. A veneer dentist will have to remove a small amount of the enamel (outer coating on the teeth) to make room for the veneers. This can be an uncomfortable process; however, local anesthetic can be used, which will numb the area so no pain is felt by the patient.
Sometimes, our teeth can become stained or discolored, or are not the shade of pearly white that we like them to be. In this case, teeth whitening is often done in the dentist office. Teeth whitening will help to remove any stains on the teeth, as well as lighten the teeth. This is a very popular dental procedure because it really helps to improve the look of the teeth. Teeth will need to be cleaned before they are whitened. This will help to remove any bacteria, food or other debris that is left on the teeth. A substance will be applied to the teeth and gums to protect them, and then the whitening agent will be applied. Then the dentist will shine a laser light onto the teeth. This will activate the gel, making the teeth bleaching process go faster.
At home, teeth whitening can also be done. The dentist will make impressions of your teeth so a mouthpiece will fit it. The mouthpiece will fit snugly over the teeth so the whitening gel used will not leak out. The mouthpiece can then be filled with an over the counter whitening gel. This over the counter whitening gel is the same that the dentist uses, only it is distributed with a much weaker strength. Whitening toothpastes can also be used to help remove and prevent stains on the enamel of the teeth.
What is Laser Dentistry?
Laser dentistry is an effective way for many dental procedures to be carried out. With the use of laser dentistry, there is more focus on precision treatment with less pain and less recovery time. Benefits of laser therapy are that:
- Some procedures do not require anesthesia.
- Damage to surrounding tissue is minimized.
- Bacterial infections are minimized due to the high energy beam that sterilizes the area that is being worked on.
- Wounds heal faster.
- Tissues are regenerated faster.
- Some procedures may not require stitches.
- Bleeding will be minimized due to the high energy light beam that aids in the clotting of the blood vessels that are exposed.
Laser dentistry can also reduce the anxiety in patients that are uncomfortable with the use of dental drills. Lasers can help to preserve the healthy tooth during cavity removal.
There are many laser dentistry procedures. These include a cavity detector, which aids in finding cavities early. Tooth sensitivity can be helped by using a laser that will be used to seal the tubules that are in charge of hot and cold sensations in the mouth.
Other Ways to Maintain Good Oral Health
Besides regular cleanings from the dentist, there are other ways to maintain good oral health. Brush at least twice a day for two-four minutes each time, or after every meal. Use fluoride toothpaste and a soft bristle tooth brush. Battery operated toothbrushes can help to reduce plaque more than a regular toothbrush can. When brushing the teeth, hold the toothbrush at a slight angle to aim the brush at the area where the tooth meets the gum line. Brush back and forth, brushing all surfaces of the teeth. After brushing, rinse the toothbrush with water, and store in an upright position to allow it to dry. Do not keep it in a closed container, as this will allow bacteria to breed. Replace the brush every 3 months to optimize the effectiveness of your toothbrush.
Floss your teeth daily. Wind about 18 inches of dental floss around the middle finger of one hand, and a small portion of it on the middle finger of the other hand. Grip floss between the thumb and forefingers, and then use a gentle rubbing motion between each teeth. When it reaches the gum line, curve it against the tooth in a scraping motion to loosen any food deposits that have built up on your teeth’s surface. Unwind fresh floss to get between each tooth.
The use of an oral irrigation device can help to remove food particles that have become lodged in the teeth. An antimicrobial mouth wash can also be used to help with oral health care.
To prevent tooth decay, look at your diet. Limit snacking between meals, and if you must snack, then choose foods that are good for the teeth. Chicken, cheese, and nuts could help protect your teeth enamel. Firm fruits, such as apples, will stimulate the production of saliva, which will fight against tooth decay. Drink water, as it will help to clean the mouth. Tea contains fluoride, which will help to strengthen the teeth. Just make sure that it is unsweetened. Avoid excessive consumption of sugary drinks, such as colas, as they will rot the teeth, which will lead to cavities.
Make sure to include foods that are rich in vitamins A and C in the diet. These will help to prevent gum disease.
Good oral health starts at home. Be diligent about caring for your teeth and gums, and schedule appointments with your dentist to clean the teeth, have an exam, or have dental procedures done on the teeth. This will keep the mouth healthy, which in turn can keep the rest of the body healthy.