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The Benefits of Good Dental Hygiene


 

Brushing

 
Portrait of an Afro-american girl brushing her teeth - Dentist in Huntsville, AL
 
You should always use a soft bristle toothbrush. Place a small amount of fluoride toothpaste on the brush. Hold the toothbrush at an angle and brush slowly and carefully in small circular motions to remove food particles that may be under your gum line. Brush up on the lower teeth, down on the upper teeth. Remember to brush the outside, inside and chewing surface off your entire front and back teeth. Don't forget to brush your tongue. It takes several minutes to thoroughly brush your teeth.

Brush your teeth four times daily to avoid the accumulation of food particles and plaque: In the morning after breakfast, lunch, dinner, and at bedtime.

Replace your toothbrush when the old one begins to fray, usually in about 3 months. Do not swallow any toothpaste; rinse your mouth thoroughly with tap water after you finish brushing. It is important to carefully floss and brush daily for optimal oral hygiene.
 

Flossing

Use dental floss to reach areas between the teeth that a toothbrush can't reach to remove food particles and plaque. It is very important to floss between your teeth every day.

Pull a small length of floss from the dispenser. Wrap the ends of the floss tightly around your middle fingers. Guide the floss between all teeth to the gum line, pulling out any food particles or plaque. Unwrap clean floss from around your fingers as you go, so that you have used the floss from beginning to end when you finish. Remember to floss behind your back teeth.

Floss at night before you go to bed. When you first begin flossing, your gums may bleed a little. If the bleeding does not go away after the first few times, discuss this with the dentist.

Caries, or tooth decay, is a preventable disease. While caries might not endanger your life, they may negatively impact your quality of life.

When your teeth and gums are consistently exposed to large amounts of starches and sugars, acids may form that begin to eat away at tooth enamel. Carbohydrate-rich foods such as candy, cookies, soft drinks and even fruit juices leave deposits on your teeth. Those deposits bond with the bacteria that normally survive in your mouth and form plaque. The combination of deposits and plaque forms acids that can damage the mineral structure of teeth, with tooth decay resulting.

Sensitive Teeth

Your teeth expand and contract in reaction to changes in temperature. Hot and cold food and beverages can cause pain or irritation to people with sensitive teeth. Over time, tooth enamel can be worn down, gums may recede or teeth may develop microscopic cracks, exposing the interior of the tooth and irritating nerve endings. Just breathing cold air can be painful for those with extremely sensitive teeth.

Gum Disease

Gum, or periodontal, disease can cause inflammation, tooth loss and bone damage. Gum disease begins with a sticky film of bacteria called plaque. Gums in the early stage of disease, or gingivitis, can bleed easily and become red and swollen. As the disease progresses to periodontitis, teeth may fall out or need to be removed by a dentist. Gum disease is highly preventable and can usually be avoided by daily brushing and flossing. One indicator of gum disease is consistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth.

Bad Breath (Halitosis)

Daily brushing and flossing helps to prevent the buildup of food particles, plaque and bacteria in your mouth. Food particles left in the mouth deteriorate and cause bad breath. While certain foods, such as garlic or anchovies, may create temporary bad breath, consistent bad breath may be a sign of gum disease or another dental problem.

Canker Sores

Canker sores (aphthous ulcers) are small sores inside the mouth that often recur. Generally lasting one or two weeks, the duration of canker sores can be reduced by the use of antimicrobial mouthwashes or topical agents. The canker sore has a white or gray base surrounded by a red border.

Broken Teeth

A crown is a permanent covering that fits over an original tooth that is decayed, damaged or cracked. Crowns are made of a variety of different materials such as porcelain, gold, acrylic resin or a mix of these materials. Porcelain generally has the most natural appearance, although it is often less durable.

Missing Teeth – Implants

Dental implants are artificial tooth replacements that were first developed half a century ago by a Swedish scientist named Per-Ingvar Branemark. Implants arose from the patient's need to secure loose-fitting dentures. Since the advent of the implant, engineering and enhancements to the implant have enabled dentists to expand the implant's usefulness, including the replacement of missing or lost teeth.