• Stephen Eskeland
  • Farshad Ettefagh
  • Alireza Khansari
 

General Oral Health

What is plaque?

Many of the foods you eat cause the bacteria in your mouth to produce acids. Sugared foods, such as candy and cookies, are not the only culprits. Starches, such as bread, crackers, and cereal also cause acids to form. If you snack often, this increases the likelihood of acid attacks. After many acid attacks, your teeth may decay.

Plaque also produces substances that irritate the gums, making them red, tender or bleed easily. After some time, gums may pull away from the teeth. Pockets form and fill with more bacteria and pus. If the gums are not treated, the bone around the teeth can be destroyed. The teeth may become loose or have to be removed. Gum disease is a main cause of tooth loss in adults. Watch your diet and limit your intake of sweet food and drinks to mealtimes only - when you can follow up with toothbrushing to remove plaque and prevent acid attack.

What is daily oral health care?

The best way to remove decay-causing plaque is by brushing and cleaning between your teeth every day. Brushing removes plaque from the tooth surfaces. Brush your teeth twice a day, with sonicare or a soft-bristled brush. The size and shape of your brush should fit your mouth, allowing you to reach all areas easily. Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride, which helps protect your teeth from decay. Cleaning between the teeth once a day with floss or interdental cleaners removes plaque from between the teeth where the toothbrush can't reach. It is essential in preventing gum disease. Follow these tips to keep your teeth and mouth clean:

How do I best brush my teeth?

  • Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against the gums.
  • Move the brush back and forth gently in short (tooth-wide) strokes.
  • Brush the outer tooth surfaces, the inner tooth surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
  • Use the "toe" of the brush to clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, using a gentle up-and-down stroke.
  • Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.

How do I floss my teeth?

  • Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around one of your middle fingers. Wind the remaining floss around the same finger of the opposite hand. This finger will take up the floss as it becomes dirty. Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.
  • Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. Never snap the floss into the gums.
  • When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.
  • Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up and down motions.
  • Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth.
  • Don't forget the back side of your last tooth.

People who have difficulty handling dental floss may prefer to use another kind of interdental cleaner. These aids include special brushes, picks or sticks. If you use interdental cleaners, ask your dentist about how to use them properly, to avoid injuring your gums.

Why bother with dental health, especially with time and financial constraints?

There may be countless personal priorities (time, finances, etc.) that may postpone or cause avoidance regarding a person's desire for a healthy mouth and a dazzling smile. In the long run, however, tooth decay that could be easily cared for by a conservative filling, after less than a year's neglect, may result in root canal therapy and a crown at a cost of twelve to fifteen times the cost of a filling. It is important to ask your dentist how often you need a check-up to avoid costly and more complex treatment.

Delaying preventive care is not cost-effective - not to mention the risk to one's health. By taking care of your teeth, eating a balanced diet and visiting your dentist regularly, you can have healthy teeth and an attractive smile your entire life.

 
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