Say Cheese! The Ultimate Guide to Maintaining a Healthy Smile
Maintaining good oral health is essential for overall health and well-being. With so many dental treatments and procedures available, it can be overwhelming to decide what is best for you. In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about maintaining a healthy smile, from sealants to denture care.
Brushing your teeth is the most effective way to remove harmful plaque from your teeth and gums. It is recommended to brush your teeth three times a day, for two minutes each time. Make sure to use a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Brushing your tongue is also important to remove bacteria that can cause bad breath.
Flossing is a method for removing bacteria and other debris that cannot be reached by a toothbrush. It generally entails a very thin piece of synthetic cord you insert and move up and down between the sides of two adjoining teeth. Flossing should be done at least once a day to prevent gum disease and cavities.
Nutrition and Your Teeth
Good nutrition and a well-balanced diet are essential for oral health. Providing your body with the right amounts of vitamins and minerals helps your teeth and gums stay strong and ward off infection, decay, and disease. Harmful foods and drinks to avoid include sugary snacks and beverages, acidic foods, and alcohol.
Sealants are liquid coatings that harden on the chewing surfaces of teeth and are showing a great deal of effectiveness in preventing cavities—even on teeth where decay has begun. The pits and grooves of your teeth are prime areas for opportunistic decay. Even regular brushing sometimes misses these areas.
X-rays are an important tool for diagnosing dental problems. When X-rays pass through your mouth during a dental exam, more X-rays are absorbed by the denser parts (such as teeth and bone) than by soft tissues (such as cheeks and gums) before striking the film. This creates an image on the radiograph.
Prevention Tips for Children
Infants should be seen by a dentist after the first six months of age, and at least by the child's first birthday. By this time, the baby's first teeth, or primary teeth, are beginning to erupt, and it is a critical time to spot any problems before they become big concerns. Conditions like bottle tooth decay can be prevented by avoiding sugary drinks in baby bottles.
Women and Tooth Care
Women have special needs when it comes to their oral health. That’s because the physical changes they undergo through life—menstruation, pregnancy and childbirth, breast-feeding and menopause—cause many changes in the body, some harmful to teeth and gums. Lesions and ulcers, dry sockets, as well as swollen gums, can occur during hormonal changes.
Periodontal exams are vital in the maintenance of your oral health as they are used to assess the health of your gums and teeth. They can help your dentist diagnose gum diseases, gingivitis, and periodontitis. These exams can also reveal receding gums, exposed roots, tooth grinding, and other problems.
A knocked-out tooth or bitten tongue can cause panic in any parent, but quick thinking and staying calm are the best ways to approach such common dental emergencies and prevent additional unnecessary damage and costly dental restoration. This includes taking measures such as application of cold compresses.
Mouth rinses can be therapeutic or cosmetic. Therapeutic rinses with fluoride have been shown to fight cavities, plaque, and gingivitis. On the other hand, cosmetic rinses merely treat breath odor, reduce bacteria, and/or whiten teeth.
Seniors and Oral Health
More and more people are avoiding the need for dentures as they grow older, going against the notion that false teeth are a normal part of growing older. In fact, there's usually no reason for you not to keep your teeth your entire life, providing you maintain a healthy balanced diet and practice good oral hygiene. Regular dental visits are also important for seniors to maintain oral health.
For decades, fluoride has been held in high regard by the dental community as an important mineral that is absorbed into and strengthens tooth enamel, thereby helping to prevent decay of tooth structures. In nearly every U.S. community, public drinking supplies are supplemented with sodium fluoride.
Dentures today are made from very advanced materials designed to give you a natural appearance. However, keep in mind that just like your teeth, dentures should be cared for with the same diligence. This means daily brushing and regular visits to your dentist.
Remember, maintaining good oral hygiene is essential for your overall health and well-being. By following these tips and guidelines, you can ensure a healthy smile for a lifetime.