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Posted on: October 14, 2020
Dental Care Basics
Your mouth is the port of entry for your body. Whatever you ingest, whether liquid or solid, once it gets into your mouth, it will travel through your bloodstream and to every other part of your body. This means that it’s essential to have a program of good oral hygiene so that bacteria and germs don’t get a stronghold in your mouth and therefore the rest of you. A healthy mouth helps to reduce the incidence of many serious diseases, including some types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and pulmonary disease.
How Does Plaque Get Started?
When you ingest food or beverages that are high in sugar or carbohydrates, the bacteria in your mouth release aceds that begin to attack the teeth. Plaque is an invisible, sticky film that causes the fuzzy feeling in your mouth, and it begins to attack your tooth enamel. Even though enamel is the hardest substance in your body, if it’s constantly attacked by bacteria and acid, it will begin to erode. This opens the door for cavities to form and gingivitis to beset your gums.
When plaque is removed through daily brushing and flossing, then you’re less likely to develop periodontal disease. However, when it isn’t removed, it will harden and become calculus, also called tartar. Since plaque and tartar often form on the backs of the teeth, you may be unaware of their presence unless you have your teeth cleaned at your dentist’s office. If it’s been a while since you’ve had a dental cleaning or if you’re due for one, then call our Bloomington office to schedule a cleaning.
What Are the Signs That I’m Developing Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is very common, affecting more than 75 percent of all Americans at some point in their lives, and it’s the primary cause of bleeding gums in adults. However, when gingivitis is caught early, it can be reversed without permanent damage to the teeth and gums. If you notice the following signs, you’re probably in the early stages of gingivitis:
- Bleeding when you brush or floss
- Changes in your bite
- Discolored gums that may be dark red or purplish
- Loosened teeth
- Persistent, very bad breath
- Sensitivity to temperature
- Swollen gums
If you have any of these symptoms, then schedule an appointment with your dentist without delay.
When gingivitis is allowed to continue, it can eventually become periodontitis and cause you to lose all of your teeth as well as your facial structure and bone in your jaw. Don’t let that happen. Schedule a dental appointment at our Bloomington office today.
Are Cavities Inevitable As You Age?
Although the stereotype of older adults is that they all have no teeth or they have dentures that they store on the dresser at night, this doesn’t need to be the case. When you maintain good oral hygiene habits throughout your life, you can keep your natural teeth throughout your life without the need for artificial replacements.
Although cavities can form before you’re aware of it, brushing and flossing daily can play a significant role in reducing the onset of cavities. According to the American Dental Association, cavities are the leading chronic childhood disease and are totally preventable. Signs that you may have a cavity include:
- Pain when you bite or chew
- Pits or holes in your teeth
- Sensitivity to cold or hot or sugary foods or drinks
- Sudden toothaches
These symptoms don’t guarantee that you have a cavity, but they’re good indicators that you should make an appointment with your dentist, so call our Bloomington office today and we can help you.
What Type of At-home Habits Should I Have for Good Dental Care?
Using good oral hygiene habits every day, even when you’re sick, is one of the best methods for ensuring that your teeth last throughout your lifetime.
The American Dental Association recommends that you brush twice a day at a minimum in addition to the following:
- Brush for at least two minutes, especially at night
- Brush your tongue also, not just your teeth, because bacteria can lodge in the rough surfaces of your tongue
- Change your toothbrush at least every three months or if you’ve been sick
Flossing, especially at night, removes the food detritus from between your teeth. Ideally, you should floss after each meal, but if you don’t, be sure to floss before bedtime. Flossing is important because the dental floss or pick can reach areas that your toothbrush may be unable to reach. It also helps to prevent bad breath, decay, and tartar, so be sure to floss once daily at a minimum.
Use an antibacterial mouthwash to help eliminate any bacteria that may remain after flossing and brushing. Be sure to swish the fluid around for 30 seconds so that your mouth is thoroughly rinsed, and be sure that your mouthwash has the American Dental Association seal of approval.
Diet and Lifestyle
Eating a healthy diet can contribute to your overall good oral health. Foods and beverages that are high in sugars and carbs can create bacteria and acid that will eventually destroy your tooth enamel. A balanced diet should include fruits, vegetables, nuts, dairy, and lean protein, which will provide a healthier body as well as a healthier mouth. It’s important to drink plenty of clear water that’s not flavored with sugar or artificial sweeteners. If you need help with this or need to schedule an appointment, then call our Bloomington office and we’ll be happy to help you.
What’s the Importance of Having a Regular Family Dentist?
When you have a personal dentist who is familiar with your dental history, you’re more likely to maintain your dental health. They’re familiar with your history and can notice plaque or cavities before they gain a stronghold in your mouth. The American Dental Association recommends that you have bi-annual cleanings and checkups, more if recommended by your dentist.
A personal dentist can notice signs of bruxism, dental caries, gingivitis, plaque, and more, that someone who is unfamiliar with your dental history might miss. Most dentists now screen for oral cancer, which is a growing problem. Oral cancer now accounts for about 3 percent of all new cancers annually, so visiting a family dentist can help alleviate the stress of a screening.
Do I Really Need to Have Consistent, Regular Dental Care?
Since men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer than women, it’s especially important for men to have regular dental checkups. Those who smoke or drink have an increased risk, so schedule your appointment today at our Bloomington office.
Although comedians may poke fun at those old people who have lost all of their teeth, you don’t need to be in that group. Maintaining proper oral hygiene throughout your life will ensure that you keep all of your teeth into your older years without the need for artificial replacements. Call our Bloomington office at (309) 740-4241 to schedule an appointment for a cleaning and a checkup; you’ll be glad you did. We look forward to speaking with you and working with you.