Dentists say that the most important part of tooth care happens at home. Brushing and flossing properly, along with regular dental checkups, can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
If you’re like most people, you don’t exactly look forward to facing a dentist’s drill. So wouldn’t it be better to prevent cavities before they begin?
Giving Plaque the Brush-Off
TTo prevent cavities, you need to remove plaque, the transparent layer of bacteria that coats the teeth. The best way to do this is by brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Brushing also stimulates the gums, which helps to keep them healthy and prevent gum disease. Brushing and flossing are the most important things that you can do to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Expert recommendations. If you have teeth that are sensitive to heat, cold, and pressure, you may want to try a special toothpaste for sensitive teeth.
Dental caries (tooth decay) can attack the teeth at any age. In fact, 84% of 17-year-olds have the disease. Left untreated, caries can cause severe pain and result in tooth loss. Losing teeth affects how you look and feel about yourself as well as your ability to chew and speak. Treating caries is also expensive. So prevention and early treatment are important.
It may surprise you to know that 60% of 15-year-olds experience gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease. Gingivitis, which involves the gums but not the underlying bone and ligament, is almost always caused by an accumulation of plaque. As with caries, treatment can be expensive.
If you remove plaque regularly and follow good oral hygiene habits, your gums usually will return to their healthy state. However, more serious gum disease can cause gums to swell, turn red, and bleed, and sometimes causes discomfort. How dentists treat gum disease depends on the extent of the disease.