Keeping your mouth and teeth healthy are critical to maintaining your overall health, as plenty of research has shown. Preventing tooth decay and gum disease are the vital steps needed to ensure a healthy mouth – and a healthy body.
Your teeth are covered in a hard, outer shell called enamel. Every day a thin film of bacteria, known as dental plaque, builds up on your teeth. These bacteria produce acids that can harm the enamel coating on your teeth. Over time, these acids can cause a hole in the enamel. This is what is known as a cavity, or dental caries. Regular, consistent brushing and flossing of your teeth can protect you from tooth decay, but once a cavity develops, you will need a dentist to repair it.
How to prevent tooth decay
You can protect your teeth from decay by brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. If you are at a higher risk for tooth decay (for example, if you have a dry mouth because of medicines you take), you might need more fluoride. Your dentist or dental hygienist may give you a fluoride treatment during an office visit. Or, the dentist may tell you to use a fluoride gel or mouth rinse at home to augment the amount of fluoride you use to protect your teeth from tooth decay.
How to prevent gum disease
Gum disease begins when plaque builds up not just on the surface of your teeth, but along and under the gum line as well. Plaque in these areas can cause infections that hurt the gum, and the bone that holds your teeth in place. Sometimes gum disease makes your gums tender and more likely to bleed. This problem, a mild gum disease called gingivitis, can often be eradicated with daily brushing and flossing.
A more severe form of gum disease, called periodontitis, needs to be treated by a dentist. If not treated in a timely fashion, this infection can ruin the bones, gums, and other tissues that support your teeth. Over time, untreated periodontitis can lead to total tooth loss.
To maintain a healthy mouth and prevent gum disease, you should:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
- Floss once a day
- Visit your dentist regularly for a checkup and tooth cleaning
- Eat a well-balanced diet
- Quit smoking or chewing tobacco. Tobacco use increases your risk for gum disease
The doctors and staff at The Colorado Center for Implant and Prosthetic Dentistry are available to help you determine effective solutions to all of your dental problems. If you would like more information from your Littleton area Prosthodontist, please call to make an appointment today.