Taking Care of Your Teeth and Mouth

  • Jan 12 2016

There are times when you need to see a dentist in San Diego. It’s a good idea to get a cleaning at least once a year to get rid of tartar and plaque and also to screen for gingivitis and cavities. But a lot of what you can do to take care of your teeth and mouth, you can do yourself at home. The older you get, the more important it is to take these steps each day to protect the health of your gums and teeth. Just a few minutes a day making smart and healthy choices can help you keep your teeth as you age and enjoy a healthy, beautiful smile.
Tooth Decay and Gingivitis – What Are the Risks?

The two most common problems for teeth are tooth decay and gingivitis. Your teeth are meant to last your entire life, but if you do not take care of them, you may lose them to one or both of these culprits. Teeth are coated with enamel, a protecting casing which protects them. The enamel on your teeth is not impenetrable, however, and the bacteria in your mouth may eventually compromise the integrity of the enamel if they start to build up. Bacterial build-up is known as dental plaque, and if the plaque hardens, it turns into tartar. Bacterial acids which eat into your teeth can cause cavities.

Gum disease also is the result of plaque build-up, this time along the gum line, or even underneath it. The initial signs usually include red or irritated gums which bleed easily. Gum disease can spread to your teeth and bones, and if you allow it to progress, it can turn into periodontitis, a more serious form.
What can you do on your own to prevent tooth and gum decay?

• Brush your teeth twice a day. It only takes 24 hours for plaque to harden. Make sure you brush all the surfaces of your teeth, including those hard-to-reach areas.

• Floss at least once a day. If you have a permanent retainer or braces, you still need to floss. Don’t give up just because it’s inconvenient.

• Avoid sugar. If you eat sugary foods, try to limit your intake to once a day. How long you expose your mouth to sugar is more significant than the amount. So try and keep it contained to one sitting and don’t snack throughout the day on sugar-laden foods.

• Don’t smoke. Smoking will stain your teeth and put you at increased risk for gingivitis or periodontitis.

Why do you need a dentist? Even if you take these steps, it is important that you see a dentist for a couple of reasons. No matter how hard you try, you are bound to miss some plaque in your mouth, which will harden into tartar. There is no way for you to remove tartar safely on your own. Special equipment and techniques are required. Secondly, a San Diego dental hygienist can help to screen you for gingivitis, cavities, oral cancer, and other conditions. If you catch them early, most oral health conditions are very treatable.

Posted in: Oral Care