Protecting Your Oral Health:
Importance of Regular Exams
Because of our commitment to preventive dental care, we recommend a checkup every six months. Most dental problems start small, but then they go through a rapid growth phase. Regular checkups enable us to catch these problems before they become serious conditions:
- Plaque buildup
- Cracked or leaking fillings
- Bad bite
Serious conditions begin as treatable problems
Plaque, which is sticky film of food and bacteria that forms constantly on your teeth, can harden in as little as 24 hours to become tartar. Even with proper brushing and flossing, most people aren’t able to remove all the plaque every day. The result is tartar buildup.
Plaque and tartar buildup are the main cause of gingivitis, which is an inflammation that makes gums swell and bleed. Gingivitis is reversible, but if it’s not treated, it can lead to periodontal disease, which is an infection that causes receding gums, bone loss, and sometimes tooth loss.
The bacteria on plaque also causes tooth decay. A small cavity can easily be fixed, but if it grows into the softer inner dentin layer of the tooth, it can reach the pulp chamber very quickly, causing pain and further infection.
Failed fillings can also lead to more decay. Unless it’s treated early, decay will most likely lead to a need for root canal treatment and crowns.
Misaligned or missing teeth can contribute to problems with the jaw joint, such as pain and soreness, difficulty in opening and closing your mouth, and earaches.
Regular checkups allow us to treat problems early
To keep these dental problems from becoming serious, we recommend twice yearly checkups. Regular cleanings enable us to keep tartar from accumulating your teeth. During your regular visits, we will also perform a thorough exam to check your gums, measure the bone levels around your teeth, look for cavities, check your restorations, and examine your bite.
Regular exams are the best way to eliminate the growth phase of dental problems, and minimize the time and money you spend in the dental chair.
A dental hygienist is a highly trained and licensed oral health professional who provides you with educational, clinical, and therapeutic services to enhance your oral and overall health.
What Hygienists do
Hygienists serve several functions in the dental office. They check for and treat many dental conditions. They also clean your teeth, use specialized tools and techniques, and educate patients.
A hygienist will carefully examine your teeth, mouth, and gums, and pre-screen for any signs of decay, periodontal disease, or other problems.
As part of the preventive function of the hygienist’s job, she will thoroughly clean all surfaces of your teeth, removing plaque, tartar, and stains from above and below your gum line.
During your dental cleaning, your hygienist will use floss, special cleaning compounds, ad instruments specifically designed to clean your teeth effectively and comfortably, like ultrasonic cleansers and rotary instruments. She may be involved with the specialized treatment of advanced periodontal disease, such as scaling and root planning. Your hygienist may apply fluoride gels or other treatments.
She also takes and develops dental x-rays so the dentist can view them and quickly diagnose any problems that may exist.
Your hygienist will teach you how to effectively care for your teeth at home to help you prevent decay and periodontal disease, show you how to select the proper toothbrush and dental floss, and demonstrate the most effective techniques for brushing and flossing.
Your hygienist may also explain the relationship between a healthy diet and dental health, offering suggestions about which foods to select and which to avoid.
Nutrition and Health
Keeping your teeth and gums beautiful, healthy, and strong s about more than just brushing, flossing, and avoiding sweets. Good nutrition also plays a large role in your dental health. It requires smart food choices and good timing.
A balanced diet
A balanced diet will help to boost your body’s immune system, so you’ll be less vulnerable to oral disease. It will also provide you with the nutrients your body needs to maintain strong teeth and healthy gums.
So what is a balanced diet? It includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, and moderate portions of protein, complex carbohydrates like whole grains and beans, low-fat dairy products, and unsaturated vegetable fats.
Also, eating foods like buts, cheese, onions, and certain teas have been shown to actually slow down the growth of bacteria that causes tooth decay.
Foods to limit
In contrast, eating too many sweets, foods that stick to your teeth (like potato chips and dried fruit) and foods that are slow to dissolve in your mouth (like hard candies and granola bars) encourage tooth decay.
One of the main offenders when it comes to tooth decay is soda pop. Soda is one of the biggest sources of refined sugar in the American diet. In fact, a twelve-ounce can of soda contain about 12 teaspoons of sugar. Soda also contains phosphoric and citric acids, which can erode and protective enamel layer of your teeth.
Frequency and Timing
Recent research has found that you dental health can also be affected by how often you eat. Every time you eat a sweet or starchy food, the bacteria in your mouth east on it, and in turn, produce acids that attack your teeth for20 minutes or more.
And the more frequently you eat, the more your teeth are exposed to these acids, which can eventually dissolve your tooth enamel and cause decay.
One way your diet can benefit your dental health is to combine your food into a meal. Sticky or starchy foods create less acid in your mouth when they are eaten as part of a meal because saliva production increases at mealtime. Saliva not only rinses away food particles, but it also neutralized harmful acid and helps to remineralize your teeth, so they’re more resistant to acid attacks.
So to maximize your nutrition and your dental health, eat a well-balanced diet, limit sugary, starchy, and sticky foods and drinks, and avoid between-meal snacking.