You and your dentist are partners in your oral health care. Your natural teeth are the best teeth you'll ever own, and your dentist will do his or her utmost to make sure that you don't lose any. But you also have to do your part, by brushing, flossing, and seeing your dentist regularly.
It's not age but neglect that causes teeth to deteriorate. Prevention is the most important step you can take to preserve your oral health, so visit your dentist regularly and follow these oral hygiene tips to maintain your healthy smile.
Flossing and Brushing - To have good dental health, you need a mix of personal dental care, and the care of your dentist.
Flossing removes plaque and bacteria that you cannot reach with your toothbrush. If you don't floss, you are missing more than one-third of your tooth surface. Plaque is the main cause of gum disease. It is an invisible bacterial film that develops on your teeth every day.
Within 24 to 36 hours, plaque hardens into tartar (also called calculus), which can only be removed by professional cleaning. Floss at least once a day, and plaque never gets the chance to harden into tartar. Getting into the habit of daily flossing is easier when you floss while doing something else like watching TV or listening to music, for example.
Regular, thorough brushing is a very important step in preventing tooth decay and gum disease. Brushing removes the bacteria that promote tooth decay and the plaque that can cause gum disease.
Ideally, you should brush after every meal, because the bacterial attack on teeth begins minutes after eating. At the very least, brush once a day and always before you go to bed.
A balanced and nutritious diet is good for your general health and your dental health.
A balanced and nutritious diet is good for your general health and your dental health. Without the right nutrients, your teeth and gums can become more susceptible to decay and gum disease.
Sugar is one of the main causes of dental problems. The average Canadian eats the equivalent of 40 kg of sugar each year. Here are a few ways to cut down:
Some great-tasting snacks that won't harm your teeth:
Here is a quick guide to common dental problems. You should visit your dentist if you have these warning signs.
|Warning Sign||The Problem?|
|Bad breath that doesn't go away||The cause might be gum disease, food, drinking, smoking, medicine you are taking or a health condition. If you cannot get rid of bad breath with daily brushing and flossing, see your dentist.|
|Your gums bleed when you brush or floss||If you just started to floss, a little bleeding is normal. But if you bleed almost every time you brush or floss your teeth, see your dentist.|
|Dry Mouth||For women, menopause may be the cause. It is also a side effect of many common medicines. It does not feel good and it can make dental problems worse. You need to tell your dentist if you have this problem.|
|A tooth that is a little bit loose||A loose tooth could be caused by gum disease or by a blow to the mouth. In any case, it is a serious problem. You should see your dentist.|
|A sore mouth||A sore mouth might be caused by false teeth that don't fit well. It could also be from leaving false teeth in overnight. "Burning mouth syndrome" is a problem that affects some older women. Not eating the right kind of food may also be the cause.|
Bleeding that you can't explain
Mouth sores that don't heal in 7 to 10 days
White or red patches in your mouth
Feeling numb or sore inside your mouth
|These symptoms may be signs of oral cancer. See your dentist right away.|
Teeth that are sensitive to:
|Teeth can become sensitive all of a sudden, or it can happen over time. In most cases, this kind of pain means something is wrong. Check with your dentist|