Proper Dental Care Prevents Many Problems

Proper Dental Care

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The effects of poor dental care range from tooth decay and cavities to gingivitis, periodontitis, and tooth loss. Fortunately, proper dental care, including cleaning teeth correctly and regularly, can prevent most of these problems.

If you don’t clean your teeth well every day, you’re putting yourself at risk for tooth decay. Early signs of decay include visible holes in your teeth, pain when you bite and feelings of sensitivity or pain in your teeth.

When the carbohydrates in the food and drinks that you consume aren’t cleaned from the teeth regularly, they provide fuel for cavity-causing bacteria. These bacteria can start forming plaque on teeth within 20 minutes of eating, so if you’re a frequent snacker, you may want to clean your teeth more often than twice a day. The truth is, bacteria are almost always present in the mouth, and frequent cleaning — and limiting sugary foods — may help prevent decay.

Cleaning teeth also helps prevent cavity-causing bacteria from progressing to gingivitis, or gum disease.

A Recommended Dental Care Routine

Keep your teeth clean and cavity-free by following a regular dental care routine of twice-daily tooth brushing and daily flossing. And visit your dentist and dental hygienist at least once a year for a professional cleaning and assessment to catch any problems before they become serious. Your dentist or dental hygienist might also recommend a particular type of toothbrush, dental floss or oral rinse to help you get the most out of your daily dental care routine.

Quick Fixes For Dental Emergencies

You never know when a dental emergency will occur, so it's good to be ready with some quick fixes for dental crises that arise for you or someone in your family. Of course, these fixes are no substitute for a speedy visit to the dentist, but they may make your dentist's job easier when he or she works to help you treat these problems.

Broken Braces

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If you or your child wears braces, check the wires regularly. If a wire snaps or protrudes out and rubs against the inside of the cheek or gum, try pushing it back into a more comfortable spot using the eraser end of a pencil. If that doesn’t work, cover the protruding wire with a small piece of gauze or a small cotton ball (or orthodontic wax if you have it) and see your orthodontist as soon as possible. Do not cut the protruding piece of wire — you (or your child) could easily swallow it or inhale it into the lungs.

Missing Filling

If a filling falls out, try plugging the hole with a small piece of dental wax or dental cement. But see your dentist as soon as possible, and bring the filling with you if you can find it.

Missing Crown

If you have the crown, you can try to slip it back onto the tooth, using dental cement, toothpaste or a denture adhesive to hold it in place until you reach the dentist.

Never try a do-it-yourself repair of a damaged tooth, filling, crown or other dental implant using super glue-this is a job for your dentist.