dental hygiene is an important part of overall health. It helps prevent cavities, gum disease and even cancer. It also reduces the need for dental work such as fillings and crowns.
Results from the study showed that participants who cleaned their teeth frequently and engaged in interdental cleaning had a better OHRQoL than those who did not. The study further revealed that male patients and rural residents were more likely to practice poor oral hygiene.
Tooth decay happens when the bacteria that live inside of your mouth (which are present even in healthy mouths) turn sugar from foods and drinks into acids that attack tooth enamel. If the enamel is damaged, the tooth will erode and eventually break down, forming holes called cavities (dental caries).
The most common symptoms of tooth decay include bad breath, a metallic taste in your mouth and sensitivity to hot or cold food or liquids. In addition, if the damage is severe, you may experience pain or tenderness in your gums and a hole in the center of your tooth that exposes the pulp tissue (which contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissues).
A cavity starts when plaque, which is a sticky layer of bacteria, builds up on a tooth. The bacteria in plaque convert the sugars from food and drink into acids that attack and damage teeth. If left untreated, a cavity can grow until it reaches the inner tooth pulp, where it causes painful abscesses.
The best way to prevent tooth decay is to brush your teeth at least twice a day, particularly after meals, and to use a fluoride toothpaste. In addition, you should eat a balanced diet and limit sweets. You should also see your dentist for regular teeth cleanings and dental X-rays to spot problems early.
Gum disease is inflammation of the gum tissues, and it’s a leading cause of tooth loss. It begins with a build-up of plaque, an invisible layer of bacteria that forms on teeth and irritates the gums. If not removed, it hardens into tartar and can only be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist. When gums are inflamed they swell, and they may bleed when brushing teeth. This is called gingivitis, which is the early stage of gum disease. Brushing and flossing correctly will typically reverse it. However, gum disease can continue to spread and damage tissue, teeth, and bone if it isn’t treated quickly.
It’s important to get gum disease under control because it has been linked to other health problems, including heart disease and diabetes. Gum disease also contributes to bacterial imbalance in the mouth that can affect immunological functions throughout the body.
The best way to prevent gum disease is to practice good oral hygiene and see your Kissimmee dentist for regular cleanings and check-ups. Brush teeth and along the gum line twice a day, using a toothbrush with soft bristles and fluoride toothpaste. Floss or use an interdental cleaner and water pic on a daily basis to remove food debris from between teeth. It’s also a good idea to avoid smoking and eat a balanced diet.
Bad breath, halitosis, is unpleasant but usually short-lived and can be corrected by proper oral hygiene and regular dental cleaning procedures. Persistent bad breath, however, may indicate a dental or medical problem, such as gum disease, that requires treatment.
Food odors, especially garlic or onions, can remain in the mouth even after they have been completely digested and excreted. Smoking, a dry mouth or certain health conditions (like acid reflux) can also cause unpleasant breath.
Mouth rinses and toothpastes that contain antibacterial agents can help reduce odor-causing bacteria. A bacterial film (plaque) that builds up on the teeth can also lead to bad breath, and is generally removed during a professional cleaning. A dentist can recommend specific products and techniques to improve your breath.
To evaluate your breath, your dentist will ask you about your eating and drinking habits and perform a physical exam of your mouth. Your dentist will likely smell the inside of your mouth and nose, as well as scrape the back of your tongue, to check for odor-causing bacteria. He or she will also examine your gums for signs of inflammation and treat a dental disease, such as periodontal (gum) disease, that may be contributing to your bad breath. Your dentist will probably prescribe an antimicrobial mouth rinse and may suggest that you brush your tongue gently twice a day to remove odor-causing bacteria.
Pregnancy brings many hormonal changes and can affect the health of a woman’s teeth and gums. It is important for expectant mothers to get routine cleanings and to be diligent in their daily oral hygiene habits at home.
Studies show that poor oral hygiene during pregnancy increases the risk of premature birth and low birth weight babies. It is also possible for the bacteria that cause cavities (dental caries) to be passed from the mother to her unborn child, increasing the baby’s risk of dental disease later in life.
Brushing and flossing may be more difficult for pregnant women, but it is essential to maintain good oral hygiene. If rinsing with salt water does not help to ease gum irritation, it is recommended that pregnant women speak to their doctor.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the ADA, most preventive, diagnostic and restorative dental treatment is safe for women who are pregnant. However, x-rays, local anesthetics containing epinephrine and certain oral medications should be avoided.