Just because your teeth and gums look clean and healthy or you don’t feel any pain right now doesn’t necessarily mean you’re free from tooth and gum problems. Also, doing a great job in brushing and flossing your teeth doesn’t make you completely immune to oral health problems.
Keeping your mouth healthy goes beyond good oral care. Here are nine things every dentist wants you to know about protecting your teeth and gums.
- Too much soda can hurt your teeth.
Drinking sugary beverages like soda not only contributes to developing health complications like diabetes, weight gain, heart disease, and stroke; it can also damage your smile. Research suggests that young Canadians are consuming excessive amounts of sugar-rich drinks. Overall, Canadians purchased an average of 444 millilitres of sugary drinks per capita in 2015.
Sugar in both sugar-free and regular sodas interacts with bacteria in the mouth, leading to acid formation that can destroy the teeth. Every sip of pop exposes your teeth to a damaging reaction that can last up to 20 minutes, and could result in the following:
- Cavities – The damage inflicted to the dentin can encourage the growth of cavities (also known as caries). Poor oral hygiene can worsen this damage.
- Erosion – This occurs when the acid destroys the tooth enamel, the surface layer that protects the teeth. Erosion lessens the hardness of the enamel, exposing the tooth to further damage.
- Your teeth can reveal signs of disease.
Your teeth are windows to your general health; a thorough check-up by your dentist can link a dental problem with an underlying disease. For example, bleeding gums, dry mouth, wiggly teeth, and bone loss around the teeth can be telltale signs of diabetes. Lesion formations in the mouth can hint at an inflammatory bowel disorder.
That’s why regular dental visits are crucial in preventing the early signs of a serious medical condition. If you suspect that a specific dental problem might be pointing to an underlying disease, check with your dentist right away.
- Proper oral hygiene means two minutes of brushing (and flossing) daily.
Did you know that it takes two minutes of brushing and flossing to eliminate dirt and bacteria in your mouth? The majority of adults don’t come close to cleaning their mouths that long.
It’s not too late to develop proper mouth cleaning habits. Here are some easy steps that will help remind you to care for your teeth, tongue, and gums every day:
- Brush at least twice a day (in the morning and before bedtime). Use a fluoride toothpaste and brush for two minutes, at the least.
- Floss between teeth daily, usually before bedtime. You have to get between all your teeth to get the job done right.
- Reduce your snack times each day to limit your mouth’s exposure to food debris and other substances.
- Have a glass of water after eating to help rinse your mouth out and remove some of the food particles and sugar in your mouth.
- See your dentist every six months. Have your mouth examined and avail of professional cleaning services.
- What you eat can increase your risk of developing gum disease.
Just as a person’s diet can have a direct impact on his health, what you eat can also have a positive or negative effect on your gum health. If you want to keep your gums healthy, consider adding these foods to your daily diet:
- Black and green teas to minimize the growth of anaerobic bacteria in the mouth
- Fibre-rich fruits and vegetables to keep your mouth clean
- Dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese to stimulate saliva production
In addition to sodas, steer clear from the following foods and beverages that can damage the mouth:
- Alcoholic drinks, as they dry the mouth
- Sweets and sticky candies that can stay in the mouth
- Starchy foods that can get stuck in between teeth crevices
- Turning to the internet for dental tips and medications can be harmful.
The internet is home to a wealth of information; but not all of it is true, and even less than that is useful to the average person. It can be challenging to verify what you find online. Self-diagnosis by comparing your symptoms to an article you’ve stumbled upon can be incorrect. You may end up believing you have a severe health condition when it is, in truth, minor; or you may dismiss a severe dental problem as non-threatening when you should seek immediate attention from your dentist.
Don’t stress yourself out with an online diagnosis when a dental concern arises. Consult your dentist immediately to identify the real problem and to develop a plan to overcome it.
- Be wary of early symptoms of gum disease to prevent their progression.
Many cases of gum disease evolved from mild symptoms. Keep them from progressing by becoming aware of these symptoms when you spot them.
The mildest type of gum disease is gingivitis. People with this disease may experience swollen and bleeding gums. Gingivitis also comes with chronic bad breath (halitosis). Many people with gingivitis don’t experience toothache or tooth loosening. However, when ignored, gingivitis can progress into a more serious gum disease called periodontitis. This happens when tartar and plaque build up and spread below the gum line. Plaque contains bacteria that can irritate and inflame the gums.
The following are the symptoms of periodontitis:
- Bleeding gums
- Loose teeth
- Chronic bad breath
- Receding gums
- Pus at the gum line or between the teeth
- Red, puffy gums
If you notice these signs, visit your dentist right away to receive the appropriate treatment.
- Several risk factors increase your risk of developing gum problems.
Gum disease can be caused by several factors, some of which cannot be avoided (like ageing). These risk factors include:
- Bruxism (teeth clenching or grinding)
- Lifestyle issues like obesity, poor nutrition, and smoking
- Some drugs, like oral contraceptives, antidepressants, and heart medications
- Medical conditions that alter the body’s inflammatory or immune systems, including cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes
- Your gums can recover from gingivitis.
People who have mild gum disease or gingivitis can restore their healthy gums by adhering to proper oral hygiene. However, advanced gum disease (periodontitis) may also require advanced and sophisticated treatment to reverse their gum health. Your dentist may apply these methods to cure serious gum problems:
- Extraction – involves the removal of damaged, decayed, or loose teeth to keep the gums from infection.
- Flap Surgery – is repairing possible bone damage and thoroughly cleaning the roots of the teeth.
- Gingivectomy – is the removal of affected gum tissue and the elimination of pocket formations between teeth and gums where bacteria can thrive.
- Root Planing and Scaling – is a procedure that involves the removal of tartar and plaque on the surface of the teeth and below the gum line.
- See your dentist more often.
Dentists are skilled and equipped in detecting the early signs and symptoms of tooth decay and gum disease. If you visit them regularly, there will be no room for dental problems to develop. Your dentist can provide you with the immediate treatment you need to prevent the progression of these symptoms.
A professional dental cleaning is the most effective way to remove tartar. The procedure can also eliminate traces of plaque that you might have missed after brushing and flossing. People who have gingivitis can benefit from thorough brushing, flossing, and timed dental cleanings to stop their gum disease from developing to periodontitis.
When you need a caring, friendly, and reliable dentist in London City and nearby areas, contact London City Dental. We will show you techniques on how you can better care for your teeth and gums to keep them healthy. We are conveniently located at 735 Wonderland Rd N Unit 19, London, ON. Please schedule an appointment today, or call us at (905) 458-1212 for inquiries.