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Valley Dental Associates
9199 Reisterstown Road, Suite 206B, Owings Mills, MD 21117

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Dental Care Basics

Caricatures of older people show them without teeth and with their dentures in a glass on the dresser. You don’t need to be part of this cartoon, however. When you maintain good dental hygiene throughout your life, your natural teeth can last throughout your life without the need for dentures. Maintaining good oral hygiene can also stave off diseases such as certain types of cancer, pulmonary diseases, and cardiovascular disease, which have all been linked to poor oral hygiene.

Your mouth is also the port of entry for your entire body, and whatever substance enters your mouth will be absorbed by your bloodstream very quickly. The tissues in your mouth are very permeable, so it doesn’t take much time for them to absorb a substance, including the bacteria from an abscessed tooth, gingivitis, or any other oral disease. When you keep your mouth healthy, you’ll contribute to ensuring better physical health.

How Do I Avoid Developing Plaque?

The best method for eliminating plaque is a program of good oral hygiene. Brush at least twice daily and floss at least once daily to keep bacteria from settling between your teeth. When you eat a meal or a snack, a sticky film forms on your teeth, and the film is rife with bacteria. When not removed through brushing and flossing, the bacteria lodge between your teeth and in the spaces between your teeth and gums.

The longer the bacteria are present, the more time they have to proliferate. Eventually, plaque will harden into an inflammatory substance called tartar, which can only be removed by a dentist. This creates the perfect environment for developing gingivitis.

How Do I Avoid Developing Gingivitis?

Brushing and flossing are the best deterrents to developing gingivitis. However, for the times this isn’t feasible, you can use an antibacterial mouthwash to rinse your mouth. If that’s not feasible, then rinse your mouth a couple of times with clear water and swish it around for 30 to 60 seconds each time, then brush and floss when you can.

Since gingivitis is often asymptomatic, you may have it but not be aware of its presence. Gingivitis is one of the reasons you should have regular dental checkups, since your dentist will notice any signs of the disease. If you notice any of the following, then schedule an appointment with your dentist without delay:

  • Bleeding when you brush or floss
  • Changes in your bite
  • Sore or sensitive gums
  • Loosened teeth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Swollen gums that may have changed color to dark red or purplish
  • Sensitivity to the temperature of foods and beverages

When gingivitis is detected early, then it’s easily remedied without permanent damage. If not, then it can become periodontal disease, the final stage of which is periodontitis. Unfortunately, the last stage of gum disease has serious consequences, including losing all of your teeth, some of your jawbone, and your facial structure. If you think you may have gingivitis, then call our Owings Mills office to schedule an appointment.

How Do I Avoid Developing Cavities?

The American Dental Association (ADA) classifies cavities as the most common chronic childhood disease, although adults get them as wel. When you learn good dental hygiene habits at an early age, then you’re less likely to develop cavities. If a child is old enough to feed themselves, then they’re old enough to hold a toothbrush after eating. This instills the habit of brushing after eating and will encourage lifelong good dental hygiene habits.

As with gingivitis and plaque, the best method for avoiding cavities is a regimen of good oral hygiene combined with regular checkups and cleanings. Even though your tooth enamel is the hardest tissue in your body, when it’s repeatedly exposed to the acids in foods and beverages, then it can begin to erode. Sometimes, small pits or holes will form, and those can become cavities. When cavities aren’t treated, they’ll enlarge, and eventually, you’ll need an extraction. Cavities can also become abscessed, which is a life-threatening condition, so if you have a cavity, then call our Owings Mills office to schedule an appointment. If you notice any of the following, then you may have a cavity:

  • Increased sensitivity to the temperature or sugar content of foods and beverages
  • Pain when chewing or biting
  • Small holes or pits in your teeth
  • Sudden toothache

Which At-home Practices Are Best for At-Home Dental Care?

The American Dental Association recommends the following oral hygiene practices to ensure the best dental hygiene:

Brushing

  • Brush at least twice daily and floss at least once daily
  • Use gentle pressure and brush for at least two minutes each time
  • Brush your tongue as well as your teeth to remove as much bacteria as possible
  • Change your toothbrush immediately after you’ve been sick
  • Replace your toothbrush every three months at least, sooner if the bristles are worn

Flossing

Floss at least once daily, preferably before bedtime. Flossing removes food particles that your toothbrush may not reach and can help prevent halitosis, dental caries, and the buildup of plaque and tartar.

Mouthwash

Use an antibacterial mouthwash to remove any residual bacteria between your teeth or on your tongue. Swish it around your mouth for a minimum of 30 seconds and make sure that the mouthwash carries the American Dental Association seal of approval.

Eat Healthy

A healthy diet is as important to your oral health as it is to your physical health. Rather than the typical high-sugar, high-carbohydrate, empty-calorie fast-food diet that’s so prevalent, choose instead fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, nuts, and lean proteins. Instead of sodas, which can erode your tooth enamel, drink several glasses of plain water that have no added flavor or sweetening agent. If you have questions on a healthy diet, then call our Owings Mills office, and we’ll be happy to answer them.

Why Is It Important to Have a Personal Dentist?

Your personal dentist will be familiar with your medical and dental history and with the natural appearance of your teeth and gums. If there’s an abnormality, it will be apparent. Issues such as an abscess, a cyst, bone deterioration, bruxism, TMJ, decay, or tumors will have a much better prognosis when detected early. They can also recommend the best dental hygiene routine for your unique needs.

Why Is It Important to Have Consistent Dental Care?

The incidence of oral cancer is rising and now accounts for 3 percent of all new cancers detected annually; it’s the sixth leading cancer in men. Men are twice as likely as women to develop oral cancer, and anyone who drinks alcohol or smokes is in an even higher risk group. Consistent, regular dental checkups will be more likely to catch the presence of oral cancer than if you procrastinate. Most dentists now offer oral cancer screening, so if you need to be screened, call our Owings Mills office today.

If you need an appointment, a screening, or if you have questions, then call us at (443) 898-1240, and we’ll be glad to help you. Keep your natural teeth throughout your lifetime; you’ll be glad that you did. We look forward to providing you with the affordable and compassionate care that we’re known for, so call us today.

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Valley Dental Associates

9199 Reisterstown Road, Suite 206B, Owings Mills, MD 21117

(443) 898-1240

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