The “Secret” of Healthy Teeth and Gums

by Dr. Susan Wells

Posted on Friday 24th of October 2008

With proper care, we can get and maintain healthy teeth and gums. The healthier our teeth are the healthier our gums will be. This results in less risk for gum disease and tooth decay. Scientific research is also finding that the health of our teeth and gums has a bearing on other aspects of our health such as our hearts.

It’s a good feeling to know that much of the overall health of our teeth and gums are so much in our own hands.

Our daily oral hygiene routine should include flossing as well as brushing. These two activities alone can do a great deal to assure better longevity of our teeth.

When you brush your teeth it’s best to turn off the water so you will not feel in a rush to get your brushing over with. Take your time. Brush as many parts of your teeth as you can reach. Flossing will take care of the rest.

One of the reasons to ensure good oral hygiene is to prevent the build up of plaque on our teeth. Two of the words used by dentists and oral hygienists that you may not fully understand are tartar and plaque.

Plaque is a sticky bacteria-containing layer of material that can accumulate on your teeth. This can collect even between your teeth in areas hard to reach with a toothbrush. This is one reason flossing is so important. This accumulation can lead to cavities and periodontal (gum) problems. Luckily proper flossing and brushing can remove plaque.

As an aside, the word cavity has tended to strike fear into the hearts of children. A cavity is simply a small hole in a tooth cause by decay. The decay occurs when plaque combines with sugar or starches in the food we eat. With new dental techniques and tools there is almost no pain now involved in filling your normal cavity.

Longstanding plaque accumulates minerals from saliva and foods. This in turn becomes what is known as tartar. Tartar is a very hard substance that becomes stuck to your teeth requiring removal by a dentist or dental hygienist using special tools.

With Proper home dental care you can remove much of the plaque that can harm your teeth and turn into tartar. Since you cannot remove all the plaque or keep your teeth perfectly clean regular visits to your dentist become an important part of your normal health routine.

Your dentist or dental hygienist can get a far better view of your teeth than you ever could just by looking in a mirror. Since your dentist is highly educated in teeth and gum problems he or she will be able to sport problems way before they become serious. With the help of x-rays and special mirrors and tools they can get in there and make sure your teeth and gums are just as they should be to create a healthy and beautiful smile.

The better the preventative care you take of your teeth the fewer problems you’ll have with them and the easier each trip to your dentist will be.

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