Aside from going to the dentist for regular check-ups, there is a lot you can do yourself for your teeth. Just a little extra care and effort can pay huge dividends in the future – you can ensure your teeth stay healthy and pain-free for a long time. In this article, we will give you a few tips to keep your teeth in perfect shape with a minimum of effort and time. Just an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as the old saying goes.
Tooth decay is one of the most recognizable and common dental problems people experience. It is also the main reason for many visits to the dentist’s office, and the sad truth is that a significant number of them could have been prevented with good dental care and effort. Cavities are the result of excess bacteria that live on the mouth. They multiply and produce acids, which break down the structure of the tooth (primarily enamel). This weakens the tooth and makes it much more sensitive – a cause of many a painful toothache.The pain and damage to the tooth is a result of these bacteria and acids that are not attended to in due time. It is important to prevent dental caries, as when untreated, it leads to tooth loss and pain. It is a common malady – ever since the dawn of mankind, it has plagued us. However, it was not until the advent of the Industrial Revolution and the processing of sugar that the prevalence skyrocketed. Still, with more prudent care, it need not be a problem.
- What Can I Do To Prevent Tooth Decay?
The answer is, of course, obvious: Good dental hygiene. Brush at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste (this bit is very important), as fluoride helps kill all the harmful bacteria in the tooth and strengthens the enamel. Brushing your teeth removes the plaque (that consists of bacteria and food leftovers) and other residue. You should also clean between your teeth with floss or interdental toothbrushes, as they can reach some places your toothbrush simply cannot. You should also visit your dentist regularly. Your dentist can spot tooth decay before you do – and treat it more effectively. This obviates the need for more serious dental treatments, as early cases are usually uncomplicated and can be treated easily and cheaply by your dentist.
Read more about Tooth Decay: Tooth Decay Exposed – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
Gingivitis is a painful inflammation of the soft tissues around your teeth. Bacteria and food debris irritate the sensitive areas and cause pain and inflammation. There may also be other symptoms, such as bad breath. The disease itself is rather mild, but uncomfortable and easily avoided. But gingivitis is the early stage of periodontitis, which is a more serious and advanced disease. There is evidence that periodontal disease negatively affects the rate of heart problems and strokes. It does sound implausible, but it is true. It is most commonly caused by bad or inadequate dental hygiene, so if you are experiencing the symptoms of this disease, a change of habits may be in order.
- What Can I Do To Prevent Gingivitis?
Same as above. Good dental hygiene is of utmost importance. You should also pay more attention to the gingiva – flossing is particularly important. If the disease has become more serious, a visit to the dentist might be in order. Regular dental check-ups are a great way to ensure even the early cases of gingivitis are detected and treated.
White teeth is something most of the people would like to have – a perfect white smile is not only beautiful, but many think it is the sign of good dental health. It generally is true, but even off-white teeth can be perfectly healthy. The obsession with bright white teeth can definitely go too far! However, if it’s aesthetics that you’re after, there are some tips we can offer.
- What Do I Do?
You should start by avoiding smoking – smoking is the worst offender and the cause of a plethora of other diseases and conditions, some of which serious and life threatening. Then comes coffee – the dark nectar of life can and does stain your teeth if you usually do not brush them afterwards. Tea can also stain and darken your teeth. Red wine, when enjoyed in large amounts, is also not conducive to your goal of having white teeth. Generally, home whitening kits do not work as well as the proper whitening treatments at your dentist’s office, so there is definitely more value for money to be had there. Whitening toothpastes may be all right for short-term use, but they are abrasive and are best avoided. Some medications can also cause your teeth to stain. In this case, it is best to contact your doctor to determine the proper course of action.
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This extremely common ailment can be a source of great social issues, such as embarrassment. It is never nice having to listen to someone speak and smell their onion or garlic-laden breath. It is even worse when it is you who is making others uncomfortable. Nevertheless, the problem is easily solvable. Some people tend to experience this very unpleasant condition more often than others do – it may be due to food, bad hygiene, other underlying conditions or even genetics.
- What Do I Do?
Chewing gum can help in a pinch, as well as menthol drops and breath fresheners. Regular dental hygiene should help you prevent the problem altogether. Pay more attention to your tongue when brushing your teeth. The tongue is a remarkable reservoir of bacteria and plaque, so scrape it lightly with a toothbrush to help remove the gunk – and therefore nasty smells – from your mouth. Tongue scraping should be very high on your priority list in the morning if you think your breath is something that people dread. And when you expect to give that important speech or expect to go on a job interview – go light on the garlic for a few days! You can also use toothpaste that is a more minty and fresher than others – and there’s a whole lot of them on the market. That should leave you with a longer-lasting fresh breath.
If the problem seems to be long lasting, an underlying condition might be the cause of your problems. It is best to contact your dentist in these cases. A majority of such problems are caused by other dental issues, such as dental caries.
Enamel erosion is a condition that occurs when the thin outer layer of the tooth wears away because of food and acids. When enamel becomes eroded, your teeth become more sensitive and discolored. Pain may especially be present when consuming hot and/or cold drinks. There is also a risk of cavities, as there is no enamel that can protect the more sensitive surfaces of the tooth from harmful bacteria and acids.
- What Can I Do?
For starters, try consuming less soft drinks. They are very acidic and generally unhealthy. Very sour fruit juices can hurt, too. Some existing health conditions, such as GERD or heartburn, can also increase your risk of enamel erosion, but it can result from regular wear and tear as well. If you start having toothaches or notice something is just not right, contact your dentist immediately. Your dentist will be able to determine the extent of the damage and will suggest the possible treatment options. For severe cases, your dentist may recommend that a crown be fitted to the affected teeth.
Misaligned or crooked teeth can take a great toll on your self-esteem and well-being. Additionally, it can also cause serious issues later in life. Your teeth will be more prone to tooth decay and you are at a larger risk of developing periodontal disease. While it may be cruel, there is a whole aesthetic impact to consider, as well. If your teeth are too crowded, you can suffer from swollen and red gums. Straight teeth help your gums fit more snugly, which results in lower incidence of periodontal problems.
- What Can I Do?
Unfortunately, there is not much here that you can do yourself. You should contact your dentist to begin your treatment. Generally, the younger you start, the easier it is to “fix” the positions of your teeth. There are many methods of teeth straightening, such as braces, Invisalign or operation. Sometimes it is necessary to remove some of the offending teeth. For milder cases, Invisalign is usually the recommended treatment course, as it is virtually invisible and is more comfortable than regular braces. This is especially important for teenagers and young adults, as their self-confidence is very shaky at those stages of life. Regular braces do the job as well, and are usually cheaper too. The treatments do take some time but it is well worth it in the end. Your dentist will help you select the appropriate method.