In order to spot a problem, you must first know what to look for! Tooth decay is a common occurrence in children and adults. It’s caused by plaque forming on your teeth, staying on your teeth and eventually, breaking them down.
Plaque will begin to form if you don’t properly clean your teeth to rid them of starches and sugars. If these substances are left on your teeth, bacteria will begin to grow and form plaque. At this time, you can still clean your teeth with the right products to break down and remove plaque. If you don’t remove the plaque, however, it can harden into something called tartar. This will make the plaque even harder to remove.
If the plaque is not removed, it will continue to cause damage. The acid in plaque erodes and makes holes in the enamel that protects your teeth. These tiny holes are known as cavities. The bacteria can reach through cavities to the next layer of your teeth and cause sensitivity.
If your teeth feel sensitive, this will be a big indicator of a cavity or early sign of tooth decay. You should go to your dentist to see what the cause of the sensitivity is. If left untreated, the bacteria will march on, to the inner tooth material that contains your nerves and blood vessels. This can cause even more pain, as swelling develops and expands within and even outside of the tooth.
Be aware of the food you eat and be sure to properly clean your teeth to stop plaque from forming. If you remove the starches and sugars before they turn to plaque, you will not have to worry about all the troubles that it can cause down the line.
Don’t forget to visit your dentist for a professional cleaning once a year! Some dentists will even recommend that you get a cleaning twice a year to help keep your teeth healthy and plaque free!
Holiday Treats and Happy Teeth!
The holidays are still in full swing! Tis the season for hot cocoa, candy canes and sweet, decadent holiday pastries! While many indulge and worry about the effect these goodies have on our waistline, we forget about the effect our sugary treats have on our teeth.
If you eat solid sugars like pies, cakes and cookies; it’s a good idea to brush afterwards. Chewing foods laden with sugar can leave larger-than-normal amounts of sugar residue on your teeth. You also should remember that liquid treats, such as cocoa, egg nog and carbonated drinks also contain sugar. Sugar consumed in a liquid form can reach every nook and cranny of your mouth and will require a more thorough cleaning.
Your saliva will not wash away sugar residue, so bacteria will begin to eat away at your enamel. Over time, sugar can break down the enamel of your teeth and cause cavities and erosion. In cases of severe erosion, you may even experience extreme changes in your bite, a significant reduction in the size of your back teeth and even tooth loss!
Be sure to follow your daily brushing and flossing routine! If you have consumed a lot of sugar, it is a good idea to step it up a notch and clean your teeth after that sugary snack! In general, you can try and reduce the amount of sugar you eat and drink. You won’t want to cut back on your cleaning because a food label says that it is “low-sugar” or “sugar-free.” Many of these low-sugar or sugar-free products use artificial sweeteners. There are potential health risks associated with use of artificial sweeteners. Research shows they can still create an acidic environment in your mouth.
There are many pictures to take and memories to make this holiday season! Don’t let the magic of the holidays distract you from having a bright smile!
Should I floss?
Last week we discussed the importance of brushing and how you should choose a brush that will access those hard to reach areas. Well, even with the right brush, there are areas between the teeth that can only be reached by flossing. Plaque generates acid, which can cause cavities, irritate the gums, and lead to gum disease. Flossing will help remove plaque from spaces your brush can’t get to, giving you a thorough cleaning and healthy mouth.
How should I floss?
Now that we’ve established the reason for flossing, you will want to make sure you are doing it properly. Please make sure you are flossing daily, in a gentle sawing motion, between all of your teeth. It does not take much time to do, but you will want to take care in the way you do it. Snapping the floss can cause trauma to the tissue. The floss should be angled so it hugs the tooth in a “c” shape. Gently slide the floss up and down the surface of the tooth making sure it goes slightly below the gum line. You can either brush your teeth before or after you floss. The focus here is not the order in which you floss, just that you clean between your teeth every day.
Mechanical Vs. Manual Toothbrushes
When it comes to brushing, the manual toothbrush has shown us over the years that it is up for the task. In later years, when the mechanical toothbrush was introduced, it challenged not whether it could brush teeth, but how well and consistently it could get the job done. Both tools are effective in their own rights, but which toothbrush is right for you? Here are some pros, cons and tips to help you make that choice!
Firstly, both brushes should be selected carefully. You will want to make sure you select a soft bristled brush that is the right size for your mouth, so you can reach all your back teeth. One pro for the mechanical brush, is that the brush is typically smaller and can access harder to reach areas.
Brushing in general is intended to remove plaque and stimulate the gums. Both products can accomplish this when used properly, but how do you use them properly? Manual toothbrushes should be held at a 45-degree angle. Starting at the gum line, you will use a gentle circular motion and move the brush up and down each tooth.
A mechanical brush takes most of the guess work out of how to move the brush. The movement, whether oscillating or vibrating, will depend on the model of brush you’ve chosen. Another pro for the mechanical brush, is that some come with timers. Ensuring that you have finished cleaning either individual portions or your entire mouth during a two-minute cycle.
You always want to make sure you spend enough time brushing. While it may seem more intuitive to use the brush with the timer, you must factor in the weight of the brush. Due to the power brush holding batteries, a pro for the manual is that it is significantly lighter and may be easier for some to hold for longer periods of time.
With cost being factored in, you can count on a manual brush being the cheaper option. Cheaper doesn’t always mean better, but for the ease of use, the investment may be a sound one for you.
Please be sure to consider all dynamics of each brush before making a purchase. You want to brush correctly, efficiently and make a decision that keeps you smiling!
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