Your dental health affects your overall health as well as your quality of life. To protect your long-term dental health and to increase the chances of keeping your teeth for a lifetime, there are three serious dental health issues to avoid: tooth decay, periodontal disease and enamel erosion. All three of these serious problems can compromise your dental health and lead to tooth failure and ultimately, tooth loss.
Tooth decay or dental caries (cavities) is a serious dental health issue that affects a large percentage of the population in America. It is caused by the buildup of harmful bacteria on the surface of the teeth. If this bacterium is allowed to accumulate and harden on the surface of the teeth, it can cause decay. The best way to avoid tooth decay is to brush your teeth thoroughly at least two times per day (morning and evening) and to floss your teeth thoroughly at least one time per day (at night). In addition, it is a good idea to brush your teeth or at least rinse your mouth with water after consuming sugary or starchy foods and beverages. To avoid tooth decay, it is also important to visit your dentist every six months for a professional dental cleaning and examination. There are also a few preventive measures you can take to avoid tooth decay including fluoride treatments and sealants.
Periodontal disease is a chronic infection of the gums, bone and tissue that support the teeth. Like tooth decay, periodontal disease is caused by harmful bacteria. Therefore, the best way to avoid this serious dental health problem is to practice good oral hygiene as outline above and visit your dentist every six months for a professional dental cleaning and examination. Certain health issues such as pregnancy and diabetes can make you more prone to developing periodontal disease. For this reason, it is important to inform your dentist about any health problems or changes in your health. He or she may recommend more frequent professional dental cleanings to help you avoid periodontal disease.
Enamel erosion is the wearing away of the protective outer layer of the teeth (dentin). It is typically caused by consuming highly acidic foods and beverages such as wine, sports drinks, energy drinks and citrus fruits and juices. The best way to prevent enamel erosion is to limit your teeth’s exposure to these substances. Rinsing your mouth with water after consuming these foods can help. Brushing your teeth after consuming these foods is even more effective. You don’t have to quit consuming these foods completely, however, you may want to limit the frequency.
Taking steps today to avoid tooth decay, periodontal disease and enamel erosion will go a long way in protecting the long-term health of your teeth. For more suggestions on how to avoid these three serious dental health issues, talk to your dentist today.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Hye Park, Green Dental of Alexandria
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