While everyone knows that poor oral hygiene can lead to numerous dental problems like tooth decay and bad breath, more than 26 percent of people in the United States have untreated tooth decay.
Whether that’s because it’s easy to mistake tooth decay with a regular toothache or because dental care and hygiene are expensive, one thing is for certain—dental care is as important as your physical and mental well-being.
From the causes of bleeding gums to picking out the right kind of toothbrush, there’s a range of dental problems that people don’t know. But don’t worry, we’re here to help you out with that.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about dental health, including which dental hygiene products are good for optimal dental care.
Do I Need To Floss?
Floss clears food and plaque that accumulate between your teeth and harden to become tar. It can create wedges to widen the space between your teeth and gums. Over time, these pockets pull away more and can loosen teeth.
Flossing reduces the risk of developing loose teeth by cleaning out the area between your teeth and eliminating food particles that may become tar if left unchecked.
What Does Fluoride Do For My Teeth?
Fluoride makes teeth strong and prevents tooth decay.
This is one of the primary reasons why the American Dental Association advises people to use fluoride toothpaste – especially kids and young adults – so that the tooth enamel stays strong and there’s a lower risk of premature tooth loss.
What Are A Few Early Signs Of Dental Trouble?
Missing out on early signs of dental trouble can lead to serious dental problems that may be costly to remedy.
Some of the most common signs of dental problems include:
- Jaw pain
- Swollen gums or face
- Dry mouth
- Bad breath or taste in the mouth
- Broken teeth
- Mouth sores
- Increased tooth sensitivity
- Bleeding gums
It’s always better to get ahead of the problem instead of waiting to see if the pain or symptoms subside. If you notice any of these early signs for more than two days, its best to consult a dentist right away.
What Causes Morning Breath?
When we sleep, the production of saliva in our mouth decreases. Since the saliva is the mouth's natural mouthwash, its absence leads to morning breath.
Our mouth has several bacteria that reside on the teeth, in the crevices, and on the taste buds of the tongue. They settle in the oral region when food particles break down in the mouth – then they produce sulfur compounds. These sulfur compounds are responsible for the bad breath since there isn’t enough saliva to wash them away.
While morning breath is a common phenomenon, long-term mouth odor can be a sign of a serious dental problem.
What Does A Rinse Or Mouthwash Do?
Mouthwashes are for cavity protection, fresh breath, and sensitivity.
Using them regularly after brushing your teeth can remove bacteria and get rid of bad odor. However, mouthwash isn’t a substitute for brushing or flossing, but a complementary step in your oral hygiene regimen.
Moreover, kids under the age of six shouldn’t use mouthwash to avoid the chances of them swallowing it.
Are Sweets And Ice Bad For My Teeth?
Sweets and other foods with acid, like soda and candy, are a leading cause of cavities. They have active ingredients that stick to the teeth and chip away at the tooth enamel to weaken your teeth.
Additionally, while your teeth may be strong enough to chew ice – it doesn’t mean you should make a habit out of it. Gritting and grinding your teeth on hard items like ice can put stress on your jaw and even causes cracks in your teeth over time.
Are Smoking and Drinking Harmful For My Teeth?
Smoking is a leading cause of severe gum disease, poor oral health, periodontal disease, and mouth cancer in the United States. It stains your teeth and can lead to mouth infections.
Similarly, drinking alcohol has been linked to an array of oral health problems, like tooth decay and tooth erosion. The acidic ingredients in alcohol hurt the tooth enamel, weakening our teeth, and increasing the risk of tooth decay.
What Qualities Should I Look For In A Toothbrush?
The type of toothbrush you use plays a vital role in brightening your teeth, keeping bacteria at bay, and ensuring your gums are in good health.
While it may seem like the harder bristles will effectively remove all plaque from your teeth, they do more harm than good. Hard bristles have been linked to gingival recession and soft tissue trauma. Opting for toothbrushes with soft bristles will protect your gums, root surface, and the enamel of your teeth. They’re also more effective in cleaning hard-to-reach areas in your mouth, such as around your gums or between your teeth.
The bristle length is another important factor to consider. A toothbrush with a combination of shorter and longer bristles are more effective than single-length bristles. The shorter bristles gently scrub the surface of your gums, while the longer bristles will reach between the crevices to remove plaque.
Moreover, electric toothbrushes are much more easy-to-use and effective than manual brushes. They gently massage your gums and thoroughly remove plaque from all quadrants of the mouth without relying on your hand’s movements and pressure.
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