General Dentistry Q & A
What is Good Dental Hygiene?
Optimal dental hygiene should make sure that the mouth looks and smells healthy. This means:
- The teeth are clean and free of debris
- Gums are pink and don’t hurt or bleed when brushing or flossing
- Bad breath is not a persistent issue
The dentist can help patients with learning the best dental hygiene practices and can help indicate any areas of the mouth which could require additional attention when brushing and flossing.
How is Good Oral Hygiene Practiced?
Daily hygiene care, including proper brushing and flossing, will help prevent issues before they occur and will be much less painful, expensive, and troubling than having to treat conditions which have developed. To decrease the chance of experiencing tooth decay, gum disease, or other dental issues:
- Brush thoroughly twice daily and floss daily
- Eat a balanced diet and limit sugary snacks
- Use dental products which contain fluoride
- Rinse with fluoride mouthwash if recommended
What Is Done During a Dental Examination?
Regular examinations are very important. They will start with obtaining the patient’s dental and medical history. Certain conditions can make a person’s teeth more prone to decay and gum disease so the doctor will want to identify them. For instance, if the person is diabetic he or she will be at a greater risk. A physical examination of each tooth will check for decay and damage as well as indications of periodontal disease. The cleaning will assist to remove any bacteria, plaque, or tartar which has accumulated. X-rays can also be employed to identify any internal damage and crowding concerns. For adult patients, oral cancer screenings may also be performed.
How Often Should I Visit the Dentist for an Examination?
The American Dental Association recommends that all individuals receive a dental cleaning and oral exam every six months, or two times a year.
This picture shows the position of gum in healthy stage and recessed gum.
What is Fluoride?
Fluoride decreases dental decay. Since 1945, the U.S. Government has advocated the controlled addition of fluoride to public drinking water. In small amounts, ingested fluoride seems to strengthen the enamel while it is being formed in young children or pregnant women. Recommended levels of fluoride in water should range from 0.5mg – 1.0mg per liter of water with 0.7mg per liter as optimal.
In rare cases, extreme excesses of fluoride in water will change the appearance of the enamel, making permanent teeth lookdiscolored and pitted. Applying fluoride to the teeth in the form of toothpaste or gels helps prevent tooth decay and can also decrease the sensitivity of exposed root surfaces.