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Randol Mill Family Dentistry
1115 Randol Mill Road, Suite 100, Arlington, TX 76012

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Dental Care Basics

Our mouths are an essential part of our lives. They allow us to speak, drink, eat and smile. In addition, the mouth acts as the entry point to the digestive and respiratory tracts. This means that you need to keep your mouth healthy in order to be in good overall health. To do this, you need see your dentist on a regular basis and establish an at-home oral hygiene routine. Having excellent oral health assists in preventing pneumonia, heart disease and various kinds of cancers.

Having knowledge of basic dental care will help you in keeping your oral health in good shape.

Removing Plaque

Plaque is a substance that can cause a lot of problems if it is left untreated. This sticky, clear, film-like substance forms on the surface of the teeth whenever you eat or drink. This substance is full of bacteria that release plaque acids that attack the teeth. While your teeth are covered in a hard tissue called enamel, that enamel is worn down by these acids and will make your teeth susceptible to decay and cavities.

Daily brushing and flossing help to rid your mouth of plaque. If plaque is left untreated it will build up on the teeth and along the gumline. This will eventually harden into a material known as calculus or tartar deposits. Leaving these issues unaddressed will lead to the gums becoming inflamed, a condition that is known in the dental world as gingivitis.

Getting Rid of Gingivitis

The majority of Americans will develop gingivitis at some point within their lifetimes. It is also the main reason behind gums bleeding in adults. Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal (gum disease).

Most people don’t know that they have gingivitis until it has progressed into a more advanced stage. You can catch this disease early on if you establish regular visits and cleanings at your dentist’s office. If you fail to have gingivitis treated, it will eventually develop into an advanced form of gum disease known as periodontitis. This disease is one of the primary causes of adults losing their teeth.

You may have gingivitis if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Swollen gums that are a dark red or purple color
  • Gums that feel sore or tender
  • Gums that bleed while flossing or brushing
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Teeth that are sensitive to temperature extremes
  • Loose teeth
  • A change in the way you bite

Gingivitis is easily preventable if you rid yourself of as much plaque from your gums and teeth as is possible. If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, you should contact your dentist to schedule treatment. A dental hygienist will be able to rid your teeth and gums of plaque or tartar via the use of specialized tools.

Keeping Cavities at Bay

In addition to causing gingivitis, plaque is also behind the development of tooth decay or cavities. This common dental health problem can impact children, infants and older adults. It happens because the plaque acids attack the enamel and dentin of the tooth, leading to tiny holes to develop within the tooth itself. These holes are called cavities. Eventually, these cavities will become larger and impact the deeper layers of your tooth. This can cause toothaches, infections or even tooth loss.

Symptoms of having a cavity include:

  • A tooth that is sensitive to hot, cold or sweet foods or drinks
  • A sudden toothache that happens without an obvious cause
  • A visible pit or hole in your tooth
  • A feeling of pain when biting or chewing

Regular dental checkups and cleanings can help catch cavities in their earliest stages. Leaving a cavity untreated can lead to serious complications to both your oral and overall health. A cavity can lead to an infection in the root of your tooth, which can then lead to an abscess. These abscesses and infections can lead to potentially life-threatening complications.

Caring for Your Oral Health at Home

The best way to prevent gingivitis and cavities is to follow an at-home oral hygiene routine. The following suggestions are great ways to do this.

Brushing: According to the American Dental Association, you should brush your teeth twice a day for a minimum of two minutes. The best kinds of toothbrushes to use are soft-bristle or electric brushes. The best toothpaste to use is one that contains fluoride. Other suggestions you should follow include brushing your tongue, replacing your toothbrush once every three months (or whenever the bristles are noticeably worn) and changing your toothbrush when you have been ill.

Flossing: Daily flossing will help you to get rid of plaque and food particles from between your teeth and under your gumline. These areas aren’t reached easily by your toothbrush. This daily practice will assist in preventing bad breath, tartar buildup and tooth decay.

Mouthwash: Utilizing an antibacterial rinse for your mouth for at least 30 seconds after brushing and flossing is another way you can remove food particles and plaque. This simple practice helps you to get rid of the bacteria that causes halitosis, gingivitis and tooth decay. You should use a mouth rinse that has the ADA seal of approval.

Healthy eating and drinking: The ADA states that eating a diet high in carbohydrates, starches and sugars leads to an increase in plaque. Maintaining a balanced diet is a frequently overlooked part of achieving optimal oral health.

Establishing Regular Visits with Your Dentist

You should visit your dentist twice a year for routine checkups and professional cleanings. This allows you to establish a relationship with your dentist. This relationship can help detect any issues in their earliest stages so that they can be more easily treated.

Professional cleanings consist of built-up plaque and tartar being removed from the teeth and gums via the use of special tools. Your twice-a-year checkups will entail your dentist performing an examination of your mouth, teeth and gums. This checkup will help your dentist find any signs of tooth decay, gingivitis, bruxism, TMJ or changes in your bite. Another tool your dentist may utilize are X-rays of your mouth. This will help find issues such as tooth fractures, bone loss in the jaw, abscesses, decay between the teeth, etc.

Oral cancer screenings are another reason why you should see a dentist regularly. This type of cancer is often undetectable to the untrained eye when in its earliest stages. This means that dentists are often the first to spot the early signs of this potentially fatal disease. The earlier it is spotted, the more likely it is that treatment will be successful.

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If you want to receive high-quality and affordable dental care from a compassionate dental health care provider, book an appointment with us online or via the phone.

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Randol Mill Family Dentistry

1115 Randol Mill Road, Suite 100, Arlington, TX 76012

(817) 642-7909