Do you get tired of brushing your teeth? Do you take time to floss or use mouth wash? Does it really seem that important?
According to the Oral Health Surveillance Report 2019, 9 in 10 adults had dental cavities. In addition, 1 in 4 adults had untreated tooth decay. Do these numbers surprise you?
Your family may not have emphasized oral hygiene when you were growing up. They may not have had dental insurance for regular checkups. Even if this is true, your teeth and gums are not a lost cause.
Have you ever wondered, “Are Your Brushing Habits Harming Your Teeth And Gums?” If so, keep reading. This article will answer questions about good habits and why they are important.
Risks Associated with Poor Oral Hygiene
Many people believe that brushing your teeth is only important for white teeth. In fact, your oral health status can serve as a window to your general health.
Did you know that your mouth is full of bacteria? The bacteria start the process of digestion by helping breakdown the food. It also helps to fight germs that enter your mouth when you breathe.
Practicing regular cleaning of your mouth keeps the bacteria under control. Bacteria left in the mouth can harm your teeth and gums.
Several situations or conditions can increase your risk of mouth disease. For example, taking medications such as decongestants, antihistamines, diuretics, antidepressants, and pain relievers. These medications can decrease the flow of saliva which washes food away.
When bacteria mixes with sugar it creates acid. Each time they meet, your teeth experience a 20-minute acid attack. Saliva helps to neutralize this acid and protect your teeth.
When gums become red, swollen, and tender, you have gingivitis. If the bacterial infection and swelling continue, you can develop periodontitis. This is a severe gum disease that can lead to general health problems.
General Health Conditions Associated with Oral Health
Once an infection begins in your gums, your risk of several diseases increases. These include:
Endocarditis is an infection on the inside of the heart chambers and valves. This occurs when the bacteria in your mouth gets into your bloodstream. It can travel to your heart causing this serious infection.
Cardiovascular disease describes damage that occurs in the heart and the blood vessels. Bacteria can enter the bloodstream from the mouth.
The result may be infection and swelling in the heart and blood vessels. This can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
Premature birth and low birth rates are linked to periodontitis.
Pneumonia can occur when specific bacteria enter your lungs through your mouth.
Several diseases can also reduce your body’s ability to fight infection or interfere with good oral hygiene. Examples include diabetes, HIV/AIDS, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Other conditions linked to poor oral health include eating disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, immune system disorders, and some cancers. Be sure to keep your dentist updated on any changes in your medical condition.
Are Your Brushing Habits Harming Your Teeth And Gums?
You have now read about the myriad of problems that can result from poor oral hygiene. Let’s turn our focus to good habits.
Brush Your Teeth with a Fluoride Toothpaste Twice a Day
Brushing your teeth twice daily decreases cavities, gum recession, and periodontitis. Using fluoride toothpaste also decreases the development of cavities. If you brush your teeth for 2 minutes you will have less plaque than only brushing for 1 minute.
Clean Between Your Teeth Once a Day
Toothbrushing alone does not remove food particles that get caught between teeth. This creates a big source of plaque and tartar build-up that can go below the gum line. When this goes untreated, gingivitis and periodontitis can occur.
The answer is interdental cleaning. You can do this using dental floss, interdental brushes, oral irrigators, or woodsticks. Yes, using floss is not the only way to clean between your teeth.
If you don’t like using floss, explore these other options. But, at the end of the day, be sure to spend time cleaning between your teeth.
Eat Healthy Foods and Limit Sugary Drinks and Snacks
Eating a healthy diet leads to increased general health and resistance to infection. Your intake of sugar can greatly affect your teeth and gums. Remember, each time sugar enters your mouth, an acid attack starts and lasts for 20 minutes.
Sipping sugared coffee or soda subjects your teeth to almost non-stop acid attacks. The acid damages the enamel of your teeth. This can lead to holes in the enamel that develop into cavities.
The answer is to drink not sip. Drink your beverage in a limited time. Drinking with a straw allows the fluid to enter the back of your mouth decreasing the teeth’s exposure.
Drink lots of water between meals, snacks, and sugary beverages.
Visit Your Dentist Every 6 Months
Most people have heard that you need to see a dentist every six months. Some individuals think this is only important for children. While it’s important to begin this practice in childhood, it must also continue the rest of your life.
It’s never too late to get on track. Even if you have never had a dental cleaning, all is not lost. The dental staff can begin working to improve your oral health and help prevent disease.
You may wonder what a dental cleaning involves. Professional cleanings remove plaque and tartar that you can’t remove with a toothbrush. They use special tools to gently and effectively clean your teeth.
The dental hygienist looks for and measures any pockets between your teeth and gums. Pockets can indicate gum diseases such as gingivitis or periodontitis.
If found, treatment starts immediately. This helps to stop disease progression and restore healthy gums.
Removal of plaque and tartar decreases gum discomfort and bad breath. Routine dental cleanings also decrease your risk of tooth loss.
Do You Need to Improve Your Brushing Habits?
Many people develop poor dental hygiene practices over time. This can lead to problems with your teeth, gum, and serious disease processes. This article asked, “Are Your Brushing Habits Harming Your Teeth And Gums?”
If you need to improve your dental habits, begin by visiting a dentist for a cleaning and checkup. Webster Family Dental is here to meet all your dental health needs. We offer cosmetic, restorative, preventative, and emergency dental services.
Contact us today to ask questions and learn more about our services.