Dental Health - Dental Health Tips
Decayed teeth are among the most common of all childhood health problems. Very few preventable illnesses affect more children than dental issues. Teaching children how to help attain dental health can start with a few simple tips for parents to follow:
- Do not put babies and toddlers to bed with a bottle filled with milk or juice. These liquids collect in the mouth over night and leave sugars on the teeth that can quickly decay and eat through the enamel.
- Do not be misled by thinking, "they're just baby teeth and will fall out anyway." Unhealthy baby teeth can affect permanent teeth! When baby teeth fall out too soon, the permanent teeth do not grow in properly and can become crowded. When teeth are crowded together, they are harder to clean properly and subject to plaque accumulation, which can lead to decay, gum disease, and infection.
One great tip for parents to follow is to give toddlers a tooth brush to chew on! The stimulation from the bristles feels good to teething gums. Also, since the toothbrush will be a familiar "friend," toddlers will be more comfortable when the time comes for parents to begin a more aggressive oral hygiene program for their children's new teeth. Another benefit to giving a child a toothbrush to chew on is that the toddler's budding teeth and gums are cleaned in the process!
As We Grow:
Many adults also suffer from preventable dental health issues and dental related illnesses throughout their bodies. Most toothpaste brands sold today have fluoride, but adult teeth do not benefit as greatly from this as children's teeth. This is why preventive dentistry is so important to both age groups. In order to maintain dental health into and throughout adulthood, routine preventive treatment is crucial. Waiting for problems until visiting the dentist can only lead to worse issues such as: decay, nerve damage, and the loss of teeth. Routine preventive treatment consists of professional cleanings, treatment of decay, and the care one does at home.
The best advice a dental patient can follow is to manage plaque accumulation through proper home care. This will keep gingival tissues (your gums) healthier which, in turn, will keep the teeth healthier, too. Brushing and flossing at home should be combined with prophylaxis procedures (cleanings) at least every six months. In fact, some patients need more frequent prophylaxis treatments because of crowns or bridges in their mouths. These types dental appliances may be tricky for a patient to thoroughly clean themselves. When bacteria builds up, it creates odor and infection. Visiting your dentist on a regular basis can truly give you fresher breath!
Without proper home care and regular dental checkups, accumulated plaque on the teeth turns to calculus, also known as tartar, which is a very hard substance that cannot be cleaned away by brushing and flossing. This hardened substance will inflame gingival tissues (the gums) and create periodontal pockets around teeth, which leads to periodontal disease. Tooth decay, bone loss, and tooth loss are all possible if this disease remains untreated. Usually a patient with periodontal disease has foul breath and frequently complains about a bad taste in the mouth.
Ignoring this problem may affect other systems in the body as well. Bacteria and infections from periodontal disease can travel through the blood stream and/or digestive tract to reach the kidneys, liver, heart, and possibly the fetus if a woman is pregnant.
At Jefferson Dental Clinics, we are concerned with the general health of our patients and will quickly contain these bacteria and infections when periodontal disease is diagnosed. Based on the severity of the condition, a patient may need to return for a series of visits in order to treat and heal the mouth well enough that the teeth can be salvaged and bone material can regenerate.
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