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While visiting Dr. Tanner for regular check-ups and cleanings is important, what you do at home will also impact your oral health. The best dental care comes from teamwork between you, your hygienist, and your dentist. Without this partnership, there is a higher risk of dental issues such as cavities and gum disease.
A cavity is a permanently damaged area on the surface of a tooth. Also called tooth decay, or caries, a cavity results from a variety of possible factors. Tooth decay is one of the most common health problems in the world today. Anyone with teeth can get cavities. In order to avoid this painful and risky problem, it is important to brush twice a day with a soft, comfortable toothbrush and floss daily. Avoiding sugary food and drink is also recommended.
The consumption of sugary food and drink without excellent at-home oral hygiene encourages the growth of plaque on teeth. There are several types of bacteria in the mouth; some of which thrive on sugar. Allowing such sugars to remain in the mouth gives harmful bacteria something to feed on. This bacterial feeding results in acid production. This acid then mixes with additional bacteria and food particles in the mouth to form plaque; a sticky film that covers the teeth. The acids contained in the plaque erode the protective layer of enamel on teeth, causing tiny holes.
Acid and bacteria do more than eat away at healthy tooth structure. They also destroy healthy gum tissue. The initial result is gingivitis, which causes the irritation and redness of the gum tissue. Unlike cavities, gingivitis is completely reversible with good oral hygiene treatment and oral hygiene habits. Left untreated, gingivitis can have devastating effects as it progresses into periodontal disease, bone loss, and finally, tooth loss.
To learn more about protecting the health of your teeth and gums, schedule a visit with Dr. Tanner and his team.