Dental care – adult – UF Health


definition

Tooth decay and gum disease are caused by plaque, a sticky combination of bacteria and food. Within minutes of eating, plaque begins to accumulate on your teeth. If your teeth are not cleaned well every day, plaque can lead to tooth decay or gum disease. If plaque is not removed, it turns into a hard deposit called tartar and becomes trapped at the roots of the teeth. Plaque and tartar can irritate and inflame your gums. Bacteria and the toxins they produce can cause gums to:

Taking good care of your teeth and gums can help prevent problems such as tooth decay (caries) and gum disease (gingivitis or periodontitis). You should also teach your children how to brush and floss from an early age to help them protect their teeth.

Plaque and tartar can cause many problems:

  • Tooth decay is a cavity that destroys the structure of a tooth.
  • Gingivitis is characterized by swelling, inflammation, and bleeding of the gums.
  • Periodontitis is the destruction of the ligaments and bones that support teeth, often leading to tooth loss.
  • Bad breath (bad breath).
  • Abscesses, pain, inability to use teeth.
  • Health problems beyond the mouth, from premature birth to heart disease.

alternative name

Teeth – Care; Oral Hygiene; Oral Hygiene

information

How to take care of your teeth

Healthy teeth are clean and free of cavities. Healthy gums are pink, hard, and do not bleed. To maintain healthy teeth and gums, follow these steps:

  • Floss at least once a day. It is best to floss after brushing your teeth. Flossing removes plaque that remains between teeth and on the gums after brushing.
  • Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes each time.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride helps strengthen enamel and helps prevent cavities.
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months, or earlier if needed. A worn-out toothbrush cannot clean your teeth. If you use an electric toothbrush, you should also replace the brush head every 3 to 4 months.
  • healthy diet. If you eat healthy foods, you are less likely to develop gum disease.
  • Avoid sweets and sugary drinks. Eating and drinking lots of sweets can increase your risk of tooth decay. If you eat or drink something sweet, brush your teeth as soon as possible.
  • do not smoke. Smokers have more tooth and gum problems than non-smokers.
  • Keep dentures, retainers, and other appliances clean. This includes brushing your teeth regularly. You may also want to soak them in a cleaning solution.
  • Schedule regular checkups with your dentist. Many dentists recommend having your teeth professionally cleaned every 6 months for optimal oral health. If your gums are unhealthy, you may need to see your dentist every 3 to 4 months.

Even with careful brushing and flossing, regular dental cleanings by your dentist can remove any plaque that may have formed. This is important for reaching areas that are difficult to reach on your own. Professional cleaning includes descaling and polishing. This procedure uses instruments to loosen and remove deposits from the teeth. Routine exams may include dental X-rays. Your dentist can catch problems early so they don’t become more serious and more expensive to fix.

Ask your dentist:

  • What kind of toothbrush should you use and how to brush your teeth well? Ask if an electric toothbrush is right for you. Electric toothbrushes are proven to clean teeth better than manual toothbrushes. They usually also have a timer that will notify you when you hit the 2 minute mark.
  • How to floss correctly. Flossing too hard or improperly can injure your gums.
  • Should any special utensils or tools be used, such as water for irrigation. This may sometimes help supplement (but not replace) brushing and flossing.
  • Whether you could benefit from a specific toothpaste or mouthwash. In some cases, over-the-counter creams and rinses may do more harm than good, depending on your situation.

When to call the dentist

Call your dentist if you have symptoms of tooth decay, including:

  • Tooth pain that has no cause or is caused by food, drink, brushing, or flossing
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold foods or drinks

Treat gum disease early. Call your dentist if you have symptoms of gum disease, including:

  • red or swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums when brushing teeth
  • Bad breath
  • loose teeth
  • tooth drift

refer to

Zhou Awei. Oral, neck and head infections. See: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, editors. Mandel, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020: Chapter 64.

Stefanak SJ. Developing a treatment plan. See: Stefanac SJ, Nesbit SP, editors. Dental Diagnosis and Treatment Planning. Third edition. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017: Chapter 4.

Teughels W, Laleman I, Quirynen M, Jakubovics N. Biofilms and periodontal microbiology. See: Newman MG, Takei HH, Klokkevold PR, Carranza FA, editors. Newman and Carranza's Clinical Periodontology. 13th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019: Chapter 8.



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