They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and in few situations is it truer than with your oral health. That’s because the effects of poor daily dental care can compound over time resulting in tooth loss and other health issues. While it can seem okay to skip, your daily dental care is essential for maintaining a healthy smile as well as a healthy body.
Five reasons why you shouldn’t neglect your daily dental care include:
- Bad breath
- Dry mouth
- Tooth decay
1. Bad Breath
Bad breath isn’t usually a serious oral health issue. However, it can be embarrassing and even lead to anxiety. Also known as halitosis, bad breath is often easily treated by brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing once a day or after eating. Certain foods can make your breath smell worse, but that’s easily solved with brushing immediately after meals.
Sometimes bad breath isn’t an oral hygiene issue. Instead, it may point to a bigger problem or have a surprising cause. This can include:
- Dry mouth caused by certain medications
- Infections (sinus or oral)
- Certain diseases
Dry mouth can cause bad breath due to a lack of saliva, making “morning breath” even worse. Chronic cases may be related to a problem with your salivary glands. Certain medications can also cause dry mouth or be the result of their chemicals that are carried on your breath.
Infections from tooth decay, wounds after oral surgery, gum disease, and mouth sores can cause bad breath. Certain cancers and other diseases can produce chemicals that cause bad breath. This is also true for other conditions such as acid reflux and metabolic disorders.
2. Dry Mouth
We touched on dry mouth in the above section and how it can contribute to bad breath. However, dry mouth can pose much bigger risks for your oral health than that. It can also increase your risk of tooth decay (cavities).
Saliva plays a more important role in your oral health that you may realize. It actually acts as a form of mouthwash helping remove debris and other substances from your mouth that can lead to tooth decay, gingivitis, and oral infections. Fortunately, many cases of dry mouth can be remedied with good oral health habits and by drinking more water.
Other strategies for managing dry mouth include:
- Chewing or sucking on sugar-free gum and candy
- Breathing through your nose
- Adding moisture to the air in your bedroom with a vaporizer
- Avoiding dry and high-sodium foods
- Cutting back on caffeinated and alcoholic beverages
Unfortunately, these tips may not be enough for more severe cases of dry mouth. In situations like these, Dr. Mullins and Dr. Owen will determine the root cause of your dry mouth and develop a treatment plan to help fight it.
While dry mouth can contribute to the development of cavities, their most common cause is the bacteria resting in the plaque. Plaque is caused naturally by starchy foods and drinks that you consume. The bacteria in your mouth feed off the sugars in the starches, eventually leading to an acidic mouth.
Fortunately, plaque can be removed with daily oral care. Brushing twice a day and flossing at least once after eating will do wonders for preventing tooth decay. As Jordan, one of our dental hygienists explains, “Plaque will lay on the tooth and start to demineralize it if you don’t brush and floss on a regular basis.”
Combine that with regular visits to our office for cleanings and you have a great improvement with better opportunities for protecting your oral health. You can also take extra steps by drinking water throughout the day to help remove the plaque-causing starches from your mouth. For added protection, ask us about dental sealants that act as a long-lasting protective barrier for your back teeth.
Click here to learn more about cavities and how to prevent them!
Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease (periodontal disease). It’s a type of bacterial infection in the gum tissue, often resulting from poor oral hygiene. The same bacteria that causes plaque and cavities causes gingivitis. In this case, plaque has hardened into calculus below the gumline. It’s much harder to remove than plaque and requires professional treatment.
Some may consider poor oral hygiene a character flaw, but that’s rarely the case. According to dental hygienist Julie:
People tend to neglect their dental care based on what they have learned as a child. This forms the basis for how important their teeth are and how important oral hygiene practices can be. It’s more of a learned behavior than simply not doing it.
Fortunately, it’s never too late to learn better oral hygiene habits. Brushing and flossing regularly are crucial steps for preventing serious oral health problems. You can get much-needed, thorough cleanings at our dental office in Powell, TN. Here, you will receive the most comprehensive cleaning of your life as well as identify problem areas to look out for.
To learn more about gingivitis and its symptoms, click here!
Periodontitis is the advanced stage of gum disease. At this point, the inflammation of gingivitis has advanced to the gums pulling away from your teeth. “Pockets” also begin to form between your teeth and gums at this stage. These act as a sink where plaque, tartar, and bacteria are gathered. These pockets get deeper as time passes, resulting in loose or even lost teeth.
Periodontitis doesn’t just affect your teeth. At this stage of gum disease, the infection can find its way into your bloodstream enhancing inflammation associated with:
- Respiratory disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Coronary artery disease
Treatment for this stage of gum disease can include scaling which removes tartar from the tooth’s surface above and below the gumline. Root planing smooths the surfaces of the roots to remove and prevent further buildup. Antibiotics may also be prescribed in the form of rinses, gels, and tablets.
Are you looking for a dentist to help round out your oral care routine? Contact us today to schedule your appointment!
The importance of daily dental care begins with preventing issues such as bad breath. Daily brushing and flossing can also help prevent the effects of dry mouth, which can lead to cavities caused by plaque. When not removed regularly, plaque can advance into gingivitis and affect your gum health. Gingivitis can eventually lead to periodontitis and tooth loss.
Latest posts by Dr. Wesley Mullins (Knoxville Dentist)
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