We may lose our primary teeth eventually, but their health is very important to our oral health over the long term. They help children chew food, speak clearly, and retain the space for the permanent teeth. If baby teeth aren't cared for properly, they can decay, leading to a gum infection called gingivitis that can affect the spacing and the health of the permanent teeth moreover if bacteria lurk in the baby teeth, the enamel for the adult teeth may not be formed properly and they can be permanently damaged. Children who learn to take care of their baby teeth tend to have good dental habits as adults.
When they get their first tooth or reach their first birthday, whichever is earlier. Many people are shocked that it’s so early. The older guideline was age three, just because that’s when general dentists found they could manage a child. But at three, we often find that damage has already been done from baby bottle tooth decay or cavities.
Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth may be warning signs of gum (periodontal) disease. Gum disease is caused by the buildup of plaque on teeth. The bacteria cause toxins to form in the mouth, which irritate the gums. If gum disease continues untreated, it can damage the gums and jawbone. Other dental causes of bad breath include poorly fitting dental appliances, yeast infections of the mouth, and dental caries. The medical condition dry mouth (also called xerostomia) can also cause bad breath. Saliva plays a major role as it helps to moisten and cleanse the mouth by neutralizing acids produced by plaque and washing away dead cells that accumulate on the tongue, gums, and cheeks. If not removed, these cells decompose and can cause bad breath. Dry mouth may be caused by the side effects of various medications, salivary gland problems, or continuous breathing through the mouth.
Proper brushing takes at least two minutes — that's right, 120 seconds! Most adults do not come close to brushing that long. To get a feel for the time involved, try using a stopwatch. To properly brush your teeth, use short, gentle strokes, paying extra attention to the gum line, hard-to-reach back teeth, and areas around fillings, crowns or other restoration. Concentrate on thoroughly cleaning each section as follows:
- Clean the outer surfaces of your upper teeth, then your lower teeth
- Clean the inner surfaces of your upper teeth, then your lower teeth
- Clean the chewing surfaces
- For fresher breath, be sure to brush your tongue, too
Most dental professionals agree that a soft-bristled brush is best for removing plaque and debris from your teeth. Small-headed brushes are also preferable, since they can better reach all areas of the mouth, including hard-to-reach back teeth. For many, a powered toothbrush is a good alternative. It can do a better job of cleaning teeth, particularly for those who have difficulty brushing or who have limited manual dexterity.
It is important that you use toothpaste that's right for you. Today there is a wide variety of toothpaste designed for many conditions, including cavities, gingivitis, tartar, stained teeth and sensitivity. Ask your dentist or hygienist which toothpaste is right for you.
Replace your toothbrush when it begins to show wear or every three months, whichever comes first. It is also very important to change toothbrushes after you've had a cold, since the bristles can collect germs that can lead to reinfection.
Proper flossing removes plaque and food particles in places where a toothbrush cannot easily reach- under the gumline and between our teeth. Because plaque build-up can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, daily flossing is highly recommended. To receive maximum benefits from flossing, use the proper technique.
Tooth decay is the process that results in a cavity (dental caries). It occurs when bacteria in your mouth make acids that eat away at a tooth. If not treated, tooth decay can cause pain, infection, and tooth loss. You can easily prevent tooth decay by brushing and flossing your teeth regularly, seeing your dentist for teeth cleaning and checkups, and avoiding foods that have high sugar.
Tooth decay usually does not cause symptoms until you have a cavity or an infected tooth. When this occurs, a toothache is the most common symptom. Your dentist diagnoses tooth decay by asking questions about your past dental and medical problems and care, examining your teeth by using a pointed tool and a small mirror. The dentist may also Take X-rays of your teeth and mouth.
Tooth sensitivity is tooth pain due to a wearing away of the tooth's surface or gum tissue. The most common cause of sensitive teeth in adults is exposed tooth roots due to receding gums. Because these roots are not covered by enamel, thousands of tiny channels leading to the tooth's nerve center (pulp) are exposed. When heat, cold or pressure touches these channels, you feel pain.
If you've ever felt a painful sensation in your teeth after drinking or eating hot or cold food and beverages, you've experienced tooth sensitivity. And you're not alone. It's a condition that affects one out of four adults, often coming and going over time.
Be careful to brush properly or you can cause your teeth to wear away, making them sensitive. Overzealous brushing the clasp of a partial denture and braces can also lead to abrasion (loss of tooth surface).
Make certain that you continues to bite on the gauze pad for 20-30 minutes after leaving our office. The biting pressure on gauze pad stops the bleeding and allows better clotting. A slight oozing of blood for a day is normal. Call our office if there is any excessive bleeding. Avoid using straws and rinsing for one day. Doing so can disturb the clot and delay healing.
- Maintain a soft diet for the rest of the day (soups, pasta, eggs, oatmeal, yogurt, gelatin, puddings, apple sauce, soft cheeses, mashed potatoes are good examples). Avoid hot foods and anything with seeds.
- Be careful that your child does not accidentally bite or scratch the numb cheek. The numbness generally lasts one to two hours.
- If you have discomfort or pain take an analgesic prescribed by your dentist.
- Gentle brushing and gentle rinsing with warm salt water (1tsp dissolved in an 8oz glass of water) can begin the morning following extraction. A clean mouth will heal more quickly. Continue the rinsing for several days and longer if there is a problem keeping the area clean.
- Please call our office if you have any questions or concerns.