Keeping Your Teeth Healthy With Five Simple Essentials

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There is more to keeping your teeth healthy than simple brushing and flossing. You have probably been told to brush twice and to floss at least once a day since you were old enough to hold a toothbrush. But what about tongue care, diet and fluoride use? Do you know what toothbrush and mouthrinse is right for you? Brush up on your oral care with these essential habits for excellent dental health.

1. Taking Care of Your Toothbrush

For healthy teeth, take care of your toothbrush. Rinse it well after toothbrushing. Then, in an upright position, make sure to store it out in the open. Plenty of air flow around the bristles will help keep your brush dry; microorganisms that can grow on your toothbrush tend to thrive in a moist environment. When it is no longer effective, get a new one. The American Dental Association recommends replacing toothbrushes every three to four months, although with children you may need to change sooner. Keep an eye out for frayed, worn bristles.

2. Tongue Brushing

Brush your tongue to help fight the bacteria in your mouth. Tongue brushing is not only essential for keeping your teeth healthy, it also helps to stop bad breath. Try using a toothbrush with a cheek and tongue cleaner, such as the Colgate 360, so you can easily remove bacteria from your mouth every time you brush.

3. Talk to Your Dentist

Your dentist and dental hygienist are there to help you with oral care. Visit your dentist for regular check-ups and voice any questions or concerns that you may have about keeping your teeth healthy. They can help you create a daily brushing and flossing plan that is suited to the specific needs of your teeth.

4. Choose Your Beverages Wisely

What you drink can affect the health of your teeth. Beverages such as soft drinks and sugary juices have been targeted as culprits of tooth decay. Drinking less soda and more water, milk and fresh juices can help protect your teeth.

5. Use Fluoride

Fluoride is not just for kids. This natural mineral hardens tooth enamel, helping to prevent cavities. You can get fluoride from your toothpaste, some mouthrinses and in-office or at-home treatments your dental professional may provide. Talk to your dentist about what type of fluoride treatments are right for you.

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Common Conditions During ADULTHOOD

As we get older, dental care for adults is crucial. Here are a few of the conditions to be aware of:

Gum disease – if your home care routine of brushing and flossing has slipped and you have skipped your regular dental cleanings, bacterial plaque and tartar can build up on your teeth. The plaque and tartar, if left untreated, may eventually cause irreparable damage to your jawbone and support structures, and could lead to tooth loss.

Oral cancer – according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, men over the age of 40 have the greatest risk for oral cancer. About approximately 43,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer of the mouth, tongue or throat area, and the ACS estimates that about 7,000 people will die from these cancers. The use of tobacco products and alcohol increases the risk of oral cancer. Most oral cancers are first diagnosed by the dentist during a routine checkup.

Dental fillings break down – fillings have a life expectancy of eight to 10 years. However, they can last 20 years or longer. When the fillings in your mouth start to break down, food and bacteria can get underneath them and can cause decay deep in the tooth.