What is plaque, and why is it harmful?
Plaque is a sticky film that can coat teeth, is acidic, and contains bacteria. If dental plaque is not removed when it is soft, it can harden, turn into tartar, and become difficult to remove later. Plaque and tartar can damage teeth, lead to tooth decay, gum disease, or ultimately tooth loss. To prevent plaque, brush, and floss frequently, and make sure to schedule regular dental cleaning appointments with your dental hygienist.
Do teeth need fluoride?
Fluoride helps make teeth strong and prevents tooth decay. The American Dental Association (ADA), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and CDC agree that children should use fluoride toothpaste for brushing, taking care not to swallow the fluoride. Adults are at high risk for tooth decay also; therefore, adults should use fluoride toothpaste also.
How often should I floss?
It is recommended you floss once per day, preferably at night. Flossing your teeth is critical for a healthy smile. Flossing teeth helps clear food and plaque from around your teeth. Flossing also helps prevent gum disease, prevent cavities, reduce bad breath, and promote good oral health. Either waxed or unwaxed floss works great.
At what age are dental sealants most effective?
Dental sealants are most effective once adult molars are present in a patient’s mouth. Sealants help prevent tooth decay by filling in, and thus protecting, the natural pits and grooves in the surfaces of teeth.
What are my options for replacing a missing tooth?
Implant, tooth-supported bridge, flipper, or removable partial denture are all options for replacing missing teeth. A dental implant to replace a missing tooth is the recommended treatment when viable. Viability depends on the patient's health and jaw anatomy.
What causes teeth to decay?
Tooth decay is caused by acid-producing bacteria in plaque that can build up on teeth. Some leading causes of bacteria and acid buildup are frequent snacking (especially on high-carb foods), sipping sugary drinks, and not cleaning teeth well. If plaque is allowed to build up, it can create further problems such as cavities, gum recession, gum disease, and dental abscesses around teeth and in the gums.
Why do my gums bleed?
Bleeding gums is a sign of gingivitis or periodontal disease (gum disease). The buildup of plaque and/or tartar around the gum line can cause inflammation in the soft tissue around the teeth. Gingivitis is a common and early form of gum disease. If plaque at the gum line is not removed, it can harden into tartar, leading to increased bleeding and irritation. This can lead to periodontal disease. Gingivitis or periodontal disease may make the gums appear irritated, red, and swollen, sometimes causing them to bleed when someone is brushing, flossing, or eating.
Why are my teeth sensitive to cold?
Your teeth may be sensitive to cold if the outer protective layer of the tooth, called enamel has worn down or decayed. The enamel of teeth protects the tooth above the gum line and covers the dentin. Loss of enamel can expose sensitive parts of the teeth and can allow heat or cold to stimulate the nerves of teeth more effectively. Root exposure can also lead to sensitivity in teeth to cold. Root exposure happens from gum disease, trauma to the gum tissue, and/or from clenching and grinding your teeth.
What causes dry mouth during the night?
The common causes of dry mouth at night are snoring or breathing through the mouth. This can occur because the nasal passage is clogged or inflamed. In addition, some medications can reduce salivary flow in general, causing dry mouth.