Anyone who has a child of their own will know what hard work it can be to get them into the habit of cleaning their teeth properly. If you establish a good oral hygiene regime at an early age, however, it’s something which should stick with them throughout the rest of their life, allowing them to maintain excellent dental health. What is often overlooked is the fact that adults also often need advice and help when it comes to keeping their teeth and gums as healthy as possible. An effective oral health regime can play as vital a part in maintaining healthy teeth as the right diet and regular check-ups with your dentist.
Adults can be affected by cavities and gum disease in just the way that children can, and gum disease in particular can often lead to teeth being lost. There are, however, a few simple tips which will help to ward off problems:
Brush twice daily, using toothpaste which contains fluoride. Make sure you replace your brush on a regular basis and use the brushing technique recommended by dental hygienists; small, circular movements rather than over vigorous scrubbing. Brushing too hard will, surprisingly, actually weaken the enamel of the teeth. Brushing in the right way will successfully remove plaque, the sticky film which causes tooth decay.
Use dental floss to remove the plaque which brushing can’t reach, which is to say the plaque which is trapped between the teeth and along the gum line. If left in place, this plaque will harden into a substance called tartar, which requires professional removal.
Steer clear of sugary, starchy snacks and drinks, especially between meals. The sugar in such items will encourage the acids in your plaque to attack the teeth.
Make sure you see your dentist on a regular basis, to have your teeth examined and cleaned by a professional.
The issues Most Likely to Effect Adults If your gums become red, swollen and sore then you may be suffering the first stages of gum disease, known as gingivitis. If your gums bleed after cleaning, then tell your dentist, since, if left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss.
Gum disease is also linked to broader health problems. Studies have uncovered a connection between gingivitis and problems such as diabetes and heart disease.
Cavities can become more frequent, particularly around existing fillings, as patients grow older. Another problem often experienced by older people is increased sensitivity to hot and cold food, caused by the fact that the gum naturally recedes and uncovers parts of the tooth which aren’t protected by enamel. The way to deal with this is to start using toothpaste especially formulated for sensitive teeth. If the sensitivity persists, then it would be wise to visit your dentist, as it may be a sign of a deeper lying problem such as a cracked tooth.
If a tooth has become damaged, but is still viable, your dentist might recommend the utilisation of a crown, a cap which covers the tooth, protecting and strengthening it as well as improving its’ appearance. If a tooth is missing altogether, on the other hand, it can be replaced with an implant or a bridge.
Dry Mouth Certain medications or medical conditions can lead to the patients’ mouth becoming dry. Lack of saliva, which is referred to by dentists as ‘nature’s mouthwash’ can lead to the teeth being more likely to be attacked by plaque and decay.
Health Conditions Whilst some dental problems, such as gingivitis, have been linked to deep seated health problems, the inverse is true; certain medical problems can leave your teeth and gums more vulnerable to attack. These include diabetes, heart disease and cancer, and you should always keep your dentist fully informed of your overall state of health.
Whitening As you grow older, your teeth may become grey and discoloured. This can be caused by staining thanks to cigarettes or food such as wine and coffee, or it may be a natural side effect of ageing, as the enamel of the teeth becomes thinner. Your dental hygienist may be able to remove some of the staining, and bleaching treatment can whiten the teeth in general. In between visits to your dentist, you can use whitening toothpaste at the same time as avoiding too many strongly staining items of food and drink.
Diet As well as the above steps, all of which have a direct effect upon the state of your dental health, it is possible to maintain healthy teeth and gums by eating a well-balanced and nutritious diet. The vitamins and minerals in a healthy diet will help to keep your gums strong, healthy and resistant to infection, whilst fruit and vegetables contain fibre can help to clean the teeth at the same time as you’re eating them.