Enjoy a Healthy Mouth & Boosted Confidence
Good Oral Hygiene for Great Overall Health
The basis of sound dental care is routine cleaning and maintenance. We customize dental cleanings on the basis of your periodontal (gums and bone) health. We utilize medicated gels along with prescription mouth rinses in problem areas if necessary. Ultrasonic scalers are sometimes used to make the procedure more comfortable and effective as well.
Sealants should be used as part of a child’s total preventive dental care. Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings that are applied to the chewing surfaces of the molars (back teeth). Most tooth decay in children and teens occurs on these surfaces. Sealants cover the chewing surfaces to prevent decay. Applying sealants does not require drilling or removing tooth structures. It is an easy three-step process: We clean the tooth with a special toothpaste. On a tiny piece of cotton, a special cleansing liquid is rubbed gently on the tooth and is washed off. Finally, the sealant is painted on the tooth. It takes about a minute for the sealant to form a protective shield. One sealant application can last for as long as 5 to 10 years. Sealants should be checked regularly and reapplied if they are no longer in place.
Children and adults at high risk of dental decay may benefit from using additional fluoride products, including dietary supplements (for children who do not have adequate levels of fluoride in their drinking water), mouth rinses, and professionally applied gels and varnishes.
Five Steps to Perfect Oral Health
- Brush teeth and one-quarter inch of your gums twice a day. All sides; top and bottom.
- Floss your teeth once a day. Go up and down four or five times on every surface. Even floss behind the last teeth. If your gums bleed, they are sick, and you need to do better at keeping them clean.
- Don’t rinse after brushing.
- Limit between-meal sugar consumption.
- Use sugar-free snacks such as diet drinks, sugar-free gum, vegetables, cheese, nuts, or tortilla chips.
Do Your Gums Ever Bleed?
Healthy gums are pink in color and don’t bleed when brushed or flossed. However, more than 70% of adults have periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a chronic (continual and long-lasting) inflammatory and infectious disease that destroys the bone and gum tissues that support the teeth. Signs of gum disease are: gums that are red, puffy, bleed easily, bad breath, and, eventually, cause loose teeth. I compare this destructive process to a flooded river that erodes all the supporting soil around a perfectly healthy tree. Without the dirt support, the tree falls into the river. The teeth themselves, like the tree, are perfectly healthy; but without the needed bone support, they cannot stay in the mouth.
If your skin bled every time you touched it, you would know something was wrong, and you would quickly make an appointment with the doctor to determine what is causing the unusual bleeding. However, when gums bleed, it does not raise suspicion because “they have always bled.” BLEEDING GUMS ARE NOT NORMAL.
There are millions and billions of bacteria in the mouth. Whenever you eat, brush, or floss your teeth and there is bleeding present, many bacteria are introduced into the bloodstream. This creates a “shower” of bacteria into all parts of the body.
Recently, researchers have positively determined a definite correlation between heart disease (heart attacks) and gum disease. This problem isn’t confined to only the heart but is broadened to be referred to as an “oral-systemic disease connection.” These bacteria especially irritate the lining of the arteries of the heart and contribute to the build-up of plaque on the lining of these blood vessels. The narrowing of these arteries is what leads to a heart attack.
Many older people have had knee or hip replacement surgery. These artificial joints are also more susceptible to infection and failure due to the shower of bacteria in the bloodstream from unhealthy gums.
Therefore, do your overall health a favor by making sure your gums are healthy to the point that they DO NOT BLEED when brushed or flossed. Most people need professional cleanings at least every six months. However, professional cleaning by itself isn’t enough to prevent the problems referred to in this article. Every person with teeth must brush them twice a day and floss them daily. When brushing, you must also brush onto the gums at least a quarter of an inch. The gum line is where the bacteria first start to assemble. After the dentist or hygienist has removed all plaque and calculus (tartar), giving your gums a fresh start, you should be able to achieve gums that do not bleed within a few days. Keeping them healthy to the point they won’t bleed isn’t difficult or time-consuming, but consistency is critical. Do your entire body a favor by keeping your gums healthy. If you have questions, talk to your dentist or physician.
Clair Vernon, DMD