Do you regularly fall asleep before you can brush your teeth or forget to floss? Neglecting your oral hygiene can increase your risk of cavities and gum disease. Terry C. Linneman, D.D.S., who practices family dentistry in Prairie Village, KS, at Prairie Dental Care, explains why you shouldn't get lazy about oral hygiene.
Plaque doesn't go away on it's on
Every day, plaque, a sticky, colorless film that contains bacteria, accumulates on your teeth. Plaque combines with the sugars in foods to create acids that eat away at your tooth enamel, causing cavities. Brushing your teeth twice every day and flossing daily is the best way to remove plaque and prevent tooth decay.
If you don't remove plaque, it eventually turns into a deposit called tartar. Tartar is so hard that brushing and flossing won't dislodge it. In fact, it can only be removed with special dental instruments. Tartar can cause painful gum disease, which may increase your risk of tooth and bone loss.
Luckily, gum disease has a few warning signs. If you have gingivitis, the mildest form of the disease, you may notice that your gums are swollen or red, or that they bleed easily every time you brush or floss. If you don't receive treatment at this stage, tartar may cause your gums to separate from your teeth, forming deep pockets that become infected.
Good oral hygiene prevents bad breath
It's no fun having a conversation with someone who has bad breath. Unfortunately, failing to brush or floss can contribute to the problem, particularly if small pieces of food become stuck between teeth and begin to decay. In addition to brushing and flossing, using a mouthwash that contains fluoride can improve your breath and strengthen your tooth enamel.
Regular dental exams help keep your smile healthy
During your regular dental exams, your teeth will be thoroughly cleaned with special tools that can remove plaque and tartar from hard-to-reach areas. After a cleaning, your cavity risk will decrease and your teeth will sparkle. Regular exams also offer the perfect opportunity for your Prairie Village, KS dentist to spot small cavities and other issues that you may not have noticed. Treating cavities when they're small will help you avoid more extensive dental work in the future.
Is it time for your next cleaning and exam? Call Dr. Linneman at his family dentistry practice, Prairie Dental Care in Prairie Village, KS, at (913) 649-7500 to schedule an appointment. Protect your smile with good oral hygiene habits and regular dental care!