Oral preventive hygiene can be broadly described as the practice of maintaining good oral health by scheduling routine dental cleanings and caring for your teeth and gums at home. It is necessary to practice good oral hygiene on a regular basis to prevent a variety of oral health concerns such as:
- Oral cavities
- Oral diseases and oral cancer
- Severe gum disease (periodontal disease) or gum infections
- Tooth loss or dental decay
- Cardiovascular disease
- Heart disease
- Respiratory disease
Continue reading to learn more about oral hygiene and why it’s so important.
Oral hygiene is essential for everyone at any age. Because of modern conveniences and advancements, most developed countries have access to the benefit of excellent dental hygiene. But tooth decay and oral cavities are still one of the most common types of dental concerns we treat.
A regular oral checkup is just as important as your annual physical examination from your general health practitioner. Many people think that they only need to go to a dental office when they have an oral problem or if they are experiencing oral pain. However, regular visits to the dentist’s office can contribute to your overall health and well-being. You should never put off going to a dentist. Thanks to scientific and medical advancements, your visit to Azure Dental will be comfortable and pain-free.
Preventive dentistry refers to dental care that helps maintain good oral health and healthy teeth. It is a combination of regular dental check-ups along with practicing good habits like regular brushing and flossing at home. Keeping your teeth, gums, and mouth healthy begins at an early age and will continue for the rest of your lives.
Preventive dentistry services may include:
- Routine visits and regular oral dental exams
- Routine dental x-rays, typically once a year
- Teeth cleanings
Preventive Dental Care at Home
Preventive dental care begins with you. Early development of good oral hygiene practices can help reduce cavities, gum disease (periodontal disease), gingivitis, and more. Here are some basic tips for maintaining your oral health at home:
- Avoid too many acidic foods that can deteriorate and break down tooth enamel.
- Avoid smoking or the use of tobacco products which can cause dental concerns and potentially cancer.
- If you have sensitive teeth, be cautious with hard foods such as hard candies, foods with seeds, and foods with pits.
- Floss daily to prevent plaque build-up.
- Keep your mouth clean by brushing your teeth twice daily, morning and night, with a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste.
- Limit sugar intake in your food and drinks.
- Replace your toothbrush every couple of months.
- Schedule regular dental health checkups and regular cleanings.
- Use a mouth guard if you grind your teeth or when participating in rough sports/activities.
- Use mouthwash or mouth rinse to assist with removing other harmful bacteria in the mouth.
Taking care of your oral health is an investment in your overall health. Should an oral health issue ever arise, make sure to contact Azure Dental to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
How Often Should I Brush?
Azure Dental and The American Dental Association recommend brushing your teeth twice a day.
Brushing twice daily is essential to:
- Remove food particles lingering in your mouth
- Reduce the number of harmful bacteria in your mouth
- Prevent plaque build-up
- Prevent oral diseases, such as gum disease or periodontal disease
How Often Should I See the Dentist?
It’s true that going to the dentist twice a year may be a good rule of thumb, but your teeth need their own individual care plan. It will vary depending on your personal health and dental hygiene, habits, and other medical conditions.
Some individuals only need to see their dentist once or twice per year, whereas others may require more frequent visits. Always be sure to check with your dentist before scheduling an appointment.
Is it Really Necessary to Floss?
At Azure Dental, we recommend that you floss daily.
There are many beneficial reasons why you should floss your teeth:
- Helps get rid of and prevent plaque build-up
- Helps prevent gum disease or periodontal disease
- Helps with sensitive teeth and gums
- May help your other health issues, such as your heart health
- Reduces the risk of bad breath
- Reduces the risk of oral cavities
Flossing your teeth regularly should be an essential part of your daily oral hygiene habits. By removing food particles and preventing plaque build-up, flossing each day may reduce your risk of oral diseases, oral infections, tooth decay, and cavities. It is important to try and floss your teeth at least once a day, preferably right after you brush your teeth to remove any lingering food particles.
What Are the Risk Factors for Cavities?
If you’re prone to cavities, they’re most likely to form on the surfaces you use to chew and the spaces between your teeth where foods tend to get stuck. Tooth decay may also happen in parts of your mouth where the tooth filling has cracked or disintegrated.
Here are a few factors that can increase your risk for cavities:
- Acidic drinks
- Citrus fruits
- Dry mouth
- Fruit juices
- Poor oral hygiene
- Sensitive teeth with deteriorating enamel
- Smoking and alcohol consumption
- Sodas and sticky, crunchy, or sugary snacks
When to Call the Dentist
Dental emergencies can happen at any time, and we are here for you when they do. We’ll go through a short list of when to call your dental professional and whether or not you can solve the issue yourself:
- Bitten cheek, lips, or tongue: It is not necessary to call your dentist, unless you cannot stop the bleeding or if the wound worsens. Continue to monitor the area and use a cold compress to reduce swelling.
- Bleeding when brushing: While bleeding while brushing your teeth can be common, it can be related to gum disease or periodontal disease. If this persists for more than a few days, you should schedule a check-up with your dentist.
- Broken tooth, cracked tooth, or loose tooth: You should call your dentist immediately if you notice broken teeth or cracked teeth. To help reduce swelling and pain in the meantime, take a pain reliever such as Acetaminophen and use a cold compress. If you are an adult with loose teeth, it is also important to give your dentist a call.
- Knocked-out tooth: If you are an adult, you should call your dentist immediately if you happen to knock out a tooth during strenuous activity or by accident. However, it is normal for baby teeth to fall out on their own. If your baby or young child is experiencing pain after losing a tooth, contact your dentist for further evaluation.
- Obstruction between teeth: If you cannot remove the object with dental floss or a dental pick, it is recommended that you call your dentist so they can professionally remove the obstruction.
- Swelling of the face: Should you experience swelling of the face, consider calling your dentist or visiting your nearest walk-in clinic. While it could be a dental issue, there are other factors that could potentially be causing the swelling.
- Toothache: Every once in a while, you may experience a toothache. This could be due to a cavity, or the teeth enamel wearing down. If you’re still experiencing tooth pain after a few days, call your dentist to schedule a check-up for further evaluation.
Schedule an Appointment
By practicing good oral care, you can prevent a wide range of concerns such as oral diseases, oral infections, dental cavities, and more. Continue to floss and brush your teeth on a daily basis to assist with the reduction of bad breath, prevention of cavities, and keeping your gums healthy. Following these tips will not only improve your quality of life but will also leave you with a healthy mouth and teeth.
Our friendly staff at Azure Dental is only a phone call away and we are ready to help with any questions you may have regarding your oral health concerns. To schedule an appointment, or to simply ask us a few questions, you can give us a call at (415)843-7435.