Prosthodontics, Implants, Cosmetic & Reconstructive Dentistry

How to Keep Teeth Clean and Healthy

Having good oral health is not all about gum disease and cavities. Studies have proven there is a link between the health of your mouth and your overall health. Following a good oral hygiene routine will not only keep your teeth clean and healthy but your whole body healthy.

Keeping Teeth Clean and Healthy

Regular visits to Tarzana Dental Care and good oral hygiene will help you maintain healthy gums and teeth. There are tips to follow and make into a routine for cleaning your teeth regularly and maintaining their health.

  • Use a fluoridated toothpaste
    • Toothpaste, which contains fluoride, will help to harden your teeth enamel. Fluoride also reduces your chances of tooth decay. Fluoride is a chemical ion of fluorine and is one of the top twenty elements in the crust of the earth. Ions are either negatively or positively charged atoms which help elements combine with each other. When fluorine, which is negatively charged, connects with a positively charged ion, it creates a powerful cavity fighter.

Using this form of fluoride components in your mouth will help to prevent cavities, and make your teeth stronger. Some experts believe it can even help to reverse the onset of early tooth decay.

Studies have been conducted on a lack of fluoride and how it can lead to tooth decay, even if you perform other dental hygiene practices. It has been shown that even those who brush and floss but do not use a fluoridated toothpaste, are not protected from getting cavities.

  • Brush teeth twice a day
    • After you have eaten a meal is the best time for you to brush your teeth. Using a small head on your toothbrush will allow you to access your back teeth easily, and soft bristles are easier on your gums. The American Dental Association states you should brush your teeth twice a day using toothpaste with fluoride.

Brushing your teeth helps to remove plaque and food particles. Foods that contain sugar can stick to your teeth, and the bacteria from the plaque will begin attacking the enamel on your teeth if not brushed away.

When you don’t remove plaque from your teeth, it can become tartar and make cleaning your teeth more difficult. The tartar can even build up enough to cause inflammation, which will then become gum disease.

  • Brush teeth thoroughly
    • Brushing twice a day is essential for healthy teeth, but brushing too vigorously can be harmful. You want to be thorough and make sure all teeth are reached during brushing to remove plaque from all of them but don’t apply too much pressure. Vigorous brushing will harm the enamel on your teeth and put you at risk of pushing the gums back and exposing sensitive root areas.

Brushing should be completed by using small circular motions. Make sure you brush both the front and back of all teeth. It should take you two to three minutes, and you should avoid using a back and forth or seesaw motion.

A hard-bristled toothbrush should also be avoided to prevent damage to your gums and the enamel on your teeth.

  • Floss teeth daily.
    • Plaque is removed from your teeth when you floss. It also helps to prevent the buildup of plaque on your teeth, so you reduce the risk of tartar buildup. Teeth can look brighter when you floss and remove the plaque and excess food particles that you may not notice when looking in the mirror. Flossing is also an excellent way to keep track of your mouth’s health. It provides an opportunity for you to check for any areas of swelling or redness that indicate a health issue in your mouth.

Both the American Dental Association and the Centers for Disease and Control recommend daily flossing. Flossing should be done by gently pushing the floss all the way to the gum line before you push it against the side of the tooth. You should then perform an up and down motion with the floss on both sides of the teeth the floss is between. Do not snap the floss up and down between your teeth as you may cause yourself pain, and it doesn’t remove the plaque as well.

  • Limit intake of drinks, cordials, and fruit juices.
    • Drinking products that are high in both sugar and acid can damage your teeth. Any drink that measures 5.5 or less on the pH scale is considered acidic and can soften the enamel on your teeth. This effect will make your teeth more vulnerable to cavities and sensitivity. When drinks have both a high sugar and acid content, you double the risk of damage.

Some drinks that can damage your teeth are coffee when you add sugar to it, lemon, or lime water, which becomes acidic for your teeth, and many others. Check with your dentist at Tarzana Dental Care for other drinks you should limit or avoid.

  • Limit consumption of sugary foods.
    • The American Dental Association states that when you sip sugary drinks or eat sugary foods for extended periods of time, plaque that uses sugar to create acids will attack the enamel on your teeth.

Sticky foods are the worst for your mouth, such as dried fruit. These foods tend to stick in your teeth longer than other food types. After eating these types of food, you should rinse with water and follow with flossing and brushing to remove all particles.

  • Protect your teeth.
    • Injuries to the mouth and teeth are common. Almost eighty percent of dental injuries affect the front teeth and are responsible for causing damage to your soft tissue, such as the inner cheeks, lips, and tongue. Sports are the leading cause of these damages.

You can protect your teeth from damage by wearing a mouth guard, face cage, or helmet. While the helmet will not necessarily protect your teeth, it can reduce your risk of a brain concussion.

  • Save a tooth if knocked out.
    • If you are involved in an accident that knocks one of your teeth out, hold it in its place, and seek dental advice immediately. If you cannot hold it in the socket it came from, place it in a glass of milk, or wrap it tightly in plastic until you see your dentist at Tarzana Dental Care. Your dentist will do everything possible to save the tooth.

Milk is a good medium for keeping a tooth that has been knocked out. It will keep the root surface from swelling up and bursting as they would if you place it in water.

When a tooth is knocked out, the blood vessels, nerves, and supporting tissue receive damage. The blood vessels and nerves cannot always be fixed, and a root canal might be necessary. The ligament that connects the tooth to the bone can possibly reform once it has been replaced. The replacing of the tooth is only possible as long as it is re-planted soon after the trauma has occurred.

  • Only use your teeth for chewing food.
    • Many people are good at seeing their dentist regularly and brushing twice a day to keep their teeth healthy. Yet, these same people have horrible oral habits like chewing on ice or other hard objects. The enamel on your teeth is hard, but it is hard enough to withstand tough foods. Enamel will not stand up to objects that you shouldn’t chew on, such as random bits of plastic, pens, toys, and everyone’s favorite ice.

Ice can cause serious problems for compulsive chewers. Not only is ice too hard for the enamel on your teeth, but it is also very cold. The cold will make the enamel contract and expand as you chew on it and create small cracks in it. You put your teeth at risk of cracking if you should bite down too hard on it.

  • See your dentist at Tarzana Dental Care.
    • Seeing your dentist regularly ensures your gums and teeth stay healthy. The American Dental Association suggests you see your dentist at least every six months. There are two parts to a checkup at your dentist's office to check the health of your teeth.
  • Seeing your dentist regularly ensures your gums and teeth stay healthy. The American Dental Association suggests you see your dentist at least every six months. There are two parts to a checkup at your dentist's office to check the health of your teeth.

The first part is an x-ray to see if there are any cavities between your teeth. A check will also be done to look for any plaque or tartar buildup. Your gums will also be checked with a special tool to measure the depth of space between your gums and teeth. If your teeth are healthy, the depth is shallow; if there is evidence of gum disease, the space will be deeper.

The second part involves cleaning your teeth. When you floss and brush regularly, it helps keep plaque off your teeth, but you can’t remove tartar buildup. During your cleaning, the dental professional will use special tools to remove the buildup of tartar. This process is called scaling.

Why it is Important to Keep Teeth Clean and Healthy

You need your teeth and gums to eat, and most of you have probably heard the saying, "take care of your teeth; they are the only pair you will have'. This saying is true, and the fact that good oral hygiene protects your teeth and your overall health is true. Several issues can affect your mouth's health, but practicing good care should help you keep your gums and teeth strong as you age.

Your teeth are covered by enamel. Every day a thin film of bacteria will start to build up your teeth, which is known as plaque. The bacteria found in the plaque creates an acid that is able to damage the enamel covering your teeth and lead to you developing cavities. When you perform daily flossing and brushing, you can reduce or eliminate your chances of getting a cavity. Once a cavity forms, only your dentist at Tarzana Dental Care can fix it.

As stated earlier, fluoride toothpaste helps to protect your teeth against decay. If you suffer a dry mouth condition, you are at a higher risk of tooth decay than others. This condition, or certain medications you may be taking, may mean you need more fluoride in your teeth’s care. Check with your dentist at Tarzana Dental Care to see if you are using the proper fluoride toothpaste.

Another concern with oral hygiene is gum disease. When plaque builds up under and along the gum line, it can cause an infection that will damage your gums and bone that hold your teeth in place. Your gums are more likely to bleed and become tender if you develop gum disease. This disease is called gingivitis and is often controlled by proper flossing and brushing.

A more severe form of gum disease, periodontitis, has to be treated by your dentist at Tarzana Dental Care. If you do not have this form of gum disease treated, it can permanently damage the bones in your jaw, your gums, and other tissues that support your teeth. If the disease continues, it can lead to having your teeth removed. There are steps you can take to prevent gum disease:

  • Floss once each day
  • Brush teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
  • Schedule regular checkups with your dentist
  • Consume a well-balanced diet
  • Do not smoke. Your risk of gum disease is increased by smoking.

Conditions that Arise if You Do Not Keep Teeth Clean and Healthy

Almost half of Americans do not take the time to floss daily, and only one in five brush their teeth twice a day. Some conditions can occur when you don't have proper oral hygiene practices. The American Dental Association states your mouth is a gate into your body and to your overall health. Taking care of teeth and gums improves your chances of preventing bad breath and cavities and serious health conditions.

There are links between dental neglect and various conditions. Tooth loss is one of the more apparent conditions as both gum disease and cavities can lead to losing a tooth or more. Bad breath is another condition that will occur if you do not brush properly. When you allow food particles to lay in between your teeth, the higher risk you are at developing malodorous bacteria buildup in your mouth.

Malodorous bacteria buildup is a bacteria that coats your tongue and is the main contributor to bad breath. Research has shown, you should brush your tongue at the time you brush your teeth to reduce the risk of this buildup.

Dementia has also been linked to poor dental health. Research has shown that people who have admitted to not brushing their teeth daily had from twenty-two to sixty-five percent higher risk of developing dementia. Also found during the study was the brains of people with Alzheimer's had more bacteria associated with gum disease than those who belonged to a cognitively healthy group.

Pneumonia is also a higher risk when pathogens lurk in your mouth. When you breathe in, these pathogens are inhaled into your lungs. A study was conducted and showed a link between hospital-acquired pneumonia and poor oral hygiene practices. When one improves their oral hygiene beyond flossing and brushing, they can reduce the incidence of this form of pneumonia by forty percent. Another study showed a link between periodontitis and pneumonia, where patients were three times as likely to develop this condition without proper dental care.

Another condition linked to poor dental care is erectile dysfunction. Research found that the periodontitis impaired penis function. It is still unclear if this link exists in humans, although in a study of patients between 30 and 40 years of age with periodontitis, there were twenty-three percent who also suffered erectile dysfunction.

A poor dental condition in a person can create a notably destructive periodontal disease, which can become life-threatening. This condition can create an abscess of bacterial infection, which is also known as pus, and when swelling and inflammation occur with this abscess in the brain, it can become a fatal condition. Brain abscesses are rare. There has been no definite link between them and bad dental hygiene, but it has been noted that there are cases of brain abscess that pointed to dental hygiene as a very possible cause.

Diabetes has long been known as a risk factor for periodontitis. Research is now suggesting the link may need to be reversed. Poor dental health can also be a risk factor for insulin resistance. This condition is called pre-diabetes and occurs largely due to increased inflammation. Some studies are even showing that periodontitis might improve diabetes.

Another health condition related to poor dental hygiene is kidney disease. Those with periodontal disease are four and a half times more likely to develop chronic kidney disease. Adults who have no remaining teeth are eleven times more likely to develop chronic kidney disease. Dental disease is not the main factor, but those older than 60 years of age are at a higher risk for chronic kidney disease if they have an underlying periodontitis condition.

As you can see, your mouth is a window for what is going on in the rest of your body. It can often serve as a vantage point to detect early signs of other diseases. The Academy of General Dentistry states there is more than ninety percent of all systemic diseases that produce oral symptoms and signs. For these health reasons, it is exceedingly crucial that you learn how to keep teeth clean and healthy.

Find a Tarzana Dentist Near Me

To keep your teeth clean and healthy, it is of utmost importance that you schedule regular dentist visits.  Call Tarzana Dental Care at 818-708-3232 for an appointment to maintain a beautiful smile today!