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A healthy and beautiful smile is a boon at any age. Too often people neglect the health of their teeth.

At whatever age, It is never too late to learn the basics of dental and oral health care.


Tooth Decay (Cavities)
 

Tooth decay is not just a children's disease; it can happen at any age as long as natural teeth are in the mouth. Tooth decay is caused by bacteria that are normally present in the mouth. The bacteria cling to teeth and form a sticky, colorless film layer called dental plaque. The bacteria in plaque live on sugars and produce decay causing acids that dissolve minerals on tooth surfaces. Tooth decay can also develop on the exposed roots of the teeth if you have gum disease or receding gums (where gums pull away from the teeth, exposing the roots).


Prevention of dental decay
 

Just as with children,fluoride is important for adult teeth. Research has shown that adding fluoride to the water supply is the best and least costly way to prevent tooth decay. In addition, using fluoride tooth pastes and mouth rinses can add protection. Daily fluoride rinses can be bought at most drug stores without a prescription. If you have a problem with cavities, your dentist or dental hygienist may give you a fluoride treatment during the office visit. The dentist may prescribe a fluoride gel or a mouth rinse for you to use at home.


Gum Disease (Periodontal)
 

A common cause of tooth loss after age 35 is gum (periodontal) disease. These are infections of the gum and bone that provides strength and holds the teeth in place. Gum diseases are also caused by dental plaque. The bacteria in plaque cause the gums to become inflamed and bleed easily. If left untreated, the disease gets worse as pockets of infection form between the teeth and gums. This causes receding gums and loss of supporting bone. You may lose enough bone to cause your teeth to become loose and fall out. Certain medical conditions like for eg. diabetes can predispose to gum problems.


Prevention of gum disease
 

You can prevent this by removing plaque. Thoroughly brush and floss your teeth each day. Carefully check your mouth for early signs of disease such as red, swollen, or bleeding gums. See your dentist regularly every 6-12 months - or at once if these signs are present.


Cleaning Your Teeth and Gums
 

An important part of good oral health is knowing how to brush and floss correctly. Thorough brushing each day removes plaque. Gently brush the teeth on all sides with a medium hard bristle brush using a fluoride containing toothpaste.

Circular and short back-and-forth strokes work best. Take the time to brush carefully along the gum line. Lightly brushing your tongue also helps to remove plaque and food debris and makes your mouth feel fresh.

In addition to brushing, using dental floss is necessary to keep the gums healthy. Proper flossing is important because it removes plaque and left over food that a toothbrush cannot reach. Your dentist can show you the best way to brush and floss your teeth. If brushing or flossing result in bleeding gums, pain, or irritation, see your dentist at once.

An antibacterial mouth rinse, approved for the control of plaque and swollen gums, may be prescribed by your dentist. The mouth rinse is used in addition to careful daily brushing and flossing. Some people may find electric toothbrushes very helpful.


Denture care
 

eeth (dentures), keep them clean and free from food that can cause stains, bad odor and gum irritation. Once a day, brush all surfaces of the dentures with an appropriate denture brush. Remove your dentures from your mouth and place them in water or a denture cleansing liquid while you sleep. It is also helpful to rinse your mouth with a warm salt water solution in the morning, after meals, and at bedtime.

Partial dentures should be cared for in the same way as full dentures. Because bacteria tend to collect under the clasps of partial dentures, it is especially important to clean this area. Dentures will seem awkward at first. When learning to eat with false teeth, select soft nonsticky food, cut food into small pieces, and chew slowly using both sides of the mouth. Dentures may make your mouth less sensitive to hot foods and liquids, and lower your ability to detect harmful objects such as bones. If problems in eating, talking, or simply wearing dentures continue after the first few weeks, see your dentist about making adjustments.

In time, dentures need to be replaced or readjusted because of changes that occur in tissues of your mouth. Do not try to repair dentures at home since this may damage the dentures which in turn may further hurt your mouth.


Dental Implant care
 

Dental implants are anchors that permanently hold replacement teeth. There are several different types of implants, but the most popular are titanium screws surgically placed into the jaw bones. If there isn't enough bone, a separate surgical procedure to increase bone thickness may be needed. Because bone heals slowly, treatment with implants can often take longer (4 months to 1 year or more) than bridges or dentures. If you are considering dental implants, it is important to select an experienced dentist with whom you can discuss your concerns frankly beforehand to be certain the procedure is right for you.


Professional Care
 

In addition to practicing good oral hygiene, it is important to have regular check-ups by the dentist whether you have natural teeth or dentures. It is also important to follow through with any special treatments that are necessary to ensure good oral health. For instance, if you have sensitive teeth caused by receding gums, your dentist may suggest using a special toothpaste for a few months. Teeth are meant to last a lifetime. By taking good care of your teeth and gums, you can protect them for years to come.

 

 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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