Gum disease is a very common condition. In fact, the Mayo Clinic estimates that over three million cases occur in the U.S. annually. Although it can often be prevented, it may sometimes affect those with good dental hygiene habits as well as persons who neglect proper brushing and flossing. While gum disease is a treatable condition, it can impact dental health significantly, and severe cases may require surgery. For this reason, focusing on prevention by regularly visiting a general dentist is vital.
Scheduling frequent appointments with the dentist can help prevent dental diseases. Consistent cleanings and checkups help maintain good oral health.
Routine dental appointments
Try to visit the general dentist twice a year or approximately every six months. This is important for removing the buildup of plaque from the teeth and checking for potential problems. The vast majority of dental health issues are easier to address when diagnosed in the early phases as opposed to the more advanced stages. The dentist may determine that an X-ray is needed to look for possible concerns underneath the surface of the gums. All of these steps help keep teeth and gums healthy.
Many people schedule appointments as soon as possible when experiencing severe dental pain. Even mild or moderate tooth or gum discomfort that lasts more than a day or two warrants a dental visit since it is likely only a matter of time before the throbbing progresses to the point of needing immediate relief. The sooner the problem is diagnosed, the sooner it can be treated.
Regular dental hygiene
Patients need to do their part between routine dental visits to prevent gum disease and keep cavities from developing. Consistent oral hygiene habits enhance the preventive maintenance provided by appointments with the general dentist.
Brushing teeth is a key part of dental hygiene, and persons of all ages should aim to brush at least twice a day or after each meal if possible. Those with braces or other dental appliances may need to brush more often. Using a proper brushing technique is essential to get all of the teeth and gums clean. The American Dental Association suggests using a soft-bristled toothbrush and replacing it approximately every three months. The ADA also recommends using short, side-to-side strokes when brushing, as well as turning the toothbrush at multiple angles to ensure all the cracks and crevices in the mouth are clean.
Even with a perfect brushing technique, there are some places in the mouth where the toothbrush may not be able to reach. For example, the spaces between the teeth are typically too narrow for a toothbrush to clean effectively. This is where flossing comes in, and it is important to use this technique daily to remove food particles from between the teeth.
Maintaining good oral health and brushing and flossing the teeth is key to preventing gum disease and other dental problems. Regular general dentistry visits provide expert cleanings to remove the buildup of plaque that brushing may not prevent. They also give the dentist an opportunity to spot potential issues that may need treatment.
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