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All Posts in Category: Health Basics

causes of plaque buildup and how to prevent it

What causes plaque? And how to prevent and treat it.

When your goal is to maintain a beautiful, healthy smile, you know that plaque is your enemy. Plaque is a film of bacteria that’s colorless, sticky and can build up on your teeth when you don’t brush regularly. This bacteria formation can make teeth feel almost fuzzy and if not removed properly, can lead to bigger problems when it develops into tartar and possible gum disease.

Causes and Complications of plaque

Plaque forms on the teeth when they’re exposed to carbohydrate-filled foods including soft drinks, candy, and milk. These foods full of starch and sugar create problems when their residue remains on the teeth as the bacteria living in the mouth thrive on them, producing damaging acids. Without proper brushing to remove these bacteria, the acids can destroy tooth enamel and cause decay. When plaque develops under the gum line on the tooth roots, this can breakdown the bone that supports teeth and lead to eventual tooth loss if left untreated.

Preventing plaque build up

Everyone develops plaque due to the bacteria that constantly grow in the mouth and problems develop when plaque builds up as this can irritate and inflame the gums. Preventing the buildup of plaque is easy when you practice good oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste goes a long way toward removing bacteria that leads to plaque. It’s important to brush along the gum line to prevent the development of plaque in that area. Additional ways to prevent plaque include:

  • Flossing daily between teeth to remove bacteria and food particles
  • Visit the dentist at least every six months for a professional cleaning and exam
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet with snacks such as fruit, vegetables or cheese instead of sugary treats. Chewing on vegetables like celery can help neutralize plaque-causing acids and remove food particles.
  • Use an antibacterial mouth rinse to reduce oral bacteria

Removing plaque

You can remove plaque buildup with proper oral hygiene practices every day. If plaque isn’t properly removed and develops into tartar, you can experience bigger problems than a sticky film on your teeth. Tartar is easier to see than plaque and that’s not a good thing as the brown or yellow deposit can lead to decay, gum disease, and tooth loss. The only way to remove plaque that’s developed into tartar is with a professional dental cleaning. The longer tartar remains on the teeth, the more problems it creates.

If your teeth aren’t looking as clean, bright and healthy as they should, contact Creative Dental to set up an appointment for an exam, cleaning and teeth whitening.

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Toothbrush Tips

Toothbrush Tips for Great Oral Health

If you’re brushing twice daily and flossing at least once a day, you’re doing a great job of practicing proper oral health care. However, these routine practices might not be as effective as you think if you’re using a toothbrush loaded with bacteria. Brushing your teeth is supposed to remove bacteria from your mouth but you have to keep your toothbrush clean to prevent those bacteria from colonizing on the bristles and undermining your cleaning efforts. Keeping your toothbrush clean with a few simple tips means that your brushing efforts provide maximum benefits, and your oral care stays on target.

Avoid the toilet

You would certainly throw out your toothbrush if it fell in the toilet, but did you know that just storing it near the toilet is a bad idea? With every flush, small water droplets from the bowl get into the air and can travel up to six feet. When your toothbrush is in that range, those droplets can reach it and expose it to the toilet water.

Air dry

It’s tempting to cover your toothbrush because you believe you’re protecting it from airborne bacteria, but covers aren’t as helpful as you may think. The plastic covers that come on some toothbrushes work like small bacteria incubators because bacteria thrive in moist, warm spots. Instead of covering your toothbrush, rinse it thoroughly with hot water and let it air dry.

Replace appropriately

Even the best toothbrushes wear out from daily use and when the bristles become frayed and worn, usually after 2-3 months, it’s time to replace your toothbrush or toothbrush head. Along with worn bristles, toothbrushes also suffer a buildup of bacteria and residue over time, so it’s best to replace them when they’re looking past their prime. It’s also important to replace your toothbrush or toothbrush head after you’ve been sick to avoid reinfection from the bacteria on the bristles.

Individual use only

Never share your toothbrush with anyone else, no matter how well you know and like them. Sharing a toothbrush transfers illnesses and dental diseases. Using the same toothbrush can transfer the bacteria responsible for tooth decay and gum disease, and it’s not worth taking the risk. Everyone needs and deserves his or her own toothbrush to maintain excellent oral health.

No matter what type of toothbrush you use, whether it’s manual, electric or an ultrasonic cleaner, keeping it clean and sanitary is essential for such an important dental tool. Avoid enamel and gum damage by using a brush with soft bristles and keep up with regular check-ups and dental cleanings to catch any problems early. Contact Creative Dental today to schedule your exam or to inquire about the numerous cosmetic dentistry services we offer. We’re dedicated to protecting the health and beauty of your smile.

 

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Risk factors associated with tooth loss

Risk Factors Associated with Tooth Loss

Sometimes accidents happen that result in tooth loss, but other times tooth loss is avoidable and within the patient’s control. A recent study in the Journal of Periodontology revealed that there are major risk factors associated with tooth loss as a result of periodontal disease. While patients can’t control certain risk factors such as genetics, there are other elements patients can address to prevent tooth loss.

Risk factors associated with tooth loss

According to the study performed by researchers for the Journal of Periodontology, the risk factors for tooth loss from periodontal disease are:

  • Lack of professional dental care
  • Lack of brushing teeth
  • Smoking or other tobacco use
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Male gender
  • Older than 35

An additional finding was that a patient’s front teeth have a higher risk of loss to gum disease than teeth located in the back of the mouth. Although risk factors such as gender and age can’t be changed, factors such as not brushing and continued tobacco use are completely under a patient’s control.

Origin of the study

The list of risk factors originates from a dentist in Kuwait and his colleagues who work for the Ministry of Health. Although the study is from Kuwait, the cases of tooth loss due to gum disease have strong similarities to studies globally and therefore have worldwide application. The study involved 1,775 adults who had undergone tooth extraction at a random selection of 21 dental practice clinics in Kuwait. The total of teeth removed equaled 3,694 because 14 of the selected patients had all of their teeth removed.

Breaking down the statistics

The leading reason for tooth loss in the world is gum disease and when you factor in the other statistics of the study, it becomes even more important to practice good oral hygiene. In the study, 40% of the patients had never received professional dental care, 13% had only received it 6 months prior to tooth extraction, 60% said they never or rarely brushed their teeth and only 16% said they brushed their teeth twice a day. Along with poor oral hygiene, several of the study participants had other health issues including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and rheumatoid arthritis. While there’s still no conclusive evidence that these health issues have a direct connection with tooth loss, it’s a common trait that requires further research.

Although there are various options for tooth replacement today, the best plan is to preserve your natural teeth for a lifetime if possible. Creative Dental can help you protect and improve your smile with regular dental exams, cleanings and innovative cosmetic dentistry services.

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