What is basic dental care?
Basic dental care involves brushing and flossing your teeth regularly, seeing your and/or dental hygienist for regular checkups and cleanings, and eating a mouth healthy diet, which means foods high in whole grains, vegetables and fruits, and dairy products.
Why is basic dental care important?
Practicing basic dental care:
- Prevents tooth decay.
- Prevents gum (periodontal) disease, which can damage gum tissue and the bones that support teeth, and in the long term can lead to the loss of teeth.
- Shortens time with the dentist and dental hygienist, and makes the trip more pleasant.
- Saves money. By preventing tooth decay and gum disease, you can reduce the need for fillings and other costly procedures.
- Helps prevent bad breath. Brushing and flossing rid your mouth of the bacteria that cause bad breath.
- Helps keep teeth white by preventing staining from food, drinks, and tobacco.
- Improves overall health.
- Makes it possible for your teeth to last a lifetime.
Are there ways to avoid dental problems?
Keeping your teeth and gums healthy requires good nutrition and regular brushing and flossing.
- Brush your teeth twice a day—in the morning and before bed—and floss once a day. This removes plaque, which can lead to damaged teeth, gums, and surrounding bone.
- Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride, which helps prevent tooth decay and cavities. Ask your dentist if you need a mouthwash that contains fluoride or one with ingredients that fight plaque. Look for toothpastes that have been approved by the American Dental Association.
- Avoid foods that contain a lot of sugar. Sugar helps plaque grow.
- Avoid using tobacco products, which can cause gum disease and oral cancer. Exposure to tobacco smoke (secondhand smoke) also may cause gum disease as well as other health problems.
- Practice tongue cleaning. You can use a tongue cleaner or a soft-bristle toothbrush, stroking in a back-to-front direction. Tongue cleaning is particularly important for people who smoke or whose tongues are coated or deeply grooved.
- Schedule regular trips to the dentist based on how often you need exams and cleaning.