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Your smile and your overall health depends on simple dental care habits. Keeping the surface of your teeth clean and the area where the teeth meet the gums, can prevent gum disease and cavities.
Brush twice a day
Don’t rush. Take at least two minutes. Don’t forget to clean your tongue (which has bacteria).
Use the right equipment
Use fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush. Consider an electric or battery-operated brush. It can reduce plaque and gingivitis, more than manual brushing.
Practice a good technique
Hold the brush by pointing the bristles towards the area where the teeth meet the gums. Brush gently with short circular back and forth motions. Brushing too hard or with hard bristles can damage the gums and the surface of the tooth. Remember to brush the outside, inside and chewing surfaces, as well as your tongue.
Keep your toothbrush clean
Rinse the brush with water after use. Store it upright and let it air dry until you use it again. Keep it separate from other brushes to avoid cross- contamination. Do not cover them routinely as this can stimulate the growth of bacteria, mold and yeast.
You need to know when to replace it
Invest in a new toothbrush or a replacement head for the battery or electric toothbrush every three months, or sooner, if the bristles fray or become irregular.
It is important to reach the tight spaces between your teeth and below the gum line. Take approximately 18 inches of floss. Wrap most around the middle finger with one hand and the rest around the middle finger with the other. Hold it firmly between your fingers. Slide it through the space between the gum and the tooth. Slide it against the tooth and form a C. Rub it gently moving up and down.
A liquid solution that is usually used after brushing, to eliminate the bacteria and microorganisms that cause cavities, refresh the breath, reduce plaque, prevent or reduce gingivitis and reduce the rate at which tartar (the hardened plaque) forms. Use it for rinsing according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
To prevent gum disease and other oral health problems, schedule regular cleanings and dental exams. If you notice any of these signs, contact your dentist:
- Gums that look red, tender, or inflamed
- Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth or floss
- Gums that begin to separate from the teeth
- Loose permanent teeth
- Unusual sensitivity to cold and heat
- Persistent bad breath or an unusual taste in the mouth
- Pain when chewing
DENTAL EXAM FOR KIDS
Reference: Mayo Clinic
Regular dental exams help protect a child’s oral health. They give your child’s dentist the ability to detect problems early, when they’re easier to treat, and to give advice on caring for your child’s teeth.
WHEN TO PERFORM DENTAL EXAMINATION ON CHILDREN?
|Child’s Age||American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association recommend:||The Dentist will be able to guide you on:|
|6 months to 1 year||Perform the first dental exam after the first tooth comes out and before the baby turns one year old. The dentist will check your baby’s teeth and gums.||
|Children over one year of age, in school age and adolescents||Schedule regular visits, usually every six months. However, your dentist may recommend more or less frequent appointments based on your child’s risk factors for oral health problems.||
DIABETES AND MY ORAL HEALTH
If you have diabetes, you’re more at risk of developing oral health problems. The most common oral problems related to diabetes are:
Due to lower resistance and a longer healing process, it appears to be more frequent and severe in people with diabetes.
Because diabetes affects the immune system, you may be more likely to develop fungal infections, painful ulcers, and difficulty swallowing.
Infections and slower healing time
To help the healing process, keep your blood glucose levels under control before, during, and after surgery.
PREGNANCY AND ORAL HEALTH
Reference: March of Dimes – NACERSANO
Being pregnant can increase your risk of having oral health problems and these can affect your pregnancy. Some studies indicate that there is a link between gum disease and premature birth (before 37 weeks of pregnancy). Taking good care of your mouth, teeth and gums during pregnancy can help you have a healthy pregnancy and baby.
DENTAL PROBLEMS DURING PREGNANCY
Cavities (or destruction of enamel)
Small, damaged areas on the surface of the teeth. Pregnancy makes you more likely to have cavities. During pregnancy and after birth, you can pass on the bacteria that cause cavities to your baby. That can cause problems for your baby’s teeth later in life.
Inflammation (redness and swelling) of the gums. If untreated, it can cause more serious illness. Pregnancy hormones can increase your risk of gingivitis. Between 60% and 75% of pregnant women have gingivitis. Signs and symptoms include:
- Redness and swelling
- Gum tenderness
- Bleeding gums, even when you
- Bright gums
- brush your teeth softly
High levels of progesterone and estrogen during pregnancy can temporarily affect the tissues and bones that hold teeth in place.
(Periodontitis or gum disease). This causes a serious infection in the gums and problems with the bones that support the teeth. Teeth may loosen and may need to be removed. Periodontitis can lead to bacteremia (bacteria in the bloodstream).
Pregnancy tumors (also called pyogenic granuloma)
Benign (noncancerous) tumor. These are bumps that form on the gums, usually between the teeth. They look reddish and raw, and bleed easily. They can arise from having too much plaque. They usually disappear after childbirth. In rare cases a professional should remove them.
Erosion of teeth
If you have vomiting from morning discomfort, your teeth may be exposed to too much stomach acid. That acid can damage tooth enamel.
Are dental x-rays safe during pregnancy?
Yes. Dental x-rays are safe during pregnancy. They use very small amounts of radiation, and to protect you and your baby, the dentist covers you with a special apron and neck protector. If your dentist wants to have an x-ray, make sure they know you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant.