At Amazing Smiles we believe in patient education.  What do you need to know about preventive Dental Care?  Your dental health can affect your overall general health.  It is very important to maintain regular dental check-ups and proper home care.  Here are some tips to promote good dental health for everyone, from the very young to teens and adults.

Babies and Toddlers
For a baby, every time they are fed, you can clean their gums with a wash cloth or clean piece of gauze.  There are very small ADA approved toothbrushes sold for baby’s first teeth. Use them regularly and be gentle.  For three to five year olds, use low fluoride toothpaste.   After three years, take the child to the dentist.  Set a schedule for checkups and keep an eye on their oral health at home.  After 2 years old they can put fluoride toothpaste, about the size of a kernel of corn, on their toothbrush twice a day.  Watch them closely while they brush, so they don’t swallow the toothpaste.

School-age Kids, Preteens and Teens
There are toothbrushes for each age group and a limited amount of toothpaste until age 5 is recommended.  Introduce them to flossing and always be there to help.  Look for ADA-approved flossing aids so they are safe and effective.  Children ages 6 -10 may still need supervision to make sure they are being thorough.  These habits are only effective when done with proper form, frequency and regular visits to the dentist.  You can also talk to your dentist about sealants.  Dental sealants protect the biting surfaces of molars and help prevent cavities.  Make your children aware of nutritious food and drinks and their role in preventing tooth decay.

Adults
Because of the link that’s been established between periodontal disease and other systems and illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, Amazing Smiles believes that both preventative care and patient education are extremely important.  That is why routine dental check-ups and cleanings are recommended.  It is at these appointments that problems are detected in their early stages and patients are given the tools and strategies to obtain and maintain optimum oral health.

Plaque is a soft, sticky film of bacteria that is always forming on our teeth whether we eat or not.  It is what causes gingivitis, periodontal disease, and decay.  It can easily be removed with brushing and flossing; electric toothbrushes are best.  When plaque mixes with minerals in our saliva over a period of time, it forms calculus or tarter.  Tarter is hard and cannot be removed with a toothbrush and floss.  Only your dentist or dental hygienist can remove it.
Most people brush their teeth but neglect dental flossing.  Flossing is just as important as brushing.  There is a part of your tooth below the gum line that can only be reached with floss and every time you skip flossing, harmful bacteria are left there.  Over a period of time this bacteria can overwhelm the tissues causing gingivitis which left untreated, can lead to periodontal disease.

Gingivitis is swollen, bleeding gums and can generally be treated fairly easily.  With a dental cleaning and daily brushing and flossing, gingivitis is completely reversible.  Gingivitis, however, if left untreated can lead to periodontal disease.  Periodontal disease is not reversible and causes destruction of the bone and surrounding tissues and can ultimately lead to tooth loss.  Periodontal disease can generally be treated with Scaling and Root Planning and antibiotic therapy (Arestin).

Following treatment, you must maintain the health of your gums by meticulous home care and periodontal maintenance cleanings by your dental professional every 3 months.  For those cases where the disease process is advanced, a periodondist (a dentist who specializes in the treatment of this disease) may be recommended.

Always remember that preventing dental problems and maintaining your oral heath saves you both money and time.  Good overall health begins in the oral cavity so remember to eat a healthy diet, exercise, brush, floss, and visit your dentist regularly.

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