Dental hygiene practices are intended to keep the teeth, gums and mouth clean and lower the chances of developing dental disease. At the core of dental hygiene is an at-home regimen of brushing and flossing.
Why Are At-Home Dental Hygiene Habits Important?
Dental hygiene habits like brushing and flossing are important for removing leftover food particles and other debris from your mouth. Naturally-occurring bacteria in your mouth can feed on these particles and produce a clear, sticky film called plaque. If plaque is not removed, it can harden above or below your gumline into tartar, which is full of bacteria and cannot be removed from at-home brushing or flossing. The acid in plaque eats away at your tooth enamel, creating tiny little openings or holes (i.e., cavities). Plaque can also cause irritation and inflammation of the gums, known as gum disease.
Dental problems like cavities and gum disease can be painful and uncomfortable. If they get bad enough, they can interfere with your chewing and biting function. Other dental health problems, like bad breath and noticeable tooth decay, can be embarrassing.
If dental problems get bad enough, they can eventually require a lot of dental appointments to treat. This may cost you valuable time and money.
Is it easier to understand why dentists emphasize the importance of at-home oral hygiene habits? Taking a few minutes every day to brush and floss your teeth can prevent you from pain, costly dental care and time away from your work, family and friends.
Why See a Professional Dental Hygienist?
While your day-to-day hygiene habits are vital, they should be supplemented with regular visits to a dentist for cleanings and exams. Professional cleanings offer the opportunity to remove bacteria and plaque in areas of your mouth like between your teeth and under the gumline that your toothbrush and floss can’t reach or often miss. Regular exams allow Dr. Porter the chance to detect any emerging problems like cavities or gum disease in their earliest stages, when they are more treatable with less invasive means.
According to the American Dental Association, the average person should see a dentist every six months for preventative visits; however, depending on your current oral health and overall health, you may be advised to see Dr. Porter more regularly.
A Healthy Mouth Is Good for Your Oral Health
Although taking care of your teeth and gums is an important goal in and of itself, there are larger implication, too. An increasing body of research points to a link between oral health and overall health. Researchers are discovering that problems like gum disease have been linked to serious health problems like heart attack, stroke and diabetes. Thus, you can understand that keeping your mouth clean and healthy is important not only to your smile but to your overall health and wellbeing.
To learn more about at-home dental hygiene habits or to schedule your next exam/cleaning with Dr. Porter, please contact our practice. You can give us a call at 501-624-2778 or send us an email today!