10 Most Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Health
How often should I visit the dentist?
To keep your teeth and gums healthy, it is important to schedule regular checkups and dental cleanings. The American Dental Association (ADA) advises adult patients to visit the dentist at least once every six months. Regular dental cleanings remove stains and plaque buildup, preventing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. If you experience a sudden onset of pain in your teeth or gums, immediately book an appointment with your local dentist. He or she will evaluate the problem and recommend the appropriate oral treatments for your case.
How can I prevent cavities?
Cavities are permanent small holes that develop on the hard surface of your teeth. Tooth decay is associated with a variety of factors, including your dietary choices and dental hygiene routine. Brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes and flossing once a day are the most effective ways to remove plaque buildup from between the teeth and below the gumline. Regular teeth cleanings and checkups at your local dentist also support proper oral and dental hygiene, especially when combined with fluoride treatment. To minimize acid-producing bacteria that attack your tooth enamel, drink fluoridated tap water and maintain a well-balanced diet that is low in sugary or starchy foods and acidic beverages.
Why does the dentist take X-rays?
X-Rays allow your dentist to look for oral health issues that may be difficult to identify with a visual examination alone. Your dentist may recommend a full-set of X-rays to establish a baseline for your oral health, identify potential problems such as cavities, tooth decay, and impacted teeth, or prepare for a larger dental treatment. Today, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that patients receive dental X-rays at 6 to 18 month intervals, depending on their risk level for decay.
Why is flossing important?
Flossing is essential to your smile’s health. Regular use of dental floss is important for plaque removal, maintaining healthy gums, and preventing periodontal disease. By removing food particles and bacteria that build up between teeth, flossing helps keep your smile healthy and beautiful for life.
How can I get a whiter smile?
There are a variety of ways to make your teeth whiter, whether it be a professional dental treatment or over the counter (OTC) treatment. To get the best results, talk with your dentist about the option that is right for you. He or she may recommend in-office teeth whitening or custom take-home trays to brighten your teeth by several shades. If that is not an option for you, while OTC whitening products are not as effective as professional treatments provided by your dental office, whitening strips, toothpastes, and rinses can remove surface stains and make your teeth appear whiter.
What can I do to treat my sensitive teeth?
Tooth sensitivity is a common problem that affects at least 40 million adults in the United States. To prevent tooth sensitivity, brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and nonabrasive toothpaste. Using a fluoridated mouthwash, flossing daily, and avoiding highly acidic foods may also help in minimizing sensitivity. If you are currently bothered by sensitive teeth, visit your dentist. He or she can identify the cause of your tooth pain and recommend specific treatments to provide relief.
Should I be using mouthwash?
While mouthwash is not a substitute for flossing or brushing, it can be a great addition to your oral health routine. Using a mouthwash that contains fluoride can help prevent tooth decay by killing bacteria that live on the surfaces of your teeth.
What are cavity-fighting sealants?
Dental sealants are a protective coating applied to the chewing surfaces of your teeth. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), sealants are an effective way to prevent tooth decay. Sealants can protect teeth for up to 10 years, but should be re-examined during your regular dental checkups.
Why is fluoride important for your dental health?
Fluoride is a mineral that is naturally present in many foods and water. Fluoride plays an important role in fighting tooth decay by making teeth more resistant to acid-producing bacteria. Over time, plaque and bacteria can contribute to the erosion of teeth enamel. By drinking fluoridated tap water, using toothpaste with fluoride, or rinsing with fluoridated mouthwash, you can protect your teeth against cavities.
Should I see the dentist if I don’t have symptoms?
Even if you do not have any symptoms, it is still important to schedule regular dental checkups to identify minor issues before they develop into larger problems.
To gain a more comprehensive understanding of your dental health, book an appointment with one of our experienced dentists. He or she will be able to answer your questions, as well as recommend solutions for your specific condition. Our team will be happy to schedule a consultation for you at a convenient time, including evenings and weekends.