Poor oral hygiene is linked to a range of disorders elsewhere in the body, including heart disease, diabetes and respiratory disease. It may even play a role in pre-term, low birth-weight babies.
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If you’re prone to cavities, fluoride treatments, done about every six months, are a good idea. They provide better protection than fluoride toothpaste or mouth rinses because they’re far more concentrated.
Root surfaces of adult teeth are particularly susceptible to cavities because they lose mineral faster than enamel does, and higher concentrations of fluoride, as in the typical treatments, may be needed for protection. Fluoride makes teeth more resistant to the acids produced by bacteria in the mouth.
When the soft tissues of the mouth are constantly dry, they can become inflamed, painful, and more susceptible to infection. Tooth decay can develop without the cleaning and buffering effects of an adequate salivary flow. Chronic dry mouth can also create problems for people who wear dentures. A light film of saliva on the oral tissues usually helps to keep dentures in place.
One can relieve dry mouth by drinking more water, or by using sugarless lozenges or gum to stimulate the flow of saliva. Dental professionals and physicians can also recommend and artificial saliva if necessary.
Four basic signs will alert you to periodontal disease in children:
Bleeding – Bleeding gums during tooth brushing, flossing or any other time
Puffiness – Swollen and bright red gums
Recession – Gums that have receded away from the teeth, sometimes exposing the roots
Bad Breath – Constant bad breath that does not clear up with brushing and flossing