Many adults skip brushing their teeth or fail to floss regularly. As a result, many people experience tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss. However, skipping oral hygiene habits doesn’t have to be a permanent problem. Your dentist can help you get back on track with an effective oral hygiene routine.
How Does Your Dentist Keep Track of Your Oral Hygiene?
Dentists don’t just rely on your word when it comes to brushing and flossing. They also keep track of your oral hygiene. This tracking takes place during your regular appointments with the dentist. Here is how your dentist keeps track of your oral health.
One of the most important ways that dentists keep track of your oral health is by looking at your teeth. (Of course!) However, they don’t just look at your teeth. They look for signs of cavities, gum disease, and other common oral health problems. If they see a problem, they may take X-rays to get a better look. These images help to get a closer look at what is going on inside your mouth. With this detailed information, your dentist can better treat your problems.
In addition to examining your teeth during your checkups, your dentist may also ask a question or two about your oral habits. They may ask about how often you brush your teeth or floss. They may also ask how often you see a dentist. These questions may seem a bit odd at the time, but they can help your doctor to better care for your oral health. By knowing more about your habits and routines, your dentist can develop the best treatment plan for you. Additionally, it can reveal any problem areas that may need to be addressed so that you can get a great smile.
Consequences of Not Brushing Your Teeth
Dental cavities are the most common type of tooth damage, accounting for nearly 90% of American adults. Cavities form when plaque and bacteria collect on the teeth and start breaking down the enamel that protects our teeth from decay. Dentists usually recommend brushing at least twice a day to avoid tooth decay or the reoccurrence of cavities.
Plaque contains millions of harmful bacteria that cause cavities. If you don’t brush regularly, the bacteria will build up and cause cavities. Although you may brush before bed, if you don’t brush during the day, it’s difficult to completely remove the bacteria and plaque that has built up on your teeth.
In addition to not brushing enough, eating sugary foods and not rinsing your mouth after consuming sugary foods can also cause cavities. Sugar combines with the naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth to create an acid that breaks down the tooth enamel and causes cavities.
Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is an infection of your gums that lead to gum loss, tooth shifting, and jawbone damage. It’s caused by plaque buildup that is not removed through brushing or flossing. This eventually turns into tartar, which can only be removed by a dentist during a cleaning appointment. Plaque that isn’t removed from your gum line causes gingivitis—the earliest stage of gum disease. If left untreated, this can lead to periodontitis, which is an advanced gum disease that causes irreversible damage to your teeth and gums. Patients with gum disease typically experience bleeding gums when brushing or flossing and bad breath that won’t go away with regular brushing.
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