Taking Care of Your Teeth

2134 Words Aug 1st, 2011 9 Pages
Taking Care of Your Teeth
Teeth for a Lifetime
Thanks to better at-home care and in-office dental treatments, more people are keeping their teeth throughout their lives. Some diseases and conditions can make dental disease and tooth loss more likely. But most of us have a good deal of control over whether we keep our teeth into old age.
The most important thing you can do is to brush and floss your teeth each day.
Most mouth woes are caused by plaque. Plaque is a sticky layer of bacteria, bits of food and other organic matter that forms on your teeth. The bacteria in plaque make acids that cause cavities. Plaque also leads to periodontal (gum) disease. This can become a serious infection. It can damage bone and destroy the tissues around
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* Electric is fine, but not always necessary — Electric or power-assisted toothbrushes are a fine alternative to manual brushes. They are especially useful for people who don't always use proper brushing techniques. They also are a good choice for people with physical limitations that make brushing difficult. Use a powered toothbrush for at least two minutes, and don't press too hard.
Toothpastes don't just clean teeth anymore. They have special ingredients for preventing decay, plaque control, tartar control, whitening, gum care or helping sensitive teeth.
Most toothpastes contain fluoride, which has been proven to prevent cavities. Fluoride also can stop small cavities from getting worse. It can even reverse early tooth decay.
Tartar-control toothpastes are useful for people who tend to build up tartar quickly. Someone who gets tooth stains may want a whitening toothpaste. Whitening toothpastes will remove only surface stains, such as those caused by smoking, tea or coffee. To whiten teeth that are stained at a deeper level, talk with your dentist.
Your needs will likely change as you age, so don't be surprised if your hygienist recommends a type of toothpaste you haven't used before. Look for the ADA seal of approval on any toothpaste. The seal assures that the toothpaste has met the standards set by the American Dental Association. Then, choose the toothpaste that tastes and feels best. Gel or paste, wintergreen or
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