FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
Toothpaste that contains fluoride will carry the American Dental Association seal of approval, so look for this when buying toothpaste. For people who are at high risk for cavities, prescription-strength fluoride toothpaste may be appropriate.
For additional recommendations to address dry mouth or sensitivity, speak with a hygienist or dentist at Anderson Dental Group.
Periodontitis is a more serious condition that can develop if gingivitis is not treated. As plaque inflames the gums over time, periodontitis can occur, damaging the gums and bone that support the teeth. Unless treated, the affected teeth may become loose and even require removal by a dentist.
Cavities found during routine check-ups, before any symptoms appear, are often more easily restorable with more conservative interventions.
- Use toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride can stop and even reverse tooth decay, making it a powerful weapon in the fight against cavities.
- Brush your teeth at least twice per day—once in the morning and once before bed. If you can, brush your teeth after meals as well.
- Floss between your teeth daily to remove food particles and prevent plaque buildup.
- Avoid frequent snacking, and limit the amount of sweet, sticky foods you eat. Snacking can create a steady supply of decay-promoting acid in your mouth, and sugary foods and carbonated beverages can damage enamel. If you do snack, rinse your mouth with an unsweetened beverage afterward to help remove food particles and bacteria from your mouth.
During your checkup, expect a review of your dental and medical history, an examination of your mouth that includes oral cancer screening, a professional cleaning, possibly a fluoride treatment, and a general assessment of your home hygiene practices.
Your dentist is trained to detect and treat many problems before you’re even aware of them. The goal is to prevent disease, decay, and tooth loss and maintain good overall oral health. Your dentist can help you, but only if you make regular appointments. Your dentist and hygienist will work with you to determine how often you should visit, but most for most people, twice a year is sufficient.
Bleeding gums are the first sign that there may be a problem with the gums. Puffy, tender, red gums are also a sign of infection. Bleeding gums, however, are not always present in even severe cases of gum disease. Regular visits to your dentist are the best way of catching gum disease in its early stages, before extensive damage results. Gum disease will not go away by itself or with improved home care; the only way of removing plaque deep under the gums is with professional cleanings.
Once you’ve had a gum problem, you’ll always be susceptible to recurring problems, so be sure to see your dentist on a regular basis—every two to three months, unless he or she recommends otherwise.