Habits for a Healthy Mouth

Here at Friendly Dentistry, we are firm believers in the patient’s ability to prevent gum disease.  Perhaps the most effective way of doing so is to maintain a healthy mouth.  As someone who cares about his or her oral health, we encourage you to work closely with us to ultimately prevent gum disease, along with any other oral health issues from developing.  Without even looking inside your mouth, we can automatically tell you that consistent flossing and brushing, as well as routine checkups are the most beneficial habits for a healthy mouth.  Here are a few common dental problems to watch out for, and some tips for maintaining a healthy mouth between checkups.

Gum Disease

Periodontal (Gum) disease ranges from mild gum inflammation to major damage to the soft tissue and bone that hold the teeth in place. Causes of gum disease begin with not brushing and flossing, which then causes plaque and tartar to build up on teeth. Tartar can only be removed by a professional cleaning from a dentist or dental hygienist. Risk factors include: smoking, hormonal changes in girls/women, diabetes, stress, certain medications, illnesses and genetic susceptibility.

Bad Breath

Persistent bad breath, or halitosis as we refer to it in the North Carolina dental industry, is a much bigger dental health issue than most people think.  Keep in mind that we are not talking about bad breath from eating some delicious garlic bread; halitosis is a chronic condition.  Halitosis can indicate that you are headed towards some serious oral health issues, including gum disease, yeast infection, dry mouth, and other oral problems.

Dry Mouth

Dry Mouth is something that many people do not think of as a serious problem, but in fact, it can be quite detrimental to maintaining a healthy mouth.  Dry mouth can increase your risk of gingivitis, tooth decay and certain mouth infections.  It is a problem that can be caused by certain medications, diseases and even nerve damage.  To fight dry mouth, Friendly Dentistry recommends drinking water regularly, eating foods that stimulate the production of saliva, and seeing a physician if need be.

Oral Cancer

Oral Cancer includes cancers of the mouth and the pharynx, part of the throat. Risk factors are tobacco products, excessive alcohol use, and exposure to sunlight for lips. Oral cancer most often occurs in people over the age of 40.

Signs and symptoms of oral cancer include: a sore lump or thick patch in your mouth, lip or throat; a white or red patch in your mouth, a feeling that something is caught in your throat, difficulty chewing or swallowing, difficulty moving your jaw or tongue, numbness in your tongue or other areas in your mouth, and pain in one ear without hearing loss. Oral cancer exams are painless and quick and can be done at your regular dental checkup.

Toothbrush Recommendations

The specific type of toothbrush you use is a matter of personal preference, but your decision can have an effect on your oral health.  For example, using an electric toothbrush can be invaluable for those that lack the manual dexterity to reach every tooth using a traditional toothbrush.