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Oral health is a lot more important than many people realize. Having healthy oral hygiene practices won’t just eliminate bad breath and potential for cavities, it will also improve your overall health. Your mouth is covered in bacteria and although most of it is harmless, it can get out of control if you don’t maintain a great oral hygiene routine. Although your body’s natural defense system helps to fight off the most dangerous bacteria, you still need to do your part so that it doesn’t get overwhelmed. Failure to do so could lead to gum infections, tooth decay, and periodontal disease.

But the problems don’t stop there. Infections can spread throughout the whole body if they’re left untreated. What’s more, certain diseases like diabetes will decrease your body’s ability to fight off an infection and could result in more serious side effects for the rest of your body. Keep reading to learn more about maintaining your oral health so that you’ll never have to deal with these issues.

Brush twice a day

Brushing twice a day may sound like a simple thing, but according to the American Dental Association, only 49 percent of men and 56.8 percent of women brush their teeth twice daily. These are somewhat shocking numbers considering we’re taught from a very young age exactly how to brush and when to brush. However, as we get older and take up new responsibilities, we tend to let old ones slide. But it isn’t just the frequency of brushing that matters, although that’s a good place to start. Often times, when people realize that they aren’t brushing enough, they brush vigorously or for long periods of time. Although these people may think they’re helping, they’re likely just breaking down enamel that protects their teeth. Others will brush too quickly and not cover every part of the teeth. This can lead to bacteria growing in that area.

Another reason people don’t brush frequently or well enough is they don’t understand the consequences of poor oral hygiene. Although cavities are certainly one issue, they are no the only. And simply being aware of oral health conditions linked to poor oral hygiene will be helpful for helping you maintain a great oral hygiene routine.

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is a common form of gum disease. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, one out of every two American adults over the age of 30 has periodontal disease. Periodontal disease refers to any disease that affects the supporting structures of your teeth. Although not all of these conditions are serious, gingivitis can be a sign that you haven’t maintained great oral hygiene practices. As we age, this mild condition is more likely to turn into something more serious like periodontitis.

Cavities

Cavities are usually what comes to mind when we think of oral health conditions. Like gingivitis, cavities can be prevented by brushing regularly and thoroughly. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, over 90 percent of adults have cavities and around a fourth of Americans have untreated tooth decay. There isn’t just one type of cavity, so it’s important to understand each type and what causes it in order to prevent them.

Root cavities

Root cavities are most likely to occur in adults who are experiencing gum recession. Gum recession is a condition where your gums move towards your jaw, exposing part of the tooth’s root. The main concern when this happens is that the root doesn’t have enamel, so it doesn’t have the same protection against cavities as the crown of your tooth does. If decay leads to the tooth’s pulp, you may need a root canal. To prevent root cavities, you should be aware of gum recession or visit a dentist frequently enough that your dentist will notice it before it becomes serious. Your dentist may instruct you on how to reverse the effects of gum recession so that your teeth are more protected.

Pit and fissure cavities

These types of cavities are some of the most common because they are found on the chewing surface of the teeth. Small pit and fissure cavities can be repaired with a thorough cleaning, but large ones require fillings or crowns. To prevent this type of cavity you need to make sure you’re cleaning each tooth everytime you brush, front and back, and inside each crevice. If you’re concerned that you aren’t reaching every part of your teeth when you brush, consider getting a new toothbrush or using a mini brush after your normal brushing routine.

Smooth-surface cavities

This type of cavity is one of the slowest growing and least common. They occur, like the name suggests, on the flat exterior surface of your teeth. People usually get these cavities because they have an irregular brushing routine or simply don’t brush thoroughly enough to get all the plaque off their teeth.

Although preventing cavities ultimately comes down to brushing regularly and with the proper technique, it’s helpful to know what types of cavities there are. For example, if you’re unaware that you’re experiencing gum recession, you may be less inclined to brush that area of your tooth more thoroughly because you don’t know how susceptible it is to cavities and infection.

Timing matters

Timing is also an important part of brushing your teeth. When we consume foods or drinks high in carbohydrates and sugars, brushing immediately after will help to break these down before they start attacking our tooth enamel. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, brushing immediately after eating acidic foods like citrus fruits can have the opposite effect. Since acidic foods weaken your tooth enamel, brushing immediately may damage your teeth.   

Fluoride is important

Not all kinds of toothpaste are created equal and many brands try to entice you by putting the word “whitening” in large letters on the front of the box. Although that sounds great, it doesn’t hold much weight when it comes to your actual oral health. Fluoride makes teeth more resistant to acid, plaque, bacteria, and sugar, thus preventing tooth decay.

Contact an orthodontist

Have you ever wondered what role braces play in your oral health? Although many of us decide to get braces to improve our smiles, repairing misaligned teeth has more of an impact on your oral health than you may think. With straight teeth, you’ll be able to brush your teeth more thoroughly and reach areas that you couldn’t otherwise. Additionally, you’ll avoid putting too much pressure on certain teeth as you bite which can lead to tooth decay, gum recession, and even bone loss in your jawbone. Contact Camilo Riano Orthodontics today to learn more.