The best way to keep your teeth and gums healthy between checkups is with diligent oral hygiene. This includes brushing at least twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and flossing every day. Also make sure to limit your consumption of sugary foods and drinks, consume alcohol only in moderation and refrain from using all types of tobacco products.
Using a toothpaste containing fluoride helps protect your teeth from decay. If you are at a higher risk for tooth decay due to a medical condition such as dry mouth, extra fluoride may be required. In this case your dentist or dental hygienist may give you a fluoride treatment during a regular office visit. You may also be advised to use a rinse or other product containing fluoride at home.
Gum disease is another condition that deserves special attention. It starts when plaque builds up along or under the gum line. Plaque here can lead to infections that hurt the gum and bone that hold teeth in place. Gum disease may cause your gums to become tender and bleed. This problem, called gingivitis, can be remedied simply by brushing and flossing every day.
A more severe form of gum disease, called periodontitis, needs to be treated by a dentist. If not dealt with, this serious condition may destroy the bones, gums and other tissues that support your teeth. Over time, this may lead to the need for tooth extractions or dentures.
Dry mouth is another condition more common as people age. A dry mouth simply means a reduction of saliva in the mouth. When your mouth becomes too dry it becomes increasingly difficult to eat, taste or swallow. Even speaking can be a problem. Dry mouth can speed up the process of tooth decay and other oral infections. Many common medicines can cause this problem.
There are several things to try to combat a dry mouth. Sipping water or sugarless drinks can be a big help. Avoiding alcohol and caffeine is another way to prevent the mouth from becoming too dry. Sugarless hard candy or sugarless gum is another option to consider. Your dentist or doctor might suggest using artificial saliva to keep your mouth wet.
In the Glenview area, Dr. Scott Malik and his staff will help ensure your teeth and gums are as healthy as possible. The office accepts all major insurances, including Blue Cross, Humana Aetna and many others. You can call the office at (847) 724-1771 to make an appointment or ask how to keep your teeth looking their best between dental visits.