Your smile can stay healthy for a lifetime with the proper care over the years. Unfortunately, there are 3 common oral health problems that can damage your smile. Thankfully, they are avoidable with a proactive approach at home and routine appointments with your dentist. Here’s how you can safeguard your oral health to keep the most prevalent dental issues at bay.
1. Tooth Decay
At least 92% of adults have had at least one cavity in a permanent tooth. Tooth decay is caused by a breakdown of enamel from acid produced by bacteria. When the sugars and starches in the foods and drinks you consume combine with your saliva, it creates an acidic plaque that can erode your enamel.
You can keep your enamel strong by committing to your oral hygiene. The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth at least twice a day for 2 minutes each session. It’s best to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to clean all surfaces of your teeth. Don’t forget to floss nightly and visit your dentist at least twice a year. Semi-annual dental appointments allow your dentist to detect weakened enamel sooner to prevent the issue from worsening.
2. Gum Disease
Next to tooth decay, gum disease is equally devastating to your smile. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates at least 50% of adults have the infection, making it the leading cause of tooth loss. It’s caused by bacteria found in tartar buildup near the gum line from poor oral hygiene.
You can significantly lower your risk of gum disease by flossing between each tooth at least once a day. Your dentist will also monitor your gum health to look for any signs of infection during your routine examinations, like red, swollen, or bleeding gums.
3. Oral Cancer
Although you may not believe you’re at risk, at least 45,000 new oral cancer cases are diagnosed each year. With a 61% 5-year survival rate, early detection is crucial to lowering the risk of mortality.
Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption increase the likeliness of oral cancer, so it’s best to kick the habits. Besides a cleaning and checkup, your dentist will also perform an oral cancer screening during your preventive visits. It’s believed 80% of new oral cancer cases can be detected early through routine dental care.
Preserve Your Smile
You can ensure your teeth and gums thrive for a lifetime by making a few simple changes to your oral hygiene routine and scheduling a cleaning and checkup with your dentist at least twice a year. If you have any concerns about your oral health in between your routine appointments, don’t hesitate to contact your dentist.
About Dr. Martin T. Barco III
Dr. Barco earned his dental degree at the University of North Carolina and completed a General Practice Residency at Indiana University. He focuses on prevention to help his patients reach and maintain optimal oral health. If it’s time for your next cleaning and checkup, contact our office today to schedule an appointment.