Practicing a good oral hygiene routine that includes daily flossing and brushing your teeth twice a day can help prevent common oral health problems.
Did you know that, between dental treatments and preventive care visits, Americans spent a whopping $117.5 billion on dental care in 2015? Brushing twice a day with a soft-bristled brush and flossing daily can help keep your mouth clean and healthy—and help you avoid costly dental treatments. However, while many oral health problems can be prevented with these seemingly simple practices, many of us struggle to pick up and stick to healthy routines. A 2014 survey found that only four out of 10 adults floss their teeth. It can take a long time to develop healthy habits, but investing in a good oral hygiene routine is essential when it comes to keeping your teeth and gums healthy and avoiding potentially painful—and expensive—oral health conditions. Brush up on your oral care by learning how to treat the symptoms of common problems at home.
Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease, also known as periodontitis. Symptoms include red and swollen gums that may bleed when you floss or brush.
An antiseptic mouthwash, such as Listerine UltraClean Mouthwash, or a warm salt water rinse may help with this condition by helping to remove disease-causing bacteria and plaque from between your teeth and along your gum line. You can also try brushing with Parodontax Clean Mint Toothpaste for Bleeding Gums, which is clinically proven to reverse the effects of gingivitis. If your swollen or bleeding gums worsen, and you notice loose teeth or pockets between your gums and teeth, your condition has most likely advanced to more serious gum disease, and you should see your dentist as soon as possible.
If eating hot or cold foods makes your teeth hurt, you may have tooth sensitivity. Cavities, gum disease, and worn tooth enamel are possible causes of this common condition.
Until you treat the underlying cause, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a toothpaste for sensitive teeth, such as Sensodyne Toothpaste with Fluoride. See your dentist if your sensitivity is severe or persistent.
Occasional dry mouth happens to everyone, but chronic dry mouth can contribute to or signal more serious health conditions.
You can try swapping out your mouthwash for a moisturizing rinse created to help soothe dry mouth, such as Biotene Oral Rinse. Sucking lozenges, such as Rite Aid Oral Care Dry Mouth Lozenges, or chewing sugar-free gum can also help stimulate saliva production. If your dry mouth is constant, see your doctor to determine if medication or a medical condition could be the cause. For example, Sjögren's Syndrome, a disorder of the immune system, can cause dry mouth and dry eyes.
Bad breath is usually the result of something you've eaten and can be treated with mouthwash, a stick of gum, or a mint. However, sometimes chronic bad breath is due to an underlying health condition such as gum disease.
See your dentist if your bad breath is accompanied by symptoms of gum disease.
Nearly all adults have cavities. They can only be treated by your dentist. However, if you're unable to see your dentist right away, a dental repair kit, such as DenTemp O.S. Dental Repair, can temporarily repair a lost filling and relieve pain until your appointment.
You probably know that sugary and starchy snacks and drinks are bad for your teeth (and your health), but there are also foods and beverages that are good for your teeth. Foods like plain yogurt and leafy greens contain calcium, and animal-based proteins like fish and eggs are excellent sources of phosphorus; both minerals are good for your teeth. Fruits and veggies offer fiber and water, which help clean your teeth, as well as vitamins that are healthy for your enamel and gums.
Remember, brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day, flossing between your teeth daily, and visiting your dentist regularly can help keep your mouth clean and healthy and may help you avoid some of these common oral health problems.
By Joelle Klein
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Periodontal Disease
Healthline.com, Gum Disease (Gingivitis)
American Dental Association (ADA), Concerns
Mayo Clinic, Oral Health: A Window to Your Overall Health
ADA, Survey Finds Shortcomings in Oral Health Habits
ADA, Sensitive Teeth
Mayo Clinic, Dry Mouth
Mayo Clinic, Sjögren's Syndrome
WebMD.com, Dental Health and Bad Breath
Health Policy Institute, U.S. Dental Spending Up in 2015
These articles are not a substitute for medical advice, and are not intended to treat or cure any disease. Advances in medicine may cause this information to become outdated, invalid, or subject to debate. Professional opinions and interpretations of scientific literature may vary. Consult your healthcare professional before making changes to your diet, exercise, or medication regime.