The Truth about Teeth

    Teeth vary in shape, size and location within the jaws.  These differences allow teeth to perform three basic functions.  First, teeth help give the face its shape and form.  Second, they help us to pronounce different sounds clearly.  Finally, teeth help us to chew and digest food.  Because they play so many important rolls, it makes sense to give your teeth the best care possible.  A simple routine of brushing and cleaning between the teeth, good eating habits and regular dental check-ups can help prevent most dental problems.


Tips on Toothbrush Selection

    Your dentist or hygienist can recommend a good toothbrush.  For general use, select a brush with soft, end-rounded or polished bristles.  The size and shape of your toothbrush should allow you to reach every tooth.  Children need to use smaller brushes than adults.

    Worn-out toothbrushes cannot properly clean your teeth and may injure your gums.  It is important to replace your toothbrush every three or four months or sooner if the bristles become worn.


Cleaning Between Teeth

    One effective way to clean between teeth is with dental floss.  Flossing removes plaque and food particles from between teeth and under the gumline, areas a toothbrush can’t reach.  Your dentist or hygienist can instruct you on proper flossing and brushing techniques.


The Problem is Plaque

    Daily brushing with a fluoride toothpaste and cleaning between teeth are important to your dental health because they remove plaque.  Plaque is a thin, colorless, sticky film that constantly forms on your teeth.  When you eat foods containing sugars and starches, the bacteria in plaque produce acids which attack tooth enamel.  The stickiness of the plaque keeps these acids in contact with teeth.  After many such attacks, the enamel breaks down and a cavity forms.  If plaque is not removed with daily cleaning, it eventually hardens into calculus (tartar).  As calculus forms near the gumline, gums can become irritated and inflamed.  They become swollen and may bleed.  The gums begin to pull away from the teeth and form pockets that usually become infected. If gum disease is not treated promptly, the bone supporting the teeth is destroyed and healthy teeth may be lost.  It’s never too early to start fighting back to save your teeth. Your dental team can remove calculus and treat gum disease that has already appeared.  But daily dental care is in your hands.

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