The importance of a healthy smile

Healthy teeth và gums make it easy for you to lớn eat well and enjoy good food. Several problems can affect the health of your mouth, but good care should keep your teeth & gums svào as you age.

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Tooth Decay

Teeth are covered in a hard, outer coating called enamel. Every day, a thin film of bacteria called dental plaque builds up on your teeth. The bacteria in plaque produce acids that can harm enamel & cause cavities. Brushing and flossing your teeth can prevent decay, but once a cavity forms, to lớn avoid further damage, a dentist must fix it with a filling.

Use fluoride toothpaste to lớn protect your teeth from decay. If you are at a higher risk for tooth decay (for example, if you have sầu a dry mouth because of a condition you have sầu or medicines you take), you might need more fluoride. Your dentist or dental hygienist may give you a fluoride treatment during an office visit or may tell you khổng lồ use a fluoride gel or mouth rinse at trang chính.

Gum Disease

Gum disease begins when plaque builds up along và under your gum line. Plaque causes an infection that hurts the gum và bone that hold your teeth in place. A mild form of gum disease may make your gums red, tender, and more likely to bleed. This problem, called gingivitis, can often be fixed by brushing và flossing every day.

A more severe form of gum disease, called periodontitis, must be treated by a dentist. If not treated, this infection can lead lớn sore, bleeding gums, painful chewing problems, & even tooth loss.

To prsự kiện gum disease:

Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Floss regularly. Visit your dentist routinely for a checkup and cleaning. Tell the dentist about any medical conditions you have and medications you take.

How lớn Clean Your Teeth và Gums

There is a right way to brush và floss your teeth. Every day:


Gently brush your teeth on all sides with a soft-bristle brush & fluoride toothpaste. Replace your toothbrush every 3 to lớn 4 months. Use small circular motions và short back-and-forth strokes. Brush carefully và gently along your gum line. Lightly brush your tongue or use a tongue scraper khổng lồ help keep your mouth clean. Clean between your teeth with dental floss, prethreaded flossers, a water flosser, or a similar product. This removes plaque & leftover food that a toothbrush can"t reach. Rinse after you floss.

People with arthritis or other conditions that limit h& motion may find it hard to hold and use a toothbrush. Some helpful tips are:

Use an electric or battery-operated toothbrush. Buy a toothbrush with a larger handle. Attach the toothbrush handle khổng lồ your hand with a wide elastic bvà.

See your dentist if brushing or flossing causes your gums lớn bleed or hurts your mouth. If you have sầu trouble flossing, a floss holder may help. Ask your dentist to show you the right way lớn floss.

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Sometimes, false teeth (dentures) are needed khổng lồ replace badly damaged teeth or teeth lost because of gum disease. Partial dentures may be used lớn fill in one or more missing teeth. Dentures may feel strange at first. In the beginning, your dentist may want to lớn see you often lớn make sure the dentures fit. Over time, your gums will change shape, và your dentures may need to lớn be adjusted or replaced. Be sure to lớn let your dentist handle these adjustments.

Be careful when wearing dentures because it may be harder for you khổng lồ feel hot foods và drinks or notice bones in your food. When learning lớn eat with dentures, it may be easier if you:

Start with soft, non-sticky food. Cut your food inlớn small pieces. Chew slowly using both sides of your mouth.

Keep your dentures clean và free from food that can cause stains or bad breath. Avoid small crunchy foods that can get trapped under the dentures & hurt your gums. Brush dentures every day with a denture-care product, and soak them in water or a denture-cleansing liquid at night. Be sure to lớn leave them out of your mouth while you sleep lớn prevent swollen gums.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth happens when you don"t have enough saliva, or spit, khổng lồ keep your mouth wet. It can make it hard to eat, swallow, taste, and even speak. Dry mouth can increase your risk of tooth decay, fungal infections of the mouth, và cavities. Many comtháng medicines can cause this problem. For example, medicines for high blood pressure, depression, & bladder-control issues often cause dry mouth.

Oral Health Resources for Caregivers

Download these tips on oral health for older adults & caregivers from the National Institute of Dental và Craniofacial Retìm kiếm.

There are things you can bởi that may help. Try sipping water or sugarless drinks. Don"t smoke, & avoid alcohol, caffeine, soft drinks, & acidic fruit juices. Avoid spicy or salty foods. Sugarless hard candy or sugarless gum that is a little tart may help. Your dentist or doctor might suggest using artificial saliva to keep your mouth wet.

Oral Cancer

Oral cancer can start in any part of the mouth or throat, including the tongue. It is more likely to happen in people over age 40. A dental checkup is a good time for your dentist khổng lồ look for signs of oral cancer. Pain is not usually an early symptom of the disease. Treatment works best before the disease spreads. Even if you have sầu lost all your natural teeth, you should still see your dentist for regular oral cancer exams.

You can lower your risk of getting oral cancer in a few ways:

Do not use tobacco products, such as cigarettes, chewing tobacteo, snuff, pipes, or cigars. If you drink alcohol, vì chưng so only in moderation. Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are relatively new, and scientists are still learning about their long-term health effects. However, we vì know e-cigarette vapor contains cancer-causing chemicals.

Finding Low-Cost Dental Care

Dental care can be costly. Medicare does not cover routine dental care, and some states limit dental coverage under Medicaid. You may want khổng lồ check out private dental insurance for older people. Make sure you are aware of the cost & what services are covered. The following resources may help you find low-cost dental care:

điện thoại tư vấn your county or state health department lớn find dental clinics near you that charge based on your income.

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