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When you were younger, your parents might have lectured you about the importance of good oral hygiene. Together with your dentist and hygienist, they may have worked to make sure that you were brushing and flossing your teeth correctly and avoiding sugary foods that can lead to cavities. As an adult, good oral hygiene is still important to keep your teeth looking and feeling their best.
Good oral hygiene helps to prevent cavities and stained or yellowed teeth, as well as bad breath. Bacteria in the mouth build up over time and mix with food particles and white blood cells to form a transparent, sticky film called plaque. The acids in the plaque break down your tooth enamel, weakening it, and allowing cavities to form. If you do not brush and floss regularly, this plaque hardens and forms tartar, a hard, yellow substance that can only be removed by a skilled hygienist. Tartar is not only unsightly; it also increases your chances of developing periodontal disease.
Restorative dental work helps repair or replace missing and damaged teeth. Crowns, bridges, veneers, and dental implants are some of the methods your dentist or prosthodontist can choose to help restore tooth function and improve the look of your teeth. Just like natural teeth, replacement or restored teeth require good oral health care. Dental work such as bridges and crowns can be challenging to keep clean. And poor dental implant after-care can lead to complications such as peri-implant disease.
Aside from benefiting your dental health and making your teeth look and feel better, good oral hygiene is essential to your overall health as well. Poor oral health has been linked to a variety of general health problems, such as heart disease and strokes. Medical researchers discover more links between oral and general health each year.
It is important not only to brush at least twice daily and to floss each day, it is also imperative that you visit your dentists regularly for a routine examination and professional cleaning at least 2 per year. Brushing and flossing correctly and with the right toothpaste, toothbrush, and dental floss is also essential for preventing the onset of dental diseases. If you need help with your brushing or flossing technique, your dentist or hygienist will be glad to advise you.