Everyone wants to look their best, and a bright, healthy smile is a big part of that. It's up to you to do the brushing and flossing to get there. Besides, bad breath is embarrassing! Take care of your teeth and gums today, and you'll never have to worry about that. Your smile will speak for itself.
Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you. That’s why it’s so important to take care of it. Cavities aren’t just for little kids—you can get them at any age. When you consume sugary foods, soda, juice or energy drinks, you put yourself at risk for tooth decay and gum disease. Be smart. Always brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes and floss once a day.
The bottom line for smiles that are healthy on the inside and out:
Always brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste for two minutes
Floss between your teeth daily
Avoid sugary and starchy snacks
Wear a mouthguard when you’re active
Don’t pierce your lips or any part of your mouth
See your dentist. Regular dental visits will help set you up to be Mouth Healthy for Life.
Brushing and Flossing
Want to avoid cavities? Brushing twice a day with toothpaste, flossing once a day, and limiting sugary snacks and beverages is how you do it. It’s simple but sometimes life gets busy and you might be tempted to skip it. Don’t. A bright smile makes you feel good inside and out. Make sure to see your dentist regularly, too.
Some things to protect your smile:
Dental sealants are a type of special plastic coating that act as a barrier, protecting cavity-prone areas. They are usually applied to the chewing surfaces of back teeth and are sometimes used to cover deep pits and grooves in other teeth. Sealing a tooth is fast and easy. As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing but sometimes a reapplication is needed. Talk to your dentist about sealants. Remember: Just because you have sealants doesn’t mean you don’t have to brush and floss every day. Sealants are added protection against decay!
If you play a sport or are active in things like skateboarding or snowboarding, it’s a good idea to wear a mouthguard. It may feel funny at first, but mouthguards are the best thing you can do to protect your teeth from getting broken or knocked out. They cushion blows that would otherwise cause injuries to the lips and face and sometimes even jaw fractures. There are different kinds of mouthguards; ask your dentist which one is right for you.
If you have a bad bite or your teeth are crooked or out of alignment, you may benefit from braces. Braces can help improve your smile and make your teeth straighter. They can also improve your dental health and overall health because untreated orthodontic problems can make it hard to bite and chew and can interfere with eating. If you have a bad bite, you may also be prone to cavities or gum disease because it may be hard to clean your teeth. Braces come in many different styles, including tooth-colored plastic braces or traditional metal braces that come in a variety of colors. Removable clear retainers can sometimes be used. Talk to your dentist to see what the best choice is for you.
Wisdom teeth, also referred to as third molars, get their name by being the last teeth to come in during young adulthood, the time of life when you gain maturity or “wisdom.” The majority of people have most of their permanent teeth by age 13. Your wisdom teeth should come into your mouth between the ages of 17-21. Sometimes they do not have enough room to come in normally or are in the wrong position to come straight up. When that happens, your dentist may refer to them as impacted and they may have to be removed.
Not everyone’s teeth develop on the same schedule. That’s why it’s important to see your dentist regularly so he or she can monitor the progress of your wisdom teeth. Every patient is unique, but in general, wisdom teeth may need to be removed when there is evidence of changes in the mouth such as:
damage to adjacent teeth
tooth decay (if it is not possible or desirable to restore the tooth)
Your dentist or specialist may also recommend removing your wisdom teeth to prevent problems or for others reasons, such as when removal is part of part of getting braces, treating gums or other dental procedures.
You know smoking is bad for you in general, so it should be no surprise that all forms of tobacco are also harmful to your oral health. For one, they can causebad breath, but that’s only the beginning. Other possible oral health impacts include:
stained teeth and tongue
dulled sense of taste and smell
slow healing after a tooth extraction or oral surgery
difficulties in correcting cosmetic dental problems
gum disease and tooth loss
Quitting is the only way to decrease your risk of these and other tobacco-related health problems. The addictive quality of nicotine, which is found in cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco, can make this especially difficult. That’s why it’s important to have a plan and a support network, people to help you stick to your plan. Write down your reasons for quitting.
Bottom-line: a smoke-free environment is healthier for you and for those around you. Make a plan to quit, stick to it and start living a healthier life. The National Institute on Drug Abuse considers nicotine to be the the leading preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the U.S. For tips on quitting or how to help your child quit, visit Smokefree.gov.
Oral piercings or tongue splitting may look cool, but they can be dangerous to your health. That’s because your mouth contains millions of bacteria, and infection and swelling often occur with mouth piercings. For instance, your mouth and tongue could swell so much that you close off your airway or you could possibly choke if part of the jewelry breaks off in your mouth. In some cases, you could crack a tooth if you bite down too hard on the piercing and repeated clicking of the jewelry against teeth can also cause damage. An infected oral piercing can also lead to more serious systemic infections, including hepatitis or endocarditis.
Meth Mouth, a term for the damage caused by the use of the illegal and highly addictive drug methamphetamine, is one of many devastating effects this drug can have on users’ oral health. Methamphetamine is a potent central nervous system stimulant that can cause shortness of breath, hyperthermia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, irregular heart beat, high blood pressure, permanent brain damage and rampant tooth decay. Some users describe their teeth as “blackened, stained, rotting, crumbling or falling apart.” Often, the teeth cannot be salvaged and must be removed.
For more information, visit the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Eating disorders arise from a variety of complex physical, emotional and social issues. They can also be devastating to your oral health. More than 10 million Americans are affected by serious eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and binge eating, according to the National Eating Disorders Association. These eating disorders can also affect a person’s oral health. Without the proper nutrition, gums and other soft tissue inside the mouth may bleed easily. The glands that produce saliva may swell and individuals may experience chronic dry mouth. Throwing up frequently can affect teeth too. That’s because when strong stomach acid repeatedly flows over teeth, the tooth’s enamel can be lost to the point that the teeth change in color, shape and length. The edges of teeth become thin and break off easily. If you suffer from an eating disorder, it’s important to seek counseling and talk to your health care provider.