Other than having had cavities taken care of by the family dentist, most people grow up with little awareness about the importance of good oral care habits. A third of American adults don’t see a dentist each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and half of all Americans suffer from periodontal disease aka periodontitis.
Periodontal disease is the gum infection that results from inadequate oral hygiene. The right way to do it is to use a soft brush for two minutes twice a day, stroking from the gum line towards the end of the tooth. Flossing needs to be done at the end of the day, carefully holding the string against each side of every tooth. If food and beverage particles are left, a sticky bacterial forms on them and an infection at the gum line begins to peel away the support of the gums for the tooth.
Without an improvement in oral care, this will ultimately lead to teeth becoming loose and either falling out or needing to be extracted. Some 69% of Americans 35-44 have lost at least one tooth, while 70% of those 75 or older have no teeth.
But even the most dedicated brushers and flossers can’t do the type of cleaning that a dental hygienist can. She has the tools and techniques that enable her to reach difficult areas , scraping off the plaque (aka tartar when it hardens) and injecting antibacterial solutions as needed. This should be done at least twice a year.
Another reason to come into our office at least twice a year is for a full dental exam, including a digital x-ray at least once a year, which is the only way to determine whether a periodontal infection has reached the jawbone. If so, it needs to not only be surgically removed, a bone graft will probably be necessary to make it possible for a dental implant to be done, if a tooth is so loose it needs to be extracted.
Making sure periodontal bacteria are not out of control is also important because this would otherwise raise the risk for having diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
Dr. Louie can also look for signs of oral cancer and make sure there are no other dental problems developing. Can for an appointment today before minor problems develop into crises.