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Improve your Daily Dental Health

Healthy teeth require care and frequent cleaning. A sticky substance called plaque is constantly forming on your teeth. It is made up of sugars, food particles, and bacteria that are always present in the mouth. If left on the teeth long enough, plaque softens the enamel, causing decay and cavities. Eventually, plaque hardens into tartar, which absorbs stain, causing discolored, unattractive teeth. Tartar is also the leading cause of gum disease, which is the reason many people lose their teeth.

So, one of the best things you can do for your teeth is to clean them often, removing plaque before it causes dental problems. These guidelines may help.

*Do not let sugar sit on your teeth. If you cannot brush after sugary snacks or drinks, be sure to rinse your mouth. Even if you just use clear water, you will clean away some of the sugar, reducing the risk of decay.

*Brush at least twice every day. Use a brush that fits your mouth and has soft bristles. Take your time, and spend sat least two to four minutes on the process. Go over every surface of each tooth. Do not forget the backs. Remember that you are trying to scrub plaque off of your teeth, so move the brush briskly.

*Floss at least once a day. Get a piece of floss long enough to wrap around one finger on each hand. Leaving about an inch to work with, slide it between two teeth. At the gum line, curve it against one tooth, and scrape it up and down several times. Repeat this on both sides of every tooth.

*Use an antiseptic mouthwash. This helps reduce tartar formation by killing bacteria in the mouth.

*See your dentist regularly for checkups. Dentists normally recommend these every six months. People who use tobacco, and those who have diabetes or gum disease, may need to be seen more often. Most checkups will include the following procedures.

ORAL EXAMINATION
The dentist will visually check your mouth, teeth, and gums for any signs of disease. He may hold your tongue with a piece of gauze, and move it from side to side in order to inspect it more thoroughly.

CLEANING
Even with scrupulous cleaning, some tartar will form on your teeth. Your dentist or hygienist will use special instruments to scrape it off. You may feel some discomfort as he works below the gum line, but the procedure is usually not painful.
When he finishes, he will probably polish and floss your teeth.

X RAYS
These are not done at every dental visit. However, your dentist may want to see what lies below the surface. You will be asked to bite down on a piece of plastic in order to align your teeth properly for the picture. You will probably be given a lead apron to protect your body from exposure to radiation even though modern x ray machines emit very small amounts of it. However, if you are pregnant, you need to tell the dentist, as extra precautions may be necessary.

Good daily habits and regular visits to your dentist can keep your teeth healthy and strong for life.

That should brighten your smile!