Lots of things can go wrong with your oral health if you aren’t aware of potential problems and how to avoid them. There are some simple ways that can help you maintain good oral health and steer clear of sometimes painful problems.
Your first line of defense against cavities is good oral care, including regular and thorough brushing and flossing. Reducing your consumption of sugary and acidic foods and drinks will also help. Ask your dentist about fluoride treatments and dental sealants, both of which can provide extra protection against cavities. Quitting smoking is another good way to avoid problems, since the habit makes your teeth sticky and more prone to allowing bacteria to cling to your tooth enamel.
Practicing good oral hygiene is the best way to fight gum disease, also called gingivitis. Once you develop gingivitis, it can develop into the more serious periodontitis if you’re not careful. Brush at least twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and a soft toothbrush, which can be manual or powered. Floss every single day, and you may also rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash. Professional teeth cleanings and checkups twice a year, eating a balanced diet, and quitting smoking are also helpful in preventing gum disease.
Temperomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ, is an increasingly common problem. It causes chronic jaw pain, popping, headaches, and neck problems. Teeth grinding or clenching are leading causes of TMJ, but it can also result from arthritis or trauma. If you suspect you are grinding or clenching your teeth, or are experiencing pain consistent with TMJ symptoms, visit your dentist. Some treatments include sleeping with a custom mouth guard, applying a warm washcloth to relax your jaw muscles, and practicing stress-reducing techniques like meditation.